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    Martian Concrete How to Make Concrete on Mars!

    March 12th, 2019 Posted by Blog, Insights 0 thoughts on “Martian Concrete How to Make Concrete on Mars!”

    In order to colonise Mars, buildings will be needed and these will obviously need to be constructed from the planet’s own resources.

    What are the issues and how will this be done?

    The first issue is the apparent lack of water on Mars!

    Can Martian concrete be formed without using water?

    But Mars is a sulphur rich planet!

    NASA Mars Rover Churns Up Questions with Sulphur-Rich Soil

    Some bright Martian soil containing lots of sulfur and a trace of water intrigues researchers who are studying information provided by NASA’s Spirit rover. 

    “This material could have been left behind by water that dissolved these minerals underground, then came to the surface and evaporated, or it could be a volcanic deposit formed around ancient gas vents,” said Dr. Ray Arvidson of Washington University, St. Louis. He is the deputy principal investigator for NASA’s twin Mars rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. 

    Determining which of those two hypotheses is correct would strengthen understanding of the environmental history of the Columbia Hills region that Spirit has been exploring since a few months after landing on Mars in January 2004. However, investigating the bright soil presents a challenge for the rover team, because the loose material could entrap the rover. 

    Image right: While driving eastward toward the northwestern flank of “McCool Hill,” the wheels of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Spirit churned up the largest amount of bright soil discovered so far in the mission. This image, taken on the rover’s 788th Martian day, or sol, of exploration (March 22, 2006), shows the strikingly bright tone and large extent of the materials uncovered. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell

    The bright white and yellow material was hidden under a layer of normal-looking soil until Spirit’s wheels churned it up while the rover was struggling to cross a patch of unexpectedly soft soil nearly a year ago. The right front wheel had stopped working a week earlier. Controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., were trying to maneuver the rover backwards, dragging that wheel, to the north slope of a hill in order to spend the southern-hemisphere winter with solar panels tilted toward the sun. 

    Due to the difficulty crossing that patch, informally named “Tyrone,” the team chose to drive Spirit to a smaller but more accessible slope for the winter. Spirit stayed put in its winter haven for nearly seven months. Tyrone was one of several targets Spirit examined from a distance during that period, using an infrared spectrometer to check their composition. The instrument detected small amounts of water bound to minerals in the soil. 

    The rover resumed driving in late 2006 when the Martian season brought sufficient daily sunshine to the solar panels. Some of the bright soil from Tyrone was dragged to the winter site by the right front wheel, and Spirit spent some time measuring the composition and mineralogy of these materials. The material is sulfur-rich and consists of sulfate salts associated with iron, and likely calcium. “These salts could have been concentrated by hydrothermal liquid or vapor moving through the local rocks,” said rover science team member Dr. Albert Yen, a geochemist at JPL. Two other patches of bright soil uncovered by Spirit before Tyrone were also sulfur-rich, but each had similarities to local rock compositions that were different at the three sites, suggesting localized origins. 

    Researchers will watch for more patches of bright soil. “If we find them along fractures, that would suggest they were deposited at ancient gas vents,” Arvidson said. “If they are at the saddles between hills, that would suggest the deposits formed where groundwater came to the surface.” 

    Above article was originally published in NASA.gov

    Is that the solution?

    Sulphur can be heated so that it becomes liquid. If the sulphur liquid is added to the Martian soil/aggregate (consisting of silicon dioxide, aluminum oxide, iron oxide, titanium dioxide) and allowed to cool the sulphur will solidify and bind to the Martian soil/aggregate to create Martian concrete.

    But can it be made durable enough to be useful on Mars?

    Research has found that a 50:50 mix of sulphur and soil with maximum aggregate size of 1mm will produce concrete with a compressive strength of above 50MPa. The Martian atmospheric and temperature range are adequate for hosting sulphur concrete structures.

    An interesting side light is that Martin concrete can be reheated until the sulphur melts and is infinitely re-useable and infinitely repairable.


    (Ref  A Novel Material for In Situ Construction on Mars: Experiments and Numerical Simulations Lin Wan, R Wendner, G. Cusatis and associates at Northwestern University, U.S.A.)

    FCS Anti-Graffiti Solutions

    June 5th, 2018 Posted by Blog, Epoxy Coating, Insights 0 thoughts on “FCS Anti-Graffiti Solutions”



    Our local Council for the City of Ryde have recently acknowledged the problem of Graffiti Management:

    “Graffiti is a problem everywhere, and the City of Ryde is no exception. This anti-social pastime defaces both public and private property. In NSW, any graffiti on public or private property is a criminal offence unless permission is given by the owner. It is punishable by imprisonment, community service orders or fines of up to $2,200.”

