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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/M01696X/1
Title: Knitting bespoke reinforcement for new concrete structures
Principal Investigator: Orr, Professor JJ
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Architecture and Civil Engineering
Organisation: University of Bath
Scheme: Standard Research - NR1
Starts: 30 March 2015 Ends: 29 June 2017 Value (£): 241,316
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Civil Engineering Materials Structural Engineering
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
18 Jun 2014 Bright IDEAS Awards:The Big Pitch: Civ Eng: Outline Panel Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Emissions data suggests that 30-50% of all carbon emissions arise from activities in the built environment. The global population is expected to reach 9bn by 2050, with 67% living in urban areas. Meeting strict emissions reductions targets (in the UK - an 80% reduction by 2050) and facilitating global low-carbon design is therefore a major challenge for structural engineering.

Concrete is the world's most widely used man-made material. The manufacture of cement accounts for a large proportion of global raw material expenditure and at least 5% of global CO2 emissions. Recent research has made it possible to cast geometrically complex concrete structures, capitalising on a key advantage of this fluid material. These developments allow new architectural expression, and the new geometries allow us to save considerable amounts of material through design optimisation.

This new potential is being held back by current methods for reinforcing concrete. Although the steel rods that we use can be bent into standardised shapes, any further complexity adds considerable cost to the construction process.

With the goal of achieving low carbon concrete design, two major challenges exist: 1) to reinforce structures with complex geometries and 2) to provide durable and resilient structures. Meeting both challenges would allow us to capitalise on the fluidity of concrete to meet long-term emissions reductions targets. This will require a completely new approach to design and construction of concrete structures.

This proposal will completely replace internal steel reinforcement with a knitted composite reinforcement cage made from carbon fibre tows. By fabricating this reinforcement in exactly the right geometry, we will provide exactly the right strength exactly where it is needed. This will be transformative for concrete construction, and will greatly simplify the reinforcing of more efficient concrete structures to help the UK meet its ambitious targets for emissions reductions.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Organisation Website: http://www.bath.ac.uk