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We Developed a Light Modular Element from Concrete


The team of the Laboratory of Composite Constructions at the University Centre for Energy-Efficient Building of the CTU in cooperation with the Technofiber, s.r.o. company developed a hollow concrete element that is distinguished by lower consumption of material during production and, as a result, by lower weight while retaining the properties that guarantee its high durability and visual quality. Thanks to the possibility of easy adjustment of the element length, the possibilities of its use in design and construction are really wide. As the first practical application, a prototype of concrete pergola was built.

The development of the light-weight hollow bar element with the cross-section of 60 x 120 millimeters was carried out by CTU UCEEB for a leading domestic producer of high-quality woven composite products. The purpose of the research was to find an ideal combination of carbon reinforcement and homogeneous mixture of high-value concrete that would allow for decreasing the consumption of primary sources of raw materials and make the handling during subsequent applications easier. The hollow profile of elements really decreases the consumption of material in production significantly and it also allows for decreasing their weight to about eight kilograms per length meter. Thanks to this, their installation in case of common dimensions of constructions should be possible without using heavy handling machinery.

The end user of the elements can easily adjust their length as needed. This opens a wide selection of possibilities of various applications in design and in construction. “As the first of them, a concrete pergola with overall dimensions of 2.4 x 2.4 m and with the depth of 1.3 m was constructed based on the design of Zuzana Jirkalová who is our designer. Elements of the constructions are connected using metal profiles and shaped welded pieces. They were put together without any problems by two trained employees,” says Tomáš Vlach, leader of the research team.    

Moreover, the quality material makes an impression of massive work and it guarantees high durability of the whole construction. This is its main advantage as compared to wood. Hollow concrete elements (unlike the wooden ones) also allow for hiding the electric supply lines that can be used for example for lighting. As compared to common concrete, the new elements are much lighter and more interesting from the architecture point of view and they also retain their visual quality for much longer.