    FCS Concrete Repairs now have the latest solution to the problem!

    FCS Concrete Repairs have rights to a very newly developed coating which enables Graffiti to be easily removed from its surface using a fully biodegradable product.

    The anti-graffiti coating is coloured or clear and can be applied to all surfaces including paint and most other coatings, timber, concrete, brickwork, manufactured surfaces and claddings, and natural materials such as sandstone, granite, marble etc.

    The clear version maintains the appearance of the existing surface, seals and provides protection and enables Graffiti to be completely removed without damage to the surface when any Graffiti attacks are reported.

    FCS Concrete Repairs provide the FULL SOLUTION from coating application to general maintenance and Graffiti removal.

    This is a great development for FCS Concrete Repairs and for the Community, and complements our current range of services in concrete repairs, protective coatings, crack injection and structural strengthening.

    De-icing Concrete: the world’s first bridge to incorporate conductive concrete

    October 3rd, 2017 Posted by Blog, Insights 0 thoughts on “De-icing Concrete: the world’s first bridge to incorporate conductive concrete”

    A unique bridge that resides about 15 miles south of Lincoln has given Tuan reason to feel confident. In 2002, Tuan and the Nebraska Department of Roads made the 150-foot Roca Spur Bridge the world’s first to incorporate conductive concrete. Inlaid with 52 conductive slabs that successfully de-iced its surface during a five-year trial run, the bridge exemplifies the sort of targeted site that Tuan envisions for the technology.

    The concrete mix’s designer, UNL professor of civil engineering Chris Tuan, has added a pinch of steel shavings and a dash of carbon particles to a recipe that has literally been set in concrete for centuries. Though the newest ingredients constitute just 20 percent of Tuan’s otherwise standard concrete mixture, they conduct enough electricity to melt ice and snow in the worst winter storms while remaining safe to the touch.

    By replacing the limestone and sand typically used in concrete with a mineral called magnetite, Tuan has shown that the mixture can also shield against electromagnetic waves. Cell phones are unable to receive service for example and the conductive concrete may be useful in shielding against espionage.

    University of Nebraska-Lincoln
    Nebraska Today
    By Scott Schrage
    University Communication

    For morinformation visit news.unl.edu

    Maintenance of Concrete Expansion Joints

    June 23rd, 2017 Posted by Insights, Joint Sealing, Projects 0 thoughts on “Maintenance of Concrete Expansion Joints”

    FCS Concrete Repairs are fully resourced to provide maintenance and repair services for concrete Expansion Joints in commercial, industrial and residential properties.

    Expansion Joints in carparks and hardstand areas can also be repaired through permeation grouting of the sub-base to fill voids and polyurethane injection to lift the slab back to level where there is a step in the joint due to subsidence or washout. This process can avoid extremely costly and disruptive demolition and replacement of the concrete slab.

    FCS Concrete Repairs are experts in the field of concrete repair and are approved contractors for the major suppliers of joint sealants and joint repair products.

    You can rely on FCS Concrete Repairs, as we are Quality Accredited under the International Standard ISO 9001: 2015 to carryout quality workmanship with full backup services, if required.

    Expansion Joint Re-sealing

    Expansion Joints in concrete floors and walls control movement and over time the joint sealant can deteriorate. The sealant can be removed and replaced to ensure that the joint is waterproof and performs as required.

    Expansion Joint Reinstatement

    Expansion joints require that the facing edges of the adjoining concrete slabs are sound so that the flexible joint sealant forms a strong bond between the concrete slab or wall elements. Industrial floors, which may be on ground or suspended, require regular maintenance as they are vulnerable to impact damage from mobile plant including forklifts which are often hard-wheeled. Broken and crumbling edges along an expansion joints is an indication of future extensive and costly damage.

    Where considerable damage has occurred it may be necessary to carry out more extensive repair including concrete saw cutting and edge reinstatement. Regular inspection is a cost saving option to ensure that the jointing material is still performing and protecting the concrete joint edge faces. Heavy duty repair mortars may be required to re-construct the joint and these can be fast drying/curing to minimise downtime. FCS Concrete Repairs can provide professional advice in this regard.

    Widening Expansion Joints

    Expansion Joints may widen over time due to slab movement and damage.

