It’s concrete week here at Inhabitat. First there was spray-on concrete – now there is bendable concrete. Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a new type of fiber-reinforced concrete that is bendable, resistant to cracking, and 40 times lighter in weight. Engineered Cement Composites (ECC) should address most of the main problems of traditional concrete, such as lack of durability, failure under severe loading, and the resulting expenses of repair. Tiny fibers that comprise about 2 percent of the mixture’s volume account for its performance. The network of fibers throughout the concrete allows the cement to move around, avoiding the inflexibility that causes rigidity and breakage.
This sounds like an excellent alternative to regular concrete in earthquake prone areas. (Although I must admit I don’t really know anything about structural engineering – so someone please correct me if I’m wrong about this.) Because of its long life, bendable concrete is expected to cost less in the long run, as well. The urban jungle just got bendier!