The Future of Concrete is Changing for the First Time
The Capitol Building in the United States, St. Paul's Cathedral in England, and the Pantheon in Rome are just a few of the most famous structures in the world designed with a dome concrete shape. While the end result for each is an articulate concrete pattern, it was a strenuous process to achieve. Since the prior methods took a lot of time to curate, it led to researchers at TU Wien University discovering a method that could speed up the process significantly.
Current construction practices involve the use of wooden frames and wires to support the concrete while it curates. While this is efficient for vertical buildings, it is not ideal for domed ones. That is because once concrete is hardened it can't withstand flexion or altercations which makes it increasingly difficult to mould unless it is set in a precast block. So while curved concrete shells are currently being produced in this fashion, it is a process that requires a lot of resources and planning.
Individuals at Tu Wien University noticed that the current construction process (as shown above) is not efficient for domed structures which is why they spent time researching and developing a method to inflate already hardened concrete into curved domes.
The process they came up with is called "Pneumatic Forming of Hardened Concrete (PFHC). What they propose is placing a cushion underneath and supporting it with post-tensioning tendons to transform a flat concrete slab into a curved concrete shell. With this new method it will be much easier to use dome structures in multiple applications. It is why the company has already received a lot of interest from various companies like the Austrian Federal Railways (IEBB-Infrastruktur AG).
While the technology is patented,other scientists have invented a new type of bendable concrete called ConFlexPave. The material is not only stronger, but also more flexible, longer lasting than regular concrete, and less labour-intensive.
With a faster process to create domes it will make it easier to achieve the buildings in various capacities such as wildlife overpasses, or overpasses for various transportation methods.