    Narrow expansion joints can provide a smoother transition across the joint and minimise future damage. FCS Concrete Repairs can re-form wide expansion joints cost effectively to reduce the gap and the impact over widening joints.

    Airbus A350 XWB vs Boeing 787 Dreamliner

    February 15th, 2017 Posted by Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer, Insights 0 thoughts on “Airbus A350 XWB vs Boeing 787 Dreamliner”

    The Question: Which aircraft has the highest weight ratio for CFRP?

    The Airbus A350 XWB is built of 52% Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer (CFRP) including wing spars and fuselage components, overtaking the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, for the aircraft with the highest weight ratio for CFRP, which was held at 50%.

    This was one of the first commercial aircraft to have the wing spars made from composites.

    All Nippon Airways Boeing 787-8 Dreamliner JA801A OKJ in flight

    The Airbus A380 was one of the first commercial airliner to have a central wing box made of CFRP; it is the first to have a smoothly contoured wing cross section instead of the wings being partitioned span-wise into sections. This flowing, continuous cross section optimises aerodynamic efficiency. Moreover, the trailing edge along with the rear bulkhead, empennage and un-pressurized fuselage are made of CFRP.

    Specialist aircraft designer and manufacturer Scaled Composites have made extensive use of CFRP throughout their design range including the first private manned spacecraft Spaceship One. CFRP is widely used in micro air vehicles (MAVs) because of its high strength to weight ratio.

    SpaceX is using carbon fibre for the entire primary structure of their new super heavy-lift launch vehicle, the ITS launch vehicle—as well as the two very large spacecraft that will be launched by it, the Interplanetary Spaceship and the ITS tanker. This is a particular challenge for the large liquid oxygen tank structure due to design challenges of such dense carbon/oxygen contact for long periods of time.

    Ultralight aircraft (see SSDR) such as the E-Go, rely heavily on CFRP in order to meet the category weight compliance requirement of less than 115 kg (254 lb) without pilot or fuel.

    In civil engineering Retrofitting has become the increasingly dominant use of the material, and applications include increasing the load capacity of old structures (such as bridges) that were designed to tolerate far lower service loads than they are experiencing today, seismic retrofitting, and repair of damaged structures. Retrofitting is popular in many instances as the cost of replacing the deficient structure can greatly exceed its strengthening using CFRP.

    Applied to reinforced concrete structures for flexure, CFRP typically has a large impact on strength (doubling or more the strength of the section is not uncommon), but only a moderate increase in stiffness (perhaps a 10% increase). This is because the material used in this application is typically very strong (e.g., 3000 MPa ultimate tensile strength, more than 10 times mild steel) but not particularly stiff (150 to 250 GPa, a little less than steel, is typical). As a consequence, only small cross-sectional areas of the material are used. Small areas of very high strength but moderate stiffness material will significantly increase strength, but not stiffness.

    CFRP can also be applied to enhance shear strength of reinforced concrete by wrapping fabrics or fibers around the section to be strengthened. Wrapping around sections (such as bridge or building columns) can also enhance the ductility of the section, greatly increasing the resistance to collapse under earthquake loading. Such ‘seismic retrofit’ is the major application in earthquake-prone areas, since it is much more economic than alternative methods.

    CFRP is now widely used in sports equipment such as in squash, tennis and badminton racquets, sport kite spars, high quality arrow shafts, hockey sticks, fishing rods, surfboards and rowing shells. Amputee athletes such as Oscar Pistorius use carbon fiber blades for running. It is used as a shank plate in some basketball sneakers to keep the foot stable, usually running the length of the shoe just above the sole and left exposed in some areas, usually in the arch.
    Controversially, in 2006, cricket bats with a thin carbon-fiber layer on the back were introduced and used in competitive matches by high-profile players including Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey. The carbon fiber was claimed merely to increase the durability of the bats but was banned from all first-class matches by the ICC in 2007.

    Source: Carbon Fiber Reinforced in Wikipedia
    The Question: Replace or Repair Australia’s Ageing Infrastructure?

    The Question: Replace or Repair Australia’s Ageing Infrastructure?

    January 17th, 2017 Posted by Insights 0 thoughts on “The Question: Replace or Repair Australia’s Ageing Infrastructure?”

