Greener and stronger concrete by adding graphene

Researchers at the University of Exeter have developed a new nanoengineering technology to incorporate graphene into traditional concrete production to make a stronger and greener material.

Graphene, hailed as a wonder material, has been used to make anything from stronger condoms to conductive paint, and now it’s concrete’s turn.

The graphene-reinforced concrete is more than twice as strong and four times more water resistant than existing concretes, as well as more durable. Perhaps even more important, however, is that by including graphene, the amount of materials required to make concrete can be reduced by 50 per cent. As the production of concrete adds significantly to the global CO2 emissions, the new composite concrete can lead to much greener buildings.

To make the new material, the researchers developed a new technique that centres on suspending atomically thin graphene in water in a low-cost process. The technique produces a high yield of concrete without defects, and can be scaled up

The graphene-reinforced concrete passes British and European standards for construction and can be used directly by the construction industry.

Photo: University of Exeter