Jorge Salas

RESHEALIENCE : An ultra-high performance concrete, 5 times more resistant than the current one and self-healing

The main objective of the ReSHEALience project is to develop an ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) and a design methodology based on the evaluation of durability (DAD) for structures, to improve durability and predict their long-term performance under extremely aggressive exposures. ReSHEALience is a European research project, funded by the Horizon 2020 program, led by the Politecnico di Milano and among whose 14 partners is the Universitat Politècnica de València (UPV).

This new concrete will be especially suitable for infrastructures subjected to extremely aggressive environments, such as marine or near-shore constructions, as well as geothermal power plants.

Professor Pedro Serna’s team is in charge of the development of the UHPC: its formulation for new and retrofit applications. To do this, it uses nano-microscale components to promote the densification of the matrix and the interface, studies the classification of cement and nanoadditions, studies processes such as the improvement of autogenous curing by mixtures and evaluates their effects on durability.

Lighter, stronger and more durable structures

The facilities where this type of materials will be used are subject to conditions that cause their deterioration and reduce their performance, this is reflected in an annual investment of billions of euros in repairs.

The objective is to increase the useful life of concrete up to 100%, halving maintenance costs, achieving structures which are much lighter and, at the same time, much stronger and more durable

For this, the key is to use much more studied dosages, with new techniques, with very powerful additives, fibers and new materials, as well as a more developed manufacturing technology. Although these dosages require a little more cement, as much less concrete is required, the constructions will be more sustainable.

Auto repair and nanomaterials

To increase the useful life of concrete, the project proposes applying new techniques and materials. Among them, the use of crystalline additives that are activated when a crack appears and are capable of sealing the concrete automatically. In their work, the researchers will also use nanomaterials, specifically, alumina and cellulose nanofibers, which allow better control of cracking, thus guaranteeing greater durability.

The project foresees the development of a new system capable of predicting, with much more precision than in the most developed constructions today, the useful life of concrete before its implementation on site.

Two of the six evaluation prototypes, in the Comunidad Valenciana

ReSHEALience intends to apply these techniques in six life-size pilot works, two of them in the Valencian Community: a raft for mussel farming developed by the Valencian companies IDIFOR and Research & Development Concretes, and a large float for Offshore platforms that would be applied to a wind turbine, built in this case by Energy Ocean and Cyes Maritime Works.