    Many of Australia’s bridges, sewage and water systems, and other infrastructure are reaching the end of their serviceable lives and the choice for government is whether to replace or extend their lives. It has been reported that this applies to over 600 bridges in New South Wales alone (in the U.S.A. more than 60,000 steel bridges are structurally deficient) and our sewage system requires large sums of money to replace or carryout essential repairs. This is a worldwide problem and fortunately there are new materials and modern processes which can provide the answers.
    Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer materials are a prime example of these new materials.
    Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer materials can be used to strengthen structures and extend the useful life of both steel and reinforced concrete bridges and other infrastructure. Examples are:

    The recent successful repair of the historic Münchenstein Bridge which crosses the Birs river in Switzerland where two girders, the most critical elements against fatigue on the 45.2 metre steel bridge, were strengthened using carbon fibre reinforced polymer materials.

    Another example is the Arlington Memorial Bridge between Washington and Virginia where the original structural beams built in 1932 are crumbling and are to be repaired using Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer materials.

    Melbourne’s West Gate Bridge widening was made possible by cost effectively using Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer materials.

    Carbon Fibre Reinforced Polymer materials can be used successfully to repair and strengthen structural elements in buildings as well.

    Carbon fibres have a very high tensile strength and tensile elasticity similar to steel but the great advantage is the high strength to weight ratio. This makes carbon fibres potentially and practically a large cost saving material for both government and the private sectors alike.
    FCS Concrete Repairs are experienced in the use of Carbo Fibre Reinforced Polymer materials.

    The self-healing concrete that can fix its own cracks

    January 15th, 2017 Posted by Insights 0 thoughts on “The self-healing concrete that can fix its own cracks”

    The green technology embeds self-activating bacteria into concrete to make it self-healing, but will it win over a risk-averse construction industry?

    Hendrik Jonkers, a microbiologist at Delft University and a finalist at the recent 10th annual European Inventor Awards, has a plan to increase the lifespan of concrete. His innovation, which embeds self-activating limestone-producing bacteria into building material, is designed to decrease the amount of new concrete produced and lower maintenance and repair costs for city officials, building owners and homeowners.

    self healing concrete

    Jonkers’ self-healing concrete marries two fields: civil engineering and marine biology.

    “One of my colleagues, a civil engineer with no knowledge of microbiology, read about applying limestone-producing bacteria to monuments [to preserve them],” Jonkers said. “He asked me: ‘Is it possible for buildings?’ Then my task was to find the right bacteria that could not only survive being mixed into concrete, but also actively start a self-healing process.”

    When it comes to Jonkers’ concrete, water is both the problem and the catalyst that activates the solution. Bacteria (Bacillus pseudofirmus or Sporosarcina pasteurii) are mixed and distributed evenly throughout the concrete, but can lie dormant for up to 200 years as long as there is food in the form of particles. It is only with the arrival of concrete’s nemesis itself – rainwater or atmospheric moisture seeping into cracks – that the bacteria starts to produce the limestone that eventually repairs the cracks. It’s a similar process to that carried out by osteoplast cells in our body which make bones.

    The invention comes in three forms: a spray that can be applied to existing construction for small cracks that need repairing, a repair mortar for structural repair of large damage and self-healing concrete itself, which can be mixed in quantities as needed. While the spray is commercially available, the latter two are currently in field tests. One application that Jonkers predicts will be widely useful for urban planners is highway infrastructure, where the use of de-icing salts is notoriously detrimental to concrete-paved roads.

    Encouraging as it sounds, Jonkers’ self-healing concrete can’t cure very wide cracks or potholes on roads just yet; the technology is currently able to mend cracks up to 0.8mm wide.

    More Reading: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/05/14/tech/bioconc


    Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXkW1q9HpFA

    Geopolymers can be described as “Materials for this Century”

    June 9th, 2016 Posted by Insights 0 thoughts on “Geopolymers can be described as “Materials for this Century””

    Geopolymers are finding application in many industries including automobile, aviation, civil engineering, concrete manufacture, building and repairing, ground stabilisation and many others. An interesting example in civil engineering is the Toowoomba, Brisbane West Wellcamp Airport, the greenest airport in the world, where 100,000 tonnes of Geopolymer concrete was used for taxiways, hangars, aprons, turning node, culverts, barriers, road works, sewer tanks, bridge, and panels for the terminal building. Watch this video produced for the Geopolymer Institute in 2015. Geopolymers are now well proven in many fields and applications, and are the building material of the future.

    Geopolymer cements and concretes for building and repairing infrastructure have very high early strength, their setting times can be entirely controlled, and they remain intact for a very long time without the need for repair.

    With Geopolymer foams substrates can be strengthened, voids can be filled, slabs can be lifted/jacked, and joints can be stabilised with a minimal of disruption to or loss of production.

    FCS Concrete Repairs are experienced in the use of such materials.

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