Haydale and Atomi have announced they will be working together on a project aimed at developing high-performance, intelligent concrete. Using graphene and adding sensor technology, the next generation of strengthened concrete reportedly has the potential to reduce CO2 emissions by more than 30% while offering performance indicators during its lifetime thanks to intelligent sensors capable of capturing real-time data.
Graphene-enhanced concrete is a relatively new development but has been gaining traction and is already being tested around the world, including in several construction projects in the UK. To learn more about graphene-enhanced construction materials, don't miss Graphene-Info's new report.
Despite being the strongest material ever discovered, graphene has struggled to become a heavy weight in commercial products. A major issue has been the ability to mix graphene into other materials in volume. Graphene is water resistant and does not mix well with materials such as cement. It is vital for graphene to be dispersed uniformly – a process that can be challenging to complete successfully.
The work being undertaken between Atomi and Haydale will center around functionalizing graphene using the environmentally friendly and patented HDPlas process.
Unlike traditional and wet chemistry methods of getting graphene to perform, plasma functionalization is a single stage, powder in, powder out process that does not produce any effluent streams and isn’t reliant on chemical treatment.
Haydale’s graphene can be blended easily with fine and coarse aggregate containing cement for making high-performance concrete with optimized physical and mechanical properties. Therefore, graphene enhanced concrete is expected to demonstrate better mechanical properties than non-graphenated products.
The work will select appropriate graphene grades and functional groups for achieving enhanced compatibility between the functionalized graphene and concrete raw materials. Significant improvements in mechanical as well as wear, corrosion, and moisture resistant properties are expected through this process. Advanced characterization will be carried out to evaluate functionalized graphene powders and their impact on the physical properties of concrete.
Smart technology is also being considered so that the graphene can be date stamped like the Hallmark seen on gold. Using sensor technology, it could be possible to gather real time data of a concrete structure, including its history and provide advanced warnings of things like deterioration. “With the advancements being made with graphene sensors we are looking at their use with digital readers to allow live feedback of the material so we can potentially monitor changes within the chemical structure of the cement,” explains Jason Laing, Atomi CEO.
Commenting on the partnership, Keith Broadbent, Haydale CEO said: “Haydale and Atomi have been working together since 2021 on the provision of functionalized nanomaterials in the biomedical sector. The possibility for advanced materials is so diverse and it is great to be starting this project with the potential to benefit a sector that increasingly is seeking alternative materials to improve products and reduce CO2 emissions.”
Project lead at Atomi, Director Simon Sokel added: “The construction industry is working extremely hard to make a significant reduction in CO2 emissions and we believe that what we are producing for concrete and other building materials will have a massive impact.”