An innovative form of concrete that incorporates graphene and reduces the need for steel reinforcement has been used in a suspended slab on a commercial project for the first time.
The Concretene product, developed by Nationwide Engineering and The University of Manchester’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) has been used to create a 54m x 14m mezzanine floor, which will become a roller disco at the Escape to Freight Island attraction in the Manchester Mayfield regeneration scheme at a former railway depot.
Concretene uses 2D material graphene, a one-atom-thick layer of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice, to improve the mechanical performance of concrete, allowing for reductions in the amount of material used and the need for steel reinforcement, which its producers claim can reduce CO2 emissions by up to 30% as well as making it cheaper.
According to the University of Manchester, the use of graphene in concrete produces 6.3kg of CO2 per tonne of concrete – a 21.9kg reduction per tonne compared with traditional steel reinforcement. The total estimated reduction in CO2 emissions for this floor slab compared with a traditional concrete solution is 4,265kg.
Nationwide Engineering co-founder Rob Hibberd said: “This is a huge milestone for the team, as not only is this our first commercial, third-party use of Concretene, but also the first suspended slab as used in high-rise developments.
“As world leaders in graphene-enhanced concrete technology, the interest from the international building industry has been beyond expectations, as looming legislation is forcing significant carbon reductions throughout construction.
“Our partnership with the university has fast-tracked the development of Concretene, going from lab to product in 18 months.”