Earlier this year, France-based Lafarge Corp. announced the development of a new concrete-like composite, called Ductal, that is said to have strength similar to steel and toughness equivalent to ceramics. This provides a combination of compressive and flexural strength, and a high resistance to abrasion and corrosive elements. According to the company, the composite is twice as hard as any known natural rock, resistant to water and gas, and does not require steel reinforcement.
Andy Radler, Lafarge vice president in charge of developing material, said at a press event at World of Concrete 2001 in Las Vegas, that the cost savings from using the composite can be significant because it makes for a faster construction process and generates labor and material savings. Plus, 'engineers and architects will be free to express more creative design solutions because of its versatility,' Radler said, 'Besides its ultra-high strength, Ductal can be made in a range of colors and textures with a high quality surface finish.'
Developed jointly by Lafarge and two other France-based companies — general contractor Bouygues and mixture company Rhodia — the material has been used in such applications as bridges and tunnels, but the company says the product can be customized for virtually any application.
For more information, visit www.lafargecorp.com.