Less crashes possible with new concrete

Posted By: Sarah Fili


It’s a new concrete mix and the ingredients could change the way roads are made.

A revolutionary new concrete mix is aiming to make streets safer for drivers.

It’s self de-icing.

"It’s used to heat up the concrete and the main use is to melt the ice,” Christopher Tuan, Professor of Civil Engineering, said.

The project has been more than 15 years in the making.

Now, Tuan is making it a reality. So, how does it work? The mix has four ingredients that make it different. Carbon, two different sizes of steel fibers, and steel filings- a runoff from machinery. Those additions mean the mix conducts electricity.

"And because of the electrical resistance when you connect the concrete to a power source, it heats up!" Tuan said.

It’s made for areas where slick roads make travel difficult, like busy intersections, steep hills and interstates. But where does all the melted snow go?

"You know its coming so you turn the power on, when the snow or ice hits the concrete it melts right away and can drain it right away so you don’t have a running water issue,” Tuan said.

So why haven’t cities used it? Well, its nearly double the cost of regular concrete. Tuan says it saves money in the long run this concrete could last upwards of 20-30 years.

"You have to use road salt, deicing chemicals and that will degrade your concrete so maybe 3 to 5 years later you have to replace your concrete,” he said.

Tuan says the Nebraska Department of Roads is interested in the mix, possibly using it for bridges.

If you want to, you could have the concrete installed at your home or business- it plugs into a regular outlet. Contact Christopher Tuan to find out how.