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Carbon Materials for Tropical Megacities

A delegation of experts led by the German SGL Group – The Carbon Company – presented carbon fiber applications in the construction industry to leading representatives of state construction bodies in Singapore: the Building & Construction Authority (BCA), the Housing & Development Board (HDB), JTC Corporation, and the renowned Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Energy Research Institute.

The main part of the three-day visit was a series of application-based workshops. Experts from Germany’s leading textile concrete research institutes at Dresden University of Technology and RWTH Aachen University, the Carbon Composites e.V. (CCeV) Department for High-performance Materials in the Construction Industry, and SGL Group Corporate Research Division demonstrated the current state of technology by reference to existing projects and showed new possibilities for using CARBOCRETE® – carbon fiber-reinforced concrete – in urban spaces under tropical climate conditions. In this new composite material, carbon fibers are used instead of steel to reinforce the concrete. These strong, very stiff but lightweight fibers do not corrode. Even extremely high air humidity such as occurs in Singapore cannot damage them. This not only makes carbon-reinforced concrete more durable than steel-reinforced concrete but also more efficient, since the thick concrete outer layers required to protect steel reinforcement are no longer necessary. It was these aspects of sustainability and material saving that particularly attracted the interest of the workshop participants. In Singapore, where even the sand for concrete has to be imported, the Government is seeking innovative concepts for energy and resource efficiency and backing them with state funding. By systematically promoting science and technology, while at the same time guaranteeing protection of intellectual property and recognized certification standards, Singapore has not only become an Asian science metropolis but also a center for applied product research. This is reflected in the innovative and richly diverse architecture of Singapore, to which a comprehensive Green Building tour was devoted as a finale to the visit. The next step is to identify pilot applications for carbon fiber-reinforced concrete and, with the further assistance of state bodies, to find partners for joint projects in Singapore. (5/2013)

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