- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
Last edited 26 Feb 2019
Smart concrete technology offers an alternative method for monitoring the health of reinforced concrete structures. It was developed Dr. Deborah D.L. Chung from State University of New York at Buffalo, U.S. The unique benefit of smart concrete is that it is fortified by carbon fiber, which comprises as much as 0.2% to 0.5% of the volume. This can detect stress or strain in concrete structures before they fail. Smart concrete technology has undergone extensive laboratory testing, but is yet to hit the market.
It works by adding a small quantity of short carbon fiber to concrete with a conventional concrete mixer to modify the electrical resistance of the concrete in response to strain or stress. As a result, the contact between the fiber and cement matrix is impacted when the concrete is deformed or stressed, thereby affecting the volume electrical resistivity of the concrete. The strain is then determined by measuring the degree of electrical resistance. Smart concrete is capable of sensing very small structural flaws and hence finds application in checking the internal condition of structures, particularly after an earthquake.
One factor that may contribute to the global smart concrete market is the widespread use of concrete as a composite material and its inability to withstand tension. This necessitates monitoring for cracks to allow timely repair. Other methods to evaluate cracks are by attaching or embedding sensors into structures. Sensors, however, cost more to install. Smart concrete is relatively cheaper.
The growth in the smart buildings market is likely to encourage the quick uptake of smart concrete. This is because in addition to their basic functionality of detecting minor cracks, smart concrete also helps to arrest the progress of cracks, reinforcing them to make them stronger. Further, it takes a lot of force for smart concrete to bend, and it is able to accept more energy before fracture.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki.
- Cellular concrete.
- Concrete in aggressive ground (SD 1).
- Concrete-steel composite structures.
- Concrete repair mortars.
- Concrete superplasticizer.
- Glass reinforced concrete.
- Graphene-reinforced concrete.
- Precast concrete.
- Prestressed concrete.
- Reinforced concrete.
- Self-compacting concrete.
- Tilt up construction.
Featured articles and news
What are the benefits of smart homes for Millennial end-users?
How dynamic briefing can result in an efficient project.
Achieving sustainable roads funding in England.
Your chance to comment on the draft BS 851188 - flood resistance products and flood protection products.
Rebuilding could take 20 to 40 years.
RSHP’s high-rise residential towers win a tall buildings award for excellence.
BSRIA study reveals strong growth in 2018.
Dame Judith Hackitt confirmed as keynote speaker – one year on from the Hackitt Report.
Save £100 on tickets.
Modern slavery in the construction sector.
What to bear in mind when claiming damages in construction.
How do we achieve sustainable clean-water infrastructure for all?