#TechTuesday: Concrete to conduct electrical currents
The Graphene Flagship has paved the way for innovation in nearly every walk of life. Now, it promises to revolutionise the construction sector.
Graphene Flagship partner Italcelmenti have developed graphene-enhanced concrete, capable of conducting electricity. This material could find an array of applications, from indoor heating to outdoor deicing, and even futuristic sensing to monitor the structural integrity of buildings.
By combining graphene with a widely used and cost-effective material such as concrete, Graphene Flagship researchers altered the typical isolating properties of cementitious materials, enabling electrical currents to flow without restricting performance or reducing fluidity. The result is a smart concrete, with seemingly boundless applications in the constructions sector.
At Mobile World Congress 2019, in Barcelona, Italcementi showcased a prototype that demonstrated of the uses of conductive cement for indoor floor heating. Graphene-enhanced concrete is sandwiched between the ground and upper floor tiles. Because this material also conducts heat, this transformative innovation offers a minimally invasive and highly efficient heating system, improving living conditions and optimising space.
The opportunities are substantial. In the near future, the application of graphene-enabled smart concretes will improve the security and energy efficiency of everyday life. For example, by heating external surfaces, such as cycle lanes, runways, and streets, graphene-enabled concrete could provide the key to deicing surfaces without the need for abrasive substances or chemical anti-freeze products.