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Wednesday, 21 August 2019
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Raw materials & technologies, Technologies, Functional coatings

Carbon nanofibres convert cement into electrical conductor

Friday, 2 August 2013

New technology developed by researchers at the University of Alicante allows material to heat up or prevent formation of ice.

The new cementitious material incorporates carbon nanofibres

Source: Ingo Bartussek - Fotolia.com

The new cementitious material incorporates carbon nanofibres

Source: Ingo Bartussek - Fotolia.com

Researchers at the University of Alicante have developed a cementitious material incorporating carbon nanofibres in its composition, turning cement into a good conductor of electricity capable of performing functions beyond its usual structural function.

This new technology, developed and patented by the UA Civil Engineering Department's Research Group in Multifunctional Concrete Conductors, allows, among other functions, the material to heat up due to the passage of current.

Formation of ice on infrastructure can be prevented

"The technology allows buildings' premises to heat or prevents the formation of ice on infrastructure, such as highways, railways, roads, airstrips and other elements,” lecturer Pedro Garcés, head of research, explains. "To obtain a cementitious compound effective as the heating element, this should have a low resistivity. This is not achieved in conventional concrete because they are poor conductors of electricity. However, this can be achieved by the addition of conductive materials such as, for example, carbonaceous materials,” he adds.

In this way, a new conductive compound with much more interesting properties is achieved since it keeps the structural properties of concrete and does not compromise the durability of the structures themselves.

Testing the technology in plasters with carbonaceous materials

This new product has a great versatility, since any existing structure or surface can be coated with it, keeping thermal control in it by applying continuous electric current.

At present, the research group has developed trials to test the technology in plasters with carbonaceous materials. These tests have given very satisfactory results, obtaining optimal properties of heating the material with minimum energy consumption.

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