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What is Biocement?

It’s safe to say that without microbes, biotechnology would be an extremely limited science. Microbes are microscopic organisms such as fungi (which include yeasts), bacteria and viruses. They not only provide the foundation for much of the basic research involved in biotechnology, they help to create durable building materials and structures.

The early scientific study of microbes concentrated on their effects, such as causing disease. Eventually, scientists discovered microbes could be used for the study of processes which are common to all living organisms. An innovative alternative approach lies in the combined use of microorganisms, nutrients and biological processes naturally present in the subsurface soils to effectively improve their engineering properties. Considerable research on carbonate precipitation by bacteria has been performed using ureolytic bacteria. These bacteria are able to influence the precipitation of calcium carbonate by the production of an enzyme, urease (urea amidohydrolase, EC 3.5.1.5). Calcium carbonate precipitation occurs as a consequence of bacterial metabolic activity that raises the pH of the proximal environment.

Recently I discovered and improved few bacterial species which were able to precipitate calcite at higher rate and eventually this process lead to improved compressive strength, reduced permeability and low corrosion rate of reinforcement.
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Cuore Concrete – Nano Silica

A long time used material in concrete is for the first time fully replaced by a nano material.It is well known in physics and chemistry that a well designed and developed nano material produces better and cheaper cost results than traditional materials, thanks to the stabilization and reinforcement of matter properties at this level: a thousand fold smaller than the older level: “micro” (0.000001 mt).

Micro silica has been one of the world’s most widely used products for concrete for over eighty years. Its properties allowed high compressive strength concretes; water and chemical resistant concretes, and they have been part of many concrete buildings that we see nowadays. Its disadvantage, though, has been its relatively high cost and contamination, which affects the environment and the operators’ health. As micro silica, as a powder, is thousand fold thinner than cigarette smoke. Operators must take special precautions to avoid inhaling micro silica and not to acquire silicosis, an irreversible disease.

In the middle of 2003, a product which could replace micro silica seen the contaminant effects, having the same or better characteristics and at a reasonable cost was on the design table. The goal: silica fulfilling the environ-mental regulation: ISO-14001.

Using tools from physics, chemistry and recent nanotechnology advances, the challenge was fulfilled.Lab tests and production tests proved that the nano silica did not contaminate (because its state), but it also produced better results than micro silica, and a litre bottle of the product was equivalent to a barrel full of micro silica, extra cement and super plasticizing additives.

Because of its innovation the nano silica was tested for over a year in the world’s largest subterranean copper mine to prove its long term characteristics. Cuore concrete takes care of the environment, the concrete and the operators´ health. It is the first nano product that replaced the micro silica.Cuore concrete surpassed the expectations of its design and gave concrete not only the high initial and final resistance but in addition, plasticity, impermeability, minor final cost of work, and cement savings of up to 40%. Also, it lowered the levels of environmental contamination.

In addition, a liter bottle of Cuore concrete equals a whole barrel of micro silica, extra cement and super plasticizers. If before a 2 meters thick beam was required to hold a bridge correctly, now only 75 cm are required. If before 28 days were necessary in order to achieve compressive strengths of 80MPa, now only 1 day is required. The pre stressed beams that before required 3 days to be ready and needed to be cured with water and steam , now require only 1 day and they do not need water.

Moreover, Cuore concrete became one of the first indicators of the properties that the next commercial nano cements in the market will have: nano particles of silica turn into nano particles of cement (nano cement) in the chemical reactions that take place in the concoction of the concrete, Thanks to all these advantages, the entrance of nano silica Cuore concrete into the market modified the concept of what is possible and what is not in the concrete field.

Since 2004, the greatest copper underground mine of the world, has been using nano silica concrete and the use of the micro silica in this deposit has been prohibited.

Properties of concrete with Cuore concrete nanosilica

• In high compressive strengths concretes (H-70), Cuore concrete is 88% more efficient than micro silica, added to concrete and super plasticizers. ( For an average 9,43 Kg. of Cuore concrete Nanosilica, 73Kg. of all the others additives are used).

• The production cost of is drastically lower than using the traditional production method or formulas.

• It has an air inclusion of 0% to 1%

• The cone test shows that It preserves the cone shape for more than one hour. (with a relation of H2O/Cement=0.5, adding 0.5% of Nano silica of the metric volume of the cement used, it conserved a its circle shape of 60 cm for two hours, with a lost of only 5%). The nano silica has a plasticity that has been compared to the policarboxilate technology. Therefore the use of super plasticizing additives is unnecessary.

