Researchers at Kaunas University Technology have developed a type of ultra-high performance concrete they say is eight times stronger than the standard concrete. The innovative Lithuanian material will allow architects and engineers considerably more options when designing compact structures requiring great strength.
Evaldas Šerelis. Photo KTU

The new concrete will allow the dimensions of structural elements made of this concrete such as columns, overlays, beams and other supporting structures to be significantly reduced, Lithuanian scientists say. For example, a regular column 0.48m in diameter could be replaced with one made of the ultra-high performance concrete only 0.06m in diameter to bear the same weight.

Moreover, it would require eight times less concrete, making the structure eight times lighter.

"This opens up all new possibilities for architects to design more varied thin-walled structures," says Evaldas Šerelis of the Construction and Architecture Faculty at Kaunas University of Technology.

He said that popular types of concrete used in building have compressive strengths of about 30MPa. Ultra-high performance concrete has compressive strength in excess of 100MPa, while some kinds reach 250MPa in laboratory tests.

The use of ultra-high performance concrete is hampered by the absence of standards and regulations for the new materials, according to Šerelis. Moreover, industrial production requires investing into special equipment that most Lithuanian companies could hardly afford.

There is also the issue of cost. While ordinary concrete costs around €60 per cubic metre, depending on its makeup, ultra-high performance concrete costs up to ten times that. The variety developed by Lithuanian scientists could be sold for €420 per cubic metre.

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