oncrete, one of the world’s most popular building materials, has a familiar method of application: Build a mold for mixing, add cement and water, and allow to set. A new invention called Concrete Cloth frees this building material from the confines of preset forms and mixing routines.
Developed by Milliken & Co., Spartanburg, S.C., and Concrete Canvas Ltd., Pontypridd, U.K., Concrete Cloth traps a specially developed dry concrete powder between two surfaces that are linked together by a 3D fiber matrix. One surface is completely waterproof, while the other is porous and contains hydrophilic fibers, which, along with the dry concrete powder, draw water into the cloth to aid hydration. Once set, the material forms a three-layer composite with the long linked fibers being held in place by a matrix of high-strength concrete.
Fixing the powder in place so that it cannot move, even when the cloth is bent, the fibers also reinforce the set material, preventing cracking, absorbing impacts, and providing a safe plastic failure mode. The fibers progressively take up load as the concrete fails.
The cement-ratio no longer matters with this material, which cannot be over-hydrated. With a wear rate similar to basalt—about double that of conventional concrete—Concrete Cloth is durable and uses up to 95% less concrete than traditional applications.