SmartCrete's University Partners Assist With Improving Concrete Infrastructure

03rd March 2022

SmartCrete CRC, in partnership with Macquarie University, Western Sydney University and Swinburne University of Technology, has announced funding for two projects that will allow research into improving productivity in concrete infrastructure. SmartCrete CRC says this funding will focus on areas such as "engineered solutions, asset management and sustainability which are core themes that we have identified to address problems faced by the concrete sector," they said. 

The first of the two funded projects concerns the use of recycled materials found in latex paint to produce polymer-modified concrete. SmartCrete CRC's partner, Paintback Limited is leading this initiative with Dr Salwan Al-Assafi leading operations. Dr Al-Addafi and his team endeavour to "reduce cost by converting unused paint into a viable product with environmental and economic benefits," they said. 

The other half of the team working on this project originates from some of Australia's top universities. Dr Shima Taheri, Associate Professor Sorn Vimonsatit and Professor Simon Clark, from Macquarie University’s School of Engineering, in collaboration with Western Sydney University and Swinburne University of Technology are also working alongside SmartCrete and Paintback Limited.

This group effort has its sites set on supporting the Circular Economy. Professor Clark has said, “This regenerative project will contribute significantly to the circular economy, through the repurposing of waste product into a value supply stream for the building industry,” he said. “By utilising unwanted latex paint in this manner and converting it into an effective concrete solution will see a reduction in raw material costs, boasting both a strong economic and environmental benefit for the wider industry,” he continued.  

The second project is to be led by Dr Heriberto Bustamante of Sydney Water and includes SmartCrete CRC's industry partner Melbourne Water. "This project will research the development of a photonic sensor integrator to monitor and examine the health of concrete sewer pipes," SmartCrete CRC said. Also leading this project, Dr Martin Ams and Professor Michael Withford of Macquarie University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy, will assist in the reduction of maintenance costs and minimise disruption to local communities, to extend the life of concrete sewer structures. SmartCrete CRC says they are delighted to partner with these universities on these key projects and is excited to see the benefits it will provide in its application to concrete infrastructure.