Testing starts next month on a bendable concrete material that LSU researchers believe could have a substantial impact on the region’s deteriorating infrastructure.
For more than a year, project leader Gabriel Arce, a senior research associate in LSU’s department of construction management, has worked with a team of five others to develop cost-effective versions of the bendable concrete.
The team has produced more than 24 different versions of the concrete so far, with Arce planning to bring three versions—each tailored for a specific use—of the bendable concrete to mass market.
“This will be a very specialized product for specific applications,” Arce says.
Testing at the Louisiana Transportation Research Center Pavement Research Facility in Port Allen is expected to last a year and is being funded by a collaborative partnership called Trans-SET, which includes nine major institutions and two community colleges, led by LSU. Louisiana-based Lemoine Company and Quality Concrete are also assisting with testing.
The research team is also working with the university to test the products on sections of deteriorated pavement on campus, which Arce says could help engage the private sector and help with commercializing the materials.
“(The Port Allen tests) are in controlled environments so having a project in the real world to showcase how well the material reacts is important for the mass marketing of this product,” Arce says, adding he expects it to take years until engineers are comfortable using the new material.