• High workability with reduced water/concrete levels, for example: 0,2.

• Easy homogenization. The reduction of mixing times allows concrete plants to increase their production

• Depending on the cement and the formulations used for concrete (tests from value H-30 to H-70), shows that the material provides compressive strengths between 15 MPa and 75 MPa at 1 day; 40 MPa and 90 MPa at 28 days and 48 MPa and 120 MPa at 120 days.

• Nano silica fully complies with ISO 14001 regulations regarding the environment and health. It preserves operators of the danger of being contaminated with silicosis and does not contaminate the environment.

It successfully passed all the tests and since the beginning of this year it is being commercialized in different parts of the world.

Immediate benefits for the user

1) Cessation of contamination caused by micro silica solid particles.

2) Lower cost per building site.

3) Concrete with high initial and final compressive and tensile strengths.

4) Concrete with good workability.

5) Cessation of super plasticizing utilization.

6) Cessation of silicosis risk.

7) High impermeability.

8 ) Reduction of cement using Cuore concrete Nanosilice

9) Cuore concrete nano sílica on itself produces nano cement.

10) During the moisturizing reaction of the cement, the silica produces CSH particles, the “glue” of the concrete ensuring the cohesion of all the particles.

11) Cuore concrete has a specific surface near to 1,000m2/gr (micro silica has only 20m2/gr) and a particle size of 5nm to 250 nm.

As a consequence of its size, Cuore concrete produces nano cristals of CSH, filling up all the micro pores and micro spaces which where left empty in traditional concrete production.
Former described function reinforces the concrete structure on levels, thousand times smaller then in the case of traditional concrete production. This allows the reduction of the cement used and gives the compression needed to reduce over 90 % of the additives used in the production of H-70 concrete.

Cuore concrete allows to save in between 35% and 50% of the used cement.We do stress that we recommend to change the formula of the concrete in order to take advantage of the characteristics of the Cuore concrete Nano silica particle.

Less material is needed to obtain better results, using Cuore concrete.

The results are the proof.

1) Resistance to compression from 40 to 90MPa in 1 day.

2) Resistance to compression from 70 a 100 MPa (or more) in 28 days.

3) Versatile: produces high resistance even with low addition (1 to 1,5 % of the cements weight) and gives self compacting characteristics with higher proportions (2,5 %).

4) Meets the norms of environmental protection (ISO14001).

5) 70% less use of additives as traditional silica, super plasticizers or traditional fibres.

6) Equal or minor raw material cost as in traditional ??production with super plasticizers, and or fibres.

This useful information is submitted to us by : Pascal Maes

Low Cost Housing

Low Cost Housing is a new concept which deals with effective budgeting and following of techniques which help in reducing the cost construction through the use of locally available materials along with improved skills and technology without sacrificing the strength, performance and life of the structure.There is huge misconception that low cost housing is suitable for only sub standard works and they are constructed by utilizing cheap building materials of low quality.The fact is that Low cost housing is done by proper management of resources.Economy is also achieved by postponing finishing works or implementing them in phases.

Building Cost
The building construction cost can be divided into two parts namely:
Building material cost : 65 to 70 %
Labour cost : 65 to 70 %
Now in low cost housing, building material cost is less because we make use of the locally available materials and also the labour cost can be reduced by properly making the time schedule of our work. Cost of reduction is achieved by selection of more efficient material or by an improved design.
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Electrically Conductive Concrete: Properties and Potential

By Kelly Baldwin

Published in Construction Canada, v. 98, no. 1, Jan./Feb., 1998, pp. 28-29

Abstract: Conductive concrete is a cement-based composite that contains electronically conductive components to attain stable and relatively high conductivity. Potential applications include electrical heating for de-icing of parking garages, sidewalks, driveways, highway bridges, and airport runways, as well as electrical grounding.

Résumé: Le béton conducteur est un composite à base de ciment contenant une certaine quantité d’éléments qui assurent une conductivité électrique stable et relativement élevée. Les applications possibles sont : le chauffage électrique pour dégivrer les garages de stationnement, les trottoirs, les voies d’accès, les ponts routiers et les pistes d’aéroport, et la mise à la terre électrique.

Overview

Although concrete has existed in various forms over most of recorded history, it is a material that still has opportunities for exciting developments. Over a number of years, many unsuccessful research efforts were made to develop concrete that could combine good electrical conductivity with the excellent engineering properties of normal concrete mixes. The Institute for Research in Construction (IRC) has succeeded in achieving this challenging goal, with electrically conductive concrete (“conductive concrete” for short), a patented invention that offers future promise for use in a variety of construction applications.

