Ductal®, a new Ultra High Performance Concrete / by NIcole Sherman

fineconcrete announces sublicense agreement with Lafarge North America for the design and production of concrete furnishings using Ultra High Performance Concrete

fineconcrete is one of a select few custom design companies in the United States granted a sublicense to investigate the architectural potential of Ductal®, a new Ultra High Performance Concrete.  Lafarge’s proprietary mix design allows the studio to explore new elements, with incomparable surface detail and limitless forms.

This innovative concrete that is up to 10 times stronger than conventional concrete with unprecedented compressive and flexural strength, allowing finer, thinner, lighter and more elegant designs. The chemistry is cutting edge while still embracing the natural qualities of concrete.

A visionary design studio in Charlottesville, Virginia, fineconcrete focuses on the production of concrete furniture, surfaces and architecture. The studio emphasizes the tactile quality of design and utilizes digital fabrication, designing objects that are sensuous and seductive, sculptural pieces with the highest degree of craft.

With design backgrounds in architecture and over 18 years of experience in custom fabrication, the studio envisions and fabricates concrete sinks, tables, benches, fireplaces, bathtubs, countertops, and other furnishings as well as intricate tiles and wall panels.

• Ultra High Performance: a UHPC developed and supplied by Lafarge Group, a leading manufacturers of cement, concrete and aggregates in the world, active in 64 countries, employing about 68,000 people around the world. Fine concrete works directly with Lafarge North America in Canada.

• High Strength: a specially formulated ductile material blended with cement, silica fume, ground quartz, fine silica sand, superplasticizer, water, and steel or organic fibers.

• Fiber-reinforced: a material with high tensile strength, it can support major deformations without structural cracking and has ductility. Ductal® achieves this engineering feat by progressively absorbing the energy applied and efficiently dispersing it throughout the matrix. It requires little or no passive steel reinforcement and elimiates the need for rebar, allowing thinner and more complex forms

• Resistant: it has exceptional resistance to abrasion, impacts, saline environments or extremely harsh temperatures.

• Durable: it is up to 1,000 times more durable; its longevity is 2 to 3 times longer than that of conventional concrete.

• Self-consolidating: its microfine aggregates make it more dense and consistent. It has very low porosity, offering resistance to scratching and staining.

• Fine: it is capable of the most intricate detailing, with unlimited surface textures, finishes and colors.

• Innovative: capable of very thin complex forms, creating lighter weight elements.

• Sustainable: takes less energy to manufacture, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and consumption of natural resources. It also uses substantially less water in the fabrication of elements and there is no off gassing. Ductal® projects and products can contribute to LEED certification credits.

• Properties: Conventional Concrete vs Ductal®

Compressive Strength: Concrete: 3,000 – 7,000 psi  Ductal® : 20,000 – 29,000 psiw

Flexural strength: Concrete: 570 – 750 psi typ   Ductal® : 2,175 – 5,800 psi

Porosity: Concrete: 12 – 16% Ductal® : 1.5 – 6%