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New Concrete Additive Shows Versatility

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

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A new concrete additive promises to make concrete harder, more resistant to deterioration, and quicker to dry, according to a startup company with origins at a Swiss university.

Kumar Abhishek, a doctoral student at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, in Lausanne, Switzerland, is CEO of Nanogence, a company with reported patents on a new, inorganic additive for concrete that it says can reduce the amount of concrete needed on a project, while extending a structure’s life.

Kumar Abhishek
© 2016 EPFL

Kumar Abhishek, a doctoral student at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, in Lausanne, Switzerland, is CEO of Nanogence, a company with patents on a new, inorganic additive for concrete.

Abhishek performed research on the nanoscopic structure of concrete as part of his thesis work, according to EPFL. Using this concrete knowledge, he developed the additive, the chemical nature of which is a proprietary secret. The company says the single additive could take the place of a number of additives currently used to affect cure time and texture.

Fighting Carbonation

As the additive is inorganic, Abhishek says it can eliminate carbonation issues associated with carbon-based cement additives. Carbonation can lead to moisture infiltrating concrete and deterioration, as well as corrosion of the rebar that often reinforces structural concrete.

Abhishek also says the additive creates harder concrete, which he notes could help reduce the amount of concrete needed to build a given structure.

Abhishek is reportedly in talks with two European concrete producers to work on an additive specifically for white concrete, used in interior design, and is also working on an additive to help boost the insulative properties of concrete.

“The idea is to eventually develop prefabricated elements that combine longevity with good thermal insulation,” he said. “Over 40 percent of energy worldwide is used for construction. Rethinking construction materials will hopefully enable us to reduce this usage.”

Nanogence has been funded partly by grants from the European Venture Program and the Academia-Industry Program, as well as an Innogrant and an Enable grant, through EPFL.

   

Tagged categories: Additives; concrete; Nanotechnology; Research; Research and development

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (1/3/2017, 8:20 AM)

Publicly funded research should not result in secret formulas for private profit.


Comment from Zenith Czora, (1/4/2017, 1:41 AM)

Can this additive be also applicable in cementitious waterproofing system?


Comment from Fred Salome, (1/4/2017, 2:09 AM)

I would like to hear more about how carbonation leads to moisture infiltrating concrete. I always thought that calcium carbonate was more voluminous than the precipitated calcium hydroxide in hardened concrete (Portlandite) and actually resulted in pores becoming more blocked, thereby reducing moisture infiltration. So I wonder how this proprietary inorganic substance contributes to durability. Would love to see the chemistry.


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