Ongoing IRC research is now focused on optimizing conductive concrete formulations for the best combination of strength, electrical properties, and production methods at the lowest possible cost, leading ultimately to commercial development and widespread use.

Properties

Conductive concrete is a cement-based composite that contains a certain amount of electronically conductive components to attain stable and relatively high conductivity. In essence, the aggregates normally used in concrete can be largely replaced by a variety of carbon-based materials to achieve electrical conductivity in conductive concrete. This is achieved while retaining the desired engineering properties, as indicated in Table 1. The conductivity is usually several orders of magnitude higher than that of normal concrete. Normal concrete is effectively an insulator in the dry state, and has unstable and significantly greater resistivity characteristics than conductive concrete, even when wet.

 

 

Table 1. Conductive Concrete Properties

Electrical Resistivity (omega – cm)

1 – 40

Compressive Strength (MPa)

30 minimum

Flexural Strength (MPa)

5 – 15

Density (kg/m3)

1450 – 1850

Conductive concrete can be produced using conventional mixing techniques. The mixing process can be controlled, permitting design of mix formulations that are reliably repeatable, and achieve electrical resistivity values within the overall target design range.

Characteristics

While the engineering properties and mixing characteristics of conductive concrete and normal concrete are comparable, conductive concrete does have other distinctive characteristics beyond its ability to conduct electricity.

  • The conductivity value is stable. The effects of moisture content, hydration time and temperature on conductivity are insignificant.
  • It is lightweight: conventionally mixed, conductive concrete has a density of about 70 percent that of normal concrete.
  • Conductive concrete is chemically compatible with normal concrete, bonding well with it if used as an overlay.
  • Thermal stability is comparable to that of normal concrete.
  • The colour of conductive concrete is a darker grey, reflecting its carbon content.

Applications

Conductive concrete has the potential to address a wide variety of applications, including grounding, heating, cathodic protection of reinforcing steel in concrete structures such as bridges and parking garages, and electromagnetic shielding. Several of these promising applications are described more fully below.

Electrical heating. Electrical heating using conductive concrete has excellent potential for domestic and outdoor environments, especially for de-icing of parking garages, sidewalks, driveways, highway bridges, and airport runways. This method of heating would eliminate or dramatically reduce the need for using salt, thus providing an effective and environmentally friendly alternative. Conductive concrete itself is the heating element, and thus is able to generate the heat more uniformly throughout the heated structure.

As part of the pre-commercial development process, an outdoor heated area 13 m X 3 m, roughly the size of a small driveway, was built with an embedded conductive concrete layer (Figure 1). The surface area has been kept continuously dry and free of snow over the course of most of an Ottawa winter, successfully melting over 3.5 m of total snow accumulation, and providing a scale proof of concept for conductive concrete de-icing applications.

The possibility also exists for using conductive concrete as an indoor radiant heat option. Both de-icing and radiant heating uses will require appropriate changes to the Canadian electrical code before commercial use in public areas becomes established.

Electrical grounding. Grounding is required for virtually every electrical installation. The main purpose of electrical grounding is to protect the equipment and occupants in the event of an electrical systems failure, or in special situations such as the presence of lightning or static electricity. The protection is achieved through a proper electrical connection between the systems usually by embedding an electrode underground.

The establishment of an effective, economical and durable electrical grounding system has always presented problems for the electrical engineer, but now many of them can be solved through use of conductive concrete. Conductive concrete grounding uses include creation of equipotential floors in such disparate applications as dairy barns, where small voltage differences can reduce production, through to electronics fabrication and handling areas, where the potential for costly damage to high-value semi-conductors and associated equipment caused by static charges can be high.

With its excellent structural engineering properties, conductive concrete is also a good candidate for grounding in a variety of utility uses. These include communications, and electrical transmission towers, as well as electrical transformer locations.

Commercial Development

IRC’s continuing research on conductive concrete and interest in licensing the use of this innovative new technology offers opportunities for progressive organizations to gain a competitive advantage in developing new products and improving existing ones in a variety of markets. IRC welcomes expressions of interest in the development of conductive concrete. For further information concerning conductive concrete, please contact Mr. Mark Arnott at 613-993-9811 (tel) /613-954-5984 (fax) /or e-mail at mark.arnott@nrc.ca


This paper is a contribution from the National Research Council of Canada, Institute for Research in Construction.
Cet article a été fourni par l’Institut de recherche en construction du Conseil national de recherches Canada