Testing concrete strength onsite
Indiana’s Purdue University’s concrete sensors target faster build times.
Purdue University engineers have developed sensors that could safely speed up a construction timeline by determining concrete strength directly on site in real time.
Typically, concrete mix designs require testing before implementation in a construction project. Once those mixes have been vetted for use, the mix design cannot be altered without additional offsite testing. The new technology would remove the need for extensive offsite testing by allowing construction contractors to verify the concrete’s maturity on site.
“Our sensors could help make better data-driven decisions to determine the construction schedule and improve the quality of concrete construction,” said Luna Lu, Purdue’s American Concrete Pavement Association professor of civil engineering, in a news release.
Lu and her research team also are testing the sensors in highways across Indiana as part of an effort to better determine when concrete is ready to take on heavy truck traffic.
“We’re trying to work with contractors to find out how much saving we can do for them in terms of time, cost and the number of people needed at a site, which reduces risk and improves construction safety,” Lu said. “That starts with industry collaborations to evaluate how well the sensors work.”
Over the last decade, general contractors have used traditional sensors to make reliable and accurate estimates of concrete strength and maturity. But before pouring the concrete, the method requires a monthlong process of testing the concrete mix design in the lab. A line graph is generated to note the strength of the mix design based on specific temperatures over time.