Nilesh Gandhi
Architect Nilesh Gandhi, Metadesign India
Concrete, the wonder material that has shaped our surroundings, was invented in the mid-18th century, and continues to be the most widely used construction material. Concrete came to architects and designers as a boon, to give form to their expressions, and as a tool to express creativity and bring an element of personalization to their buildings and structures, with the architecture catering to needs like image, statement, function, and flexibility, for the end-user.

Infrastructure construction, however, is a different ball game altogether. Upwards of 500 million metric tons of concrete is consumed in India, of which the quantum that is poured into infrastructure constructions is multiple times the volume consumed by building construction. These include roads, bridges, highways, flyovers, metros, over ground and underground, precast concrete members et al. And with infrastructure growth being key to a country’s growth, to “up” the ladder of prosperity, we shall be seeing an ever-increasing volume of such structures defining the cityscape. So, there is all the more reason to give focus and deal creatively with these structural elements as they have a shelf life of up to 70-100 years.

Meta design

Aesthetic evaluations are a very subjective aspect; infrastructure elements, while being functional, need to fit into the environment and look elegant. Their appearance will always lie alongside function, economy and construction. Visual excellence needs to be evaluated along with the design approach. Issues like relation to the site, scale and harmony in the context of the environment, culture, color tone, and texture, are to be given adequate importance, and High-Performance Concrete (HPC) rightfully provides all the required assistance in giving due justice to all the aesthetical parameters for defining the visual character of specific projects.

Concrete, as we all know, being strong in compression and weak in tension, led to the development of Reinforced Concrete, which is formed by adding steel bars/fibers or glass/plastic fibers, to cater to the tensile loads. As a combined entity giving the required strength to build structures that can stand the test of time, HPC possesses higher strength than normal concrete.

New Age technologies have enabled concrete to achieve strength as high as 300 mega pascals (Mpa), 45000 pounds per square inch (psi). The high performance is on account of higher strength, durability, and workability, which gives architects and designers tremendous aesthetic flexibilities. The higher performance is also due to cementitious materials, fly ash, silica fumes, slag and super plasticizer. The proportions are specifically designed to provide high strength and low permeability.

BARELA

HPC is devoid of the limitations of conventional concrete like mirco-cracking, and only needs careful designing and production. HPC is therefore used in areas of extreme exposure to chlorides, sulphates and to counter the effect of CO2 in the air. The major advantages of HPC being reduction in the sizing of the structures, it enables enhanced design flexibility and creativity. Slender sizing of the elements offers lesser space for traditional reinforcement elements like steel, thereby, necessitating use of special stainless steel, which will continue to dominate as fibers lack sufficient elasticity. Along with reduction in weight, they enable long spans for precast and ease of transportation.

Infrastructure construction provides the much-required replicability in production, which gives immense opportunities to innovate and design desired structures and elements. Even with high initial mold costs, the overall cost reduces with multiple reuses, thereby, negating the high cost phenomenon. Despite the mass scale production benefits in casting concrete, the infrastructure design has by far been governed by functional parameters predominantly, rather than aesthetics. However, the digital onslaught has taken the design to a completely new level of experimentation, enabled by HPC. The “why” for designer/aesthetic concrete has its response in its existence in the public domain with the need and urge to upgrade the design quotient of our infrastructure facilities.

Aesthetical Integration

The surface of concrete is as important as the concrete itself as it poses the “finish” of the built elements. Formwork, therefore, plays a very important role in the casting of concrete to the desired finish. And for designers, it is exciting to turn the structural elements into elements of visual appeal. Infra Construction constitutes majorly of such elements, and HPC helps in keeping them exposed along with enabling designers to experiment with creative outputs, taking shape of the formwork even with complex geometries. Addition of pigments or aggregates aids in giving an in-situ self-colored option, thereby adding a whole new aesthetic dimension.

Concrete has given immense scope for designers to experiment creatively with structural design, with astonishing results. With biomimicry and biophilia being adopted in the making of new structures, versatility in concrete is an ever-increasing phenomenon and HPC fills this need.

Architect Nilesh Gandhi, Metadesign India, M.Arch Project Management, CEPT, Ahmedabad, Phd (Hs.), LEED AP+, IGBC AP, EDGE Auditor, GRIHA Trainer & Evaluator, can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Finnish company Betolar expands to Indian concrete markets with a cement-free concrete solution
Betolar, a Finnish start-up, and innovator of geopolymer concrete solution Geoprime®, has expanded its operations to Europe and Asian markets including India, Vietnam and Indonesia. Betolar’s innovation Geoprime® is the next-generation, low carbon

Read more ...

Why Fly Ash Bricks Are Better Than Clay/Red Bricks
It is estimated that in India each million clay bricks consume about 200 tons of coal and emit around 270 tons of CO2; on the other hand, with fly ash bricks production in an energy-free route, there are no emissions. Dr. N. Subramanian, Consulting

Read more ...

Low Fines, Low Viscosity, Self-Consolidating Concrete for Better Impact on CO2 Emissions
Production of low fines SCC with increased robustness in a highly flowable, less viscous condition meeting true SCC specifications is now a reality to help realise the architect’s and engineer’s dream of various complex profiles and shapes in

Read more ...

