When we think of cement in our world… it has always been a very coarse, expensive, and has absolutely no flexibility which causes brittleness. In today’s day and age, technology has changed drastically and has introduced the cement of the future called ECC (engineered cement composites). This ECC is bendable cement which brings a whole new realm into the building and construction world… let alone natural disaster prevention and improving the economy by not spending government money to repair cement as much. I initially discovered this subject at a business seminar locally in Burlington which discussed the future of our world, and economy, in accordance with business. At the end of the presentation the speaker displayed numerous innovative inventions and prototypes that are brand new and out there shaking the bushes in our technology driven world. I started searching the web for bendable concrete and discovered that The University of Michigan developed idea; therefore I obtained an article on their webpage in order to learn more. My secondary source that I found from searching on CNN is called www.designnews.com; this website appears to be reliable because it was derived from CNN’s website which is a very commendable news station. This website discusses all recent designs that are revolutionary, which is why it is reliable and why it has my subject included in its information. This secondary source differs from my original one because it discusses how this ECC could protect from hurricanes and also slightly touches on the scientific aspect but not as in depth as the Universities webpage. New building codes and sky-high insurance expenses are causing builders to incorporate this new technology in with their buildings in order to make them more resistant to natural disasters. This is another way that ECC will help our world labor wise and financially.
The scientists of the University of Michigan are the ones responsible for this invigorating news in science. The formation and development of this bendable cement has been underdeveloped for the past ten years and has just recently been claimed ready for use as of May 2005. This material is said to be first tested and used in Michigan…which is given seeing that Michigan is the state of origin. ECC has also been used out of the country in such places as Japan, Korea, Switzerland, and Australia. Back in the testing stages there was a patch repair on Curtis Road Bridge over M-14 in Ann Arbor in October 2002 that has endured three winters with no cracking. Madison, Wisconsin is also planning on building a bike path using ECC along the Lake Monona shoreline with sensors inside which will monitor its durability and sustainability. This fiber reinforced concrete is referred to as ECC which stands for engineered cement composites. This material is 40% lighter than ordinary cement and is 500 times more resistant to cracking. We all are aware of the problems with standard concrete such as cracking, lifting, lack of durability, and high expense of repair. This new ECC concrete is designed for maximum flexibility and will cost less in the long run because it strays from the repair expense by how long it lasts. The key to this cement in order to differentiate itself from ordinary cement is explained by engineering professor, Victor Li, “ECC is engineered, Li said, which means that in addition to reinforcing the concrete with micro scale fibers that act as ligaments to bond the concrete more tightly, scientists design the ingredients in the concrete itself to make it more flexible.” Flexible cement would save our country mass amounts of money, inevitably improving our economy. Imagine how much money would be saved if the country had sidewalks, driveways, bridges, and foundations built from ECC, which is 500 times more resistant from cracking.
I found a video feed of three different examples of ECC being tested during its research and development at the University of Michigan. This link is from the Universities webpage, http://ace-mrl.engin.umich.edu/NewFiles/movie(bend).html . These videos display a far away view and up close view of the ECC being flexed along with a chart of the force being applied to the ECC during the testing. These videos are very interesting and informative because it proves to viewers that it really is real and very bendable.
Michigan. “U-M researchers make bendable concrete.” 04 May, 2005. umich.edu. 20 November 2008. http://www.umich.edu/news/index.html?Releases/2005/May05/r050405
Michigan. “U-M researchers make bendable concrete.” 04 May, 2005. umich.edu. 20 November 2008. http://ace-mrl.engin.umich.edu/NewFiles/movie(bend).html