The classic reinforcement steel in structures made of concrete finds an alternative in carbon fibers bonded with plastic. Above all, the C³ joint research project – led by the TU Dresden – has been able to lay the foundations for the use of this high-tech material in recent years. In addition to the processing of carbon reinforcement mats, special cement formulations or the savings potential in various components, the more than 140 companies and research institutes involved were also concerned with sustainability. It is now clear that the reinforcement, which is only a few millimeters thick, can be installed efficiently. Their absolute corrosion resistance as well as the lower concrete cover required save enormous amounts of energy during production – and thus reduce CO2 emissions and transport costs.
After the reinforcement of reinforced concrete with carbon concrete was approved by the building authorities a few days ago, another important step towards the revolution in construction has been taken. By using the composite material, construction can be carried out much faster, more beautifully and more efficiently. For the construction industry, the real estate sector, monument protection, but also our environment, this aspect is a decisive advantage now and in the future.
In a potential analysis on the subject of “Carbon Concrete Composite”, students at the HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management were able to demonstrate and confirm the extremely promising market prospects for carbon concrete. “We were very happy to devote ourselves to this potential analysis, because from our point of view carbon concrete can make an important contribution to sustainable, climate-friendly construction. The building material has the potential to become a real game changer in the current debate about climate protection and smart cities, including here in Leipzig, ”emphasizes Henning Zülch, Professor at HHL Leipzig and head of the Department of Accounting and Auditing and adds “Once again, the results of the analysis show what great potential there is in Saxony as a location for science.
“We know that carbon concrete cannot solve all the world’s problems. However, carbon concrete construction can make a significant contribution to saving resources, because sand is already a scarce commodity today. Thanks to the electrical and thermal conductivity of carbon, which enables direct inductive charging and heating of the component as well as data transmission, carbon concrete is ideally suited for use in the smart city “- says Matthias Tietze, research assistant at TU Dresden and commercial director of the C³- Association.
Carbon concrete can be used to build more beautifully because components can be designed and manufactured to be extremely slim, flexible and freely malleable. It can be built faster, as up to 50% savings in construction time can be achieved for reinforcement. It can be built more efficiently because, depending on the application, up to 12% more floor space can be gained. Thanks to the corrosion resistance of carbon, there is no need for an additional layer of concrete that would otherwise have to be applied to protect the rust-prone steel. In this way, building owners gain more capacity thanks to a shorter construction time, tenants and landlords gain more space, monuments get a new life and the environment has a moment to breathe a sigh of relief.
Over 100 construction projects across Germany and Europe have already been implemented with carbon concrete. The areas of application range from structural and civil engineering to civil engineering. In the area of new buildings, carbon concrete is mainly used where a reduction in weight or component thickness and an increase in durability are advantageous, for example in bridge structures, bridge caps, prefabricated garages, facades and walls in office and residential buildings, but also ceiling panels in parking garages. The world’s first building made of carbon concrete, the so-called CUBE, is also being built in Dresden.
In the field of renovation, carbon concrete is used when the load-bearing capacity of components is to be increased and at the same time low layer thicknesses, the lowest possible increase in component weight or the preservation of the building volume are desired. Carbon concrete is also used in the area of monument protection, where the appearance of the building must be preserved. The rehabilitation of bridges, industrial plants and buildings can be named as an example. Silo walls, channels, ceiling panels, supports and roofs of listed buildings have already been renovated with carbon concrete.
(Source: Technical University of Dresden)