Launched June 2019 as part of the EU’s ‘Horizon 2020’ R&D program, the ReSHEALience project will work to develop an Ultra High Durability Concrete (UHDC) to address infrastructure challenges - caused by accelerating climate change - currently facing EU member countries due to extremely aggressive exposure conditions. Politecnico di Milano (Italy) is the coordinator of the project and Penetron Italia is the beneficiary in the ReSHEALience project, providing its expertise on crystalline admixture technology and stimulated self-healing in the construction of six pilots.
At €80 billion, Horizon 2020 (H2020) is the European Union’s largest research and innovation program, which looks to leverage scientific innovations and industrial partnership to tackle many of Europe’s growing societal challenges. Key goals include removing barriers to innovation and enhancing collaboration between the public and private sectors to secure Europe's global competitiveness, drive economic growth and – last but certainly not least – create jobs on the Continent.
As part of the H2020 program, the European Commission announced the ReSHEALience project at the start of 2018. The scope and itinerary of the project would take shape over the next two years. Coordinated by Politecnico di Milano in Italy, the project brings together 14 partners from eight EU countries (Italy, Spain, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Israel, Malta), including six academic and research institutions together with eight industrial partners.
Thinking About Ultra-High Durability Concrete
“With the growing awareness of a changing climate and the urgency of responding to the many environmental challenges, the EU is looking for coastal defense measures and green energy infrastructure enhancements,” explains Jozef Van Beeck, Director of International Sales & Marketing for The Penetron Group. “For Penetron and our technology partners – including the Politecnico di Milano – we will specifically support the creation of high durability, high-performance, fiber-reinforced cement-based materials.”
“Basically, Penetron Italia supplies the essential additive used in the development of the innovative UHDC materials,” explains Enricomaria Brac, Director of Penetron Italy. “Our team also collaborates on the conferences and technical seminars and helps publicize the results.”
Key ReSHEALience project goals include the development of an Ultra High Durability Concrete (UHDC) and a Durability Assessment-based Design (DAD) methodology for new structures. The UHDC materials will integrate Penetron’s crystalline technology and face extensive testing under extremely aggressive exposures (EAE). Once proven successful, UHDC will significantly improve structural durability for infrastructure construction projects across the EU.
“UHDC applications will mainly benefit future marine structures and geothermal/biomass energy plants, where severe conditions challenge concrete durability and can lead to rapid deterioration and short structural lifespans. The current technology – and lack of sufficiently durable structures – results in billions of Euros spent on maintenance and repairs every year,” adds Enricomaria Brac.
Focusing on Extending Structural Durability
The following activities will address ReSHEALience project goals through comparison of current performance levels of high-performance reinforced concrete with the proposed UHDC specifications:
Tailoring UHDC to achieve a 100% enhancement in material durability (uncracked state)
Upgrade experimental methods to validate full-service life enhancements of at least 30%
Develop a model to evaluate ageing and degradation of UHDC structures in EAE with a 75% accuracy for improved lifespan predictions
Propose new DAD concepts for UHDC to assess structural durability to increase project lifespans by 30% and reduce long-term maintenance costs by 50% or more
Monitor six full-scale pilot projects to assess long-term durability to ensure 30% durability enhancements of UHDC for both new and repaired elements
Ultimately, the successful ReSHEALience project results will help to design and produce structures that use 60% less resources, require less maintenance costs and deliver longer lifespans for applications in strategic sectors of the EU economy: coastal and port infrastructures, water treatment plants, offshore wind, geothermal and biomass plants, and aquaculture.
“Penetron crystalline technology presents a unique opportunity to address the fundamental challenges that form the ReSHEALience project,” explains Robert Revera, President and CEO of The Penetron Group. “We look forward to collaborating with the project partners – and show them how many recent Penetron projects have delivered the performance and durability enhancements envisioned by the EU’s scientific community.”