Traditional concrete is an excellent material for the production of sidewalk paving, however, with a small thickness, it is fragile. Scientists at Nanyang University of Technology, Singapore, have solved this problem by developing flexible concrete that can be used to make lightweight paving slabs.
Conventional concrete is made from a mixture of cement, gravel, sand and water. The new material called ConFlexPave also contains polymer microfibers. They are thinner than a human hair and provide an even load distribution over the entire surface.
As a result, ConFlexPave is a tough metal structure that can withstand bending loads twice that of conventional concrete. An additional advantage of the new material is increased slip resistance.
Conventional versus flexible concrete
According to the creators of the material, the slabs produced at the plant will be delivered to construction sites much faster without the use of special vehicles with a high carrying capacity. If individual slabs are damaged, they can be removed from the pavement and replaced.
Small size ConFlexPave slabs have already been tested in laboratory conditions. The developers plan to create full-size pieces to cover the paths around the university campus, to test how they will withstand millions of pedestrians and tens of thousands of cars for three years.