Methods & Factors for Design of Slabs-on-Grade
Sunitha K Nayar, gives the grouping of slabs-on-grade based on the design philosophies and a brief overview of the different design methods, the commonalities between design strategies in terms of the input parameters, assumed and estimated parameters, and the

Read more ...

FIBERCRETE®: Synthetic Fibers for Concrete Reinforcement
Kalyani Polymers is offering world-class made-in-India Synthetic Micro & Macro Concrete Fiber Products for the Construction Industry under the brand name FIBERCRETE®. Concrete is an integral part of any construction project, it can be roads, tall structures

Read more ...

Climate Control Concrete
Leading cement and concrete maker ACC has unveiled a revolutionary thermal insulating climate control concrete system in India. Sridhar Balakrishnan, MD & CEO, ACC Limited, discusses its attributes, applications, and benefits for home builders, architects

Read more ...

Innovations in Crack Bridging with Self-Healing Bacteria in Concrete
Dr. Manjunatha L R, Vice President - Direct Sales & Sustainability Initiatives, and Raghavendra, Senior officer, JSW Cement Limited, discuss bacterial concrete that can meet the requirements for strength, durability, and self-healing of cracks.

Read more ...

Sustainable Development Through Use of Self-Curing Concrete
Dada S. Patil, Assistant Professor, Civil Engineering Department, AIKTC, Panvel, Navi Mumbai, Maharashtra; Dr. S. B. Anadinni, Professor & Associate Dean (Core Branches), School of Engineering, Presidency University, Bengaluru; and Dr. A. V. Shivapur, Professor

Read more ...

Developing a Corrosion Resistant RCC Structure
Samir Surlaker, Director, Assess Build Chem Private Limited, emphasizes the importance of a clear cover for a concrete structure since concrete as a porous material needs protection of its reinforcement. Along with the thickness (quantity) of cover, the porosity of

Read more ...

Quest for Higher Strength Concrete From HSC to UHPC
Concrete technology has come a long way since the Romans discovered the material, with a number of ingredients, which include a host of mineral and chemical admixtures, besides of course, the Portland cement, aggregates (coarse and fine), and water. These ingredients

Read more ...

Modelling Methods for Protection of RCC Structures
Anil Kumar Pillai, GM, Ramco Cements, discusses two major softwares (Life 365 and DuraCrete), used in the industry for protection of RCC structures. The common design approach is faulty because we consider only the loading aspect, whereas the environmental aspect is equally

Read more ...

Bajaj Reinforcements LLP - Introduces Fibre Tuff heavy-duty synthetic fibres that offer a range of benefits to concrete
Fibre Tuff, macro synthetic polypropylene fibres, are heavy-duty synthetic fibres that are specially engineered for use as secondary reinforcements, providing excellent resistance to the post cracking capacity of concrete. They are replacing steel fibres in a range

Read more ...

Use of Headed Bars in Reinforced Concrete Design
Reinforced concrete design and construction practice has historically focused on the use of bonded straight or bend rebar as a method for rebar anchorage. This relies on bond integrity between the rebar and the concrete so that sufficient anchorage

Read more ...

Innovation easy, effective and economical tool for asset creation
Innovation and entrepreneurship are essential ingredients in building a successful commercial venture. The ways in which these two concepts fuel enterprise are something entrepreneur's never stop exploring. There is no doubt that innovation were

Read more ...

Reactivity of Alite and Belite towards Sustainability of Concrete
Alite and belite are the predominant phases of Portland cement formulation. Alite is impure tricalcium silicate (C3S) and belite is impure dicalcium silicate (C2S). The impurities are an integral part as cement is manufactured

Read more ...

Innovative, Economic, Durable and Sustainable Concrete to last for +100 years of service life
Concrete is a versatile construction material and day by day its consumption is increasing globally. It is second only to water in the global consumption. No civil engineering structure is feasible without using concrete

Read more ...

Nanospan India Pvt Ltd
The use of Graphene with concrete has been talked about and researched ever since Graphene was invented in 2010 which grabbed its inventors a Nobel prize. Nanospan is the first company in the world to break technological and commercial

Read more ...

Fosroc: Building, Cementing & Supporting
Fosroc is the foundation of the JMH Group. It employs over 1700 employees in 17 operating companies based in Europe, the Gulf & Middle East, India, South Asia, and China. Through FGT, its trading company, it services another 50 countries

Read more ...

Dextra Group
Established in 1983 by French expatriate entrepreneurs, the Dextra Group has a long history of growth and development, driven by strong entrepreneurship and innovation. It has diversified into three main activities: manufacturing, trading and freight forwarding

Read more ...

Ferrochrome Ash Based Geopolymer Concrete
Jyotirmoy Mishra, Ph.D. Scholar, Department of Civil Engineering, Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology, Burla, Odisha, presents his research on the feasibility and compressive strength performance of geopolymer concrete

Read more ...

×
Sign-up for Free Subscription
'India Construction Week'
Weekly e-Newsletter on Construction Industry
Get the latest news, product launches, projects announced / awarded, government policies, investments, and expert views.
Click here to subscribe.
×