Program Summary

SmartCrete CRC is the pivot point for the facilitation of research for the concrete supply chain. It provides contacts, connections and funding for successful research projects to address the various issues and challenges for concrete, especially in its application in infrastructure.

Research Program and Change Enablers

The SmartCrete CRC Research Program core themes were developed through a series of industry partner workshops that identified three industry problem areas.

Program Themes

  • Program 1 – Engineered Solutions
  • Program 2 – Asset Management
  • Program 3 – Sustainability

Program 1: Engineering Solutions

This program is concerned with improving the way we engineer concrete structures and includes development of smart cladding, reduced noise pavements, 3D printed concrete structures, lightweight concretes and safety in design.

Accelerated standards development for innovation

  • Project 1 – Accelerated innovation pathways for concrete via an integrated Australian Standards methodology to facilitate industry innovation

New materials for concrete durability

  • Project 2 – Project Smart concrete with self-healing abilities
  • Project 3 – Corrosion resistant concrete
  • Project 4 – Mechanical and fire-resistant concrete F RP/FRC
  • Project 5 – Development of lightweight green concrete for structural insulated panels
  • Project 6 – Concrete corrosion and marine life

Construction and maintenance processes

  • Project 7 – Development of advanced self-compacting slabs to support new construction methodologies and off-site manufacturing
  • Project 8 – Improved pavement design
  • Project 9 – Lightweight concretes and cladding
  • Project 10 – 3D printing of structures and claddings
  • Project 11 – Design optimisation and new methodologies to improve in situ concrete performance
  • Project 12 – Step change improvements in high-performance concrete to enable new construction methodologies and lower costs

Program 2: Asset Management

This program is concerned with the way we manage our concrete assets and includes development of sensing systems to monitor structural health and usage and inform lifetime models.

Sensor solution modelling

  • Project 1 – Problem analysis and development of evaluation criteria for site testing
  • Project 2 – Asset analysis and economic modelling

New sensor system development

  • Project 3 – Sensors development e.g. contact sensors, photonic sensors etc.
  • Project 4 – Sensor delivery and deployment
  • Project 5 – Reduced cost through new infrastructure and volume scaling
  • Project 6 – Smart sensor technology for structural health monitoring of key infrastructure

Lifetime predictive modelling & human integration

  • Project 7 – Integrated systems and processes to enable substantial disruptive productivity improvements
  • Project 8 – Standardised predictive modelling of asset life-cycle
  • Project 9 – An integrated engineer friendly software package for condition monitoring & asset management of transport infrastructure

Asset management application area

Project 10 – Embedded sensing and condition monitoring of infrastructure health
Project 11 – Automated compliance quality monitoring on-site of precast elements
Project 12 – Demonstration and prototyping of SmartCrete productions in a Living Laboratory

Program 3: Sustainability, Environmental & Disposal

Sustainability includes the development of self-healing, fire resistance, stronger and more durable concrete. Environmental includes bio-concrete, use of artificial aggregate, CO2 absorbing concrete, luminescent concrete, energy producing concrete, material availability, waste disposal in concrete and cement less concrete. Disposal includes recycling and reuse.

Circular Economy

  • Project 1 – Incorporation of Industrial waste in concrete. (e.g. rubber, ash, slag)
  • Project 2 – Incorporation of domestic waste in concrete (e.g. plastic, glass, wood, metal)
  • Project 3 – Development of new methods of Ash production
  • Project 4 – Development of biomass as an artificial aggregate
  • Project 5 – Recycling and reuse of concrete
  • Project 6 – Market identification, development and market structure of recycled products
  • Project 7 – Circular economy evaluation and assessment with a focus on material choice

Specification for new improved performance materials

  • Project 8 – Value added formulations e.g. energy producing concrete
  • Project 9 – Accelerated adoption of recycled concrete via the development of concrete formulations for low performance environments Supply du a
  • Project 10 – Development of viable alternative materials based on quality, cost, effectiveness, process engineering and sustainable supply
  • Project 11 – Optimising use of recycled aggregates in concrete production and application
  • Project 12 – Optimising supply chain e.g. reducing supply transport and site costs
  • Project 13 – Regulatory standards to mitigate emissions from road transport of SmartCrete

Supply chain quantification

  • Project 14 – Financial modelling and guaranteeing the supply chain
  • Project 15 – The geopolitical context for alliance in concrete materials to produce SmartCrete within sustainable development principles
  • Project 16 – Framework for economic evaluation of new innovations
  • Project 17 – Commercialisation: new product development: lab to market

Reduction of carbon footprint

  • Project 18 – Development of high-performance green concrete
  • Project 19 – Al-enable techniques to predict and reduce carbon footprint

Enablers of Success

One of the critical observations during the workshops was that many new ideas created through academic and industry research over the years had failed because they failed to address four enablers of success in the market.

These four enablers are fundamental to the timely adoption of innovation in the market and are mandatory considerations in all SmartCrete CRC project submissions. While not all of the enablers will apply to all projects, a sound rationale for their adoption or otherwise is required for all projects.

Four Change Enablers

  • Australian Standards
  • Skills & Capability Development (Training)
  • Economic & Risk Modelling
  • Product & Industry Improvement (Product Development)

The expectation is that Australian Standards, Training development, Cost / benefit analysis and product development will be completed in parallel to facilitate rapid delivery of industry benefits from the research programs.

Important Dates – 2022