Graphene Concrete 30% Stronger in Commercial Project

In May, 2021, UK construction company Nationwide Engineering laid the world’s first graphene-enhanced concrete slab engineered for sustainability in a commercial setting.

The new Southern Quarter gym in Amesbury’s Solstice Park opened in summer 2021. This is a joint venture between Nationwide Engineering and The University of Manchester.

The addition of tiny amounts of graphene reportedly strengthens Nationwide Engineering’s new product, Concretene, by around 30% compared to standard concrete, meaning significantly less material is needed to achieve the equivalent structural performance, reducing carbon footprint and costs.

The additional strength also reduces the need for steel reinforcement, saving material and time on site and further promoting the green credentials of this building method.

Nationwide Engineering estimates that an additional cost of 5% for Concretene will be offset by the reduction in material to deliver an overall saving of 10-20% over standard RC30 concrete.

To make Concretene, liquid concrete sets into its solid form through chemical reactions known as hydration and gelation, where the water and cement in the mixture react to form a paste that dries and hardens over time. Graphene makes a difference by acting as a mechanical support and as a catalyst surface for the initial hydration reaction, leading to better bonding at microscopic scale and giving the finished product improved strength, durability and corrosion resistance.

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