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    Eduardo Tió, GrapheneCA, outlines the advantages of graphene additives in concrete.   

    Concrete admixtures are rarely the subject of technological innovation. Their tried and true use cases are familiar to the construction industry, and it is clear what to expect from each type of additive. This is why the introduction of a new kind of product can come as an unexpected boon. OG Admix is an additive that imbues cement with the superior properties of graphene, or what many call ‘the miracle material.”

    From a materials science perspective, graphene may be considered to be in a class of its own. It consists of a hexagonal lattice of carbon that is only one atom thick, making it the first discovered, two-dimensional material. This has important implications for what can be done with it, and many of its properties are impressive. The material has proven to be hundreds of times stronger than steel, yet four times lighter than the best steel alloy, and it is a more efficient conductor than copper. 

    Speculation about graphene applications has been the talk of many industries ever since its Nobel prize-winning discovery in 2004. This is partly due to the fact that many of its properties can be transferred to other materials, expanding the reach of its applications into new territories. Industry-changing breakthroughs are emerging in construction, composites, and water filtration, to name a few. Early adopters are already experiencing benefits in areas where graphene offers a significant improvement over existing technologies, with concrete additives standing out as a notable case. 


    Original Graphene Admix is one example of these possibilities. An over 99% carbon pure graphene production technique allows for the creation of an all-in-one graphene additive. This product reinforces concrete with the properties of the material, many of which, significantly surpass those of air-entraining admixtures and other additives. 

    The first advantage of OG Admix is the increased quality of concrete, beyond what can be achieved in typical mixes. OG Admix could be taken into consideration ahead of a mix design, to improve durability and resistance, while requiring smaller amounts of cement and other materials – a ‘more with less’ approach that translates into saving, not only resources, but time and labour costs as well. Tests show an increase in compression strength of up to 22% on average, while using the product. Some results come in as high as an 80% increase. Another advantage is a huge increase in flexural strength, with outlier test results reaching a 200% improvement over regular concrete. Overall, a graphene admixture can strengthen hardened concrete against both tension and compression beyond commonly applied methods. The resulting concrete has at least an 8 – 12% elastic modulus improvement. 

    In fact, OG Admix is able to replace rebar in certain structural and non-structural applications. This offers significant economic advantages that go beyond a cost-effective design mix. The complications of using rebar are generally overlooked and taken as a necessary part of the construction process. However, rebar is usually 60 – 90% of cement job costs, it is subject to global shortages, and it is known to cause a self-deteriorating process in structures colloquially known as ‘concrete cancer.’ Many constructions may benefit from avoiding it altogether and adopting cheaper, handier, and even greener solutions. In terms of environmental responsibility, implementing graphene admixtures could result in lower carbon emissions, and using graphene could likely double the life of rebar in concrete. 

    It is important to note that graphene’s strengthening capabilities do not come at the expense of an overall weight increase. On the contrary, using graphene additives makes for lighter concrete. GrapheneCA has examples of 40% weight reductions on concrete prepared with OG Admix, while maintaining the same strength to weight ratio. This is could be another important factor in lowering the overall costs of construction. 

    Additionally, graphene is well known for a high hydrophobicity that is noticeable in its emerging use cases in water filtration and other technologies. This can translate into decreased permeability in the context of graphene-reinforced concrete. The admixture increases impermeability and resistance to water and chemicals by 50 – 80%, OG (Original Graphene) Concrete Admix Plus is a graphene-based product that improves cement by making it stronger, lighter, and more resistant. World Cement Reprinted from December 2019 making it well suited for wet constructions in high-humidity and salt storm-prone areas. Moreover, constructions that use graphene as an additive enjoy improved anti-flammability, anti-corrosiveness, and share its superior, mechanical properties. 

    These and other benefits come with the addition of only one more ingredient into the mix. An all-in-one admix solves problems that would generally require expenditures in several individual additives, all of which may still less desirable results when compared to a graphene-based solution. This application of graphene signals a step forward in what is possible in construction: more durable, versatile, and cost-effective structures. 

      Real world applications   

    Graphene additives have had a decade-long journey from the laboratory to the construction site, but the benefits are no longer only theoretical. A recent, real world example of the utility of graphene-based concrete additives is seen in the construction of a new convention centre, close to the city of Cancun, Mexico. The Centro de Convenciones Siglo XXI is one of the first major commercial constructions to make use of the material. The installation relied on GrapheneCA’s graphene supply, citing its cost-effectiveness and the durability improvements of graphene-reinforced concrete. The base graphene additive is used at low loads and is designed for end users who can make use of the company’s mobile graphene container systems. These high yield, portable, in-house graphene production lines require only natural graphite, a good source of water, and energy to operate. Each MGCS is the same fully scaled, closed-loop, chemical-free production line used in Brooklyn, US. OG Concrete Admix is available to retail consumers as well, and it is designed to be used with any type of standard concrete products. One jar of OG Admix is enough for a 60 lb package of ready-to-mix cement for applications over 3 in. in thickness. This makes it well suited for driveways, patios, basement repairs, stairs, ramps, exterior paving and retaining walls. An OG Admix with steel fibre reinforcement is also available. 


    It is worth reiterating the thoughts of David Robles, GrapheneCA’s head of Business Development, on the future of graphene additives. He stated that OG Admix is “one of many graphene-based applications that will have a strong impact on the construction industry. Think of how much constructions could improve if concrete structures were even more resistant and durable. Now, imagine if that could be done cost-effectively. It can cut carbon emissions tremendously by requiring less cement, it lasts longer, and it is highly compatible with all water-based mortar systems.” The substantive and economic benefits of including a graphene additive in design mix have been studied and measured. They are the product of over eight years of research and three years of iteration in production processes. These developments are pioneering the introduction of graphene into the US$395 billion industry of retail concrete; just one of the many promising graphene applications that could impact the construction industry as a whole, in the coming years. 

      About the author   

    Eduardo Tió is a bilingual technology writer based in New York. He has written on a wide range of subjects, including AI, cryptocurrencies, Medtech, and graphene, with work featured on Yahoo Finance, Hacker Noon, and NewsBTC. Eduardo helps new startups develop informative content streams and an engaging voice. He is also a music producer and an avid reader.