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17th January 2017, Frankfurt

Changing the rules for construction

Speaking at a press conference for the forthcoming Techtextil and Texprocess 2017 exhibitions held in Frankfurt, Germany on January 12th, Manfred Junkert of German textile industry association textile+mode cited the University of Dresden’s carbon concrete composites as an innovation poised to have a major impact on the construction industry.

In December 2016, the team behind them claimed the 2016 German Future Award (Zukunftpreis) – one of the most important science awards in Germany – for their development.

Carbon is four times lighter than steel, yet its low weight bearing capacity is six times greater. © Schlaich bergermann partner sbp gmbh

This is the first time that a team in the field of civil engineering has been honoured, noted Professor Manfred Curbach, Director of TU Dresden’s Institute of Concrete Structures.

“It shows how important our work is in aiming to bring about an absolutely necessary paradigm shift in the construction field, driving it towards more resource efficiency and sustainability,” he said.

Carbon is four times lighter than steel, yet its low weight bearing capacity is six times greater. In comparison to reinforced concrete, meanwhile, carbon concrete is more resistant and also more durable because no oxidisation takes place. Construction compounds and buildings can consequently be made thinner, while valuable resources such as water and sand are conserved.

By implementing carbon concrete composites, more than 50 per cent of material can be saved, the developers say, correlating a decrease in energy consumption and CO² emissions.

Carbon concrete composites are also suitable for the reinforcement of already existing buildings and the expected lifetime of buildings and bridges and poles can be considerably increased by applying a thin layer of the material.

To date, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research has funded the C³ Carbon Concrete Composite Association – an interdisciplinary network established in 2014 and consisting of more than 150 researchers from both academia and industry – with around €43 million to develop the composites and techniques for their implementation.

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