The special concrete, called Concretene, contains small quantities of graphene, but enough to improve its mechanical performance by 30%, reducing the need so much steel reinforcement and thus reducing the weight of the suspended slab.
At Mayfield, it will be used to create a 54-metre by 14-metre mezzanine floor, which will become a roller disco at the Escape to Freight Island attraction within Depot Mayfield, being developed by U+I.
Graphene acts a mechanical support and as a catalyst surface for the initial hydration reaction, leading to better bonding at microscopic scale and giving the finished product improved strength, durability and corrosion resistance. It also cuts drying time from 28 days to just 12 hours.
The Construction Index reported in May on the use of Concretene for the floor slab of a new gym in Amesbury, Wiltshire. However, that project had the benefit of research grants behind it. the Mayfield roller disco represents its first commercial use and first use in a suspended slab.
Concretene has been developed by the University of Manchester’s Graphene Engineering Innovation Centre (GEIC) and Nationwide Engineering, a company co-founded by University of Manchester civil engineering graduate, Alex McDermott.
Alex McDermott said: “Today is a huge milestone for the team, as not only is this our first commercial use of Concretene, but also the first suspended slab as used in high rise developments.
“As world leaders in graphene enhanced concrete technology, the interest from the international building industry has been beyond expectations, as looming legislation is forcing significant carbon reductions throughout construction.”
Nationwide Engineering co-founder Rob Hibberd added: “Our partnership with the university has fast-tracked the development of Concretene, going from lab to product in 18 months.”
There are also carbon savings to be made, the team says. The use of graphene in concrete produces 6.3kg of CO2 per tonne of concrete – a 21.94kg reduction per tonne compared to traditional steel reinforcement. The total estimated reduction in CO2 emissions for this floor slab compared to a traditional concrete solution is 4,265kg.