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Path-breaking ‘conductive concrete’ invented by AUS scientists will be used to construct a fortified building at Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park

Al Mahmoudi: We are working to transfer knowledge in the field of protecting buildings against electromagnetic threats

 

Sharjah 21February 2022 – The world’s first building to be constructed using a path-breaking material called conductive concrete will come up at the Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation (SRTI) Park, following a 14-year research by a team from the College of Engineering at the American University of Sharjah (AUS).

This was announced by the AUS College of Engineering team in partnership with the SRTI Park, marking the first step in taking the new technology to the stage of practical application, with the materials being tested on the land of the SRTI Park.

The AUS research team led by Professor Sherif Yehia from Civil Engineering and Professor Nasser Qaddoumi from Electrical Engineering has stressed the importance of this innovation in protecting the infrastructure of cities and public properties for long periods of time.

Professor Qaddoumi said: “Conductive concrete can be the most effective solution for protecting critical civilian and military infrastructures (such as data centers, power stations, security centers, etc.) against electromagnetic threats ranging from cosmic rays to electromagnetic pulses”.

The proposed construction of the new building represents collaboration between the government, private and academic sectors on the Park’s land, with Alec Contracting Company executing the work.

During this process, research students from the College of Engineering at AUS will be trained in this technology for developing it further and demonstrate its applications in the Gulf region.

Professor Yehia said: “After 14 years of research, testing and verification of specifications, we have now reached the stage of experimentation and practical application by constructing a building with this new mix of cement, which is an improved type of concrete by adding certain materials in specific proportions. The new components are added to help us employ them in new projects for making them immune to threats from electromagnetic and electronic waves and potential solar storms”.

 

The resultant mixture has proved to be highly effective in protecting structures from electromagnetic radiation and pulses with excellent mechanical properties. This further motivated the team to study the feasibility of using this mixture to produce electrically conductive precast concrete units. These precast and rated units will be used to build sheltered facilities. Design and construction guidelines for future projects and implementation will also be developed.

Hussain Al Mahmoudi, Executive Director of the SRTI Park, expressed his satisfaction over this major achievement of the American University of Sharjah in the field of conductive concrete which has huge potential in diverse applications.

Al Mahmoudi said: “This is a translation of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, for transferring knowledge, supporting and promoting innovation, and encouraging research ideas that can be converted into tangible products. SRTI Park’s role is to find the appropriate mechanisms to apply these research and turn them into investments, as well as bring specialized research from all over the world.”

“This is in line with our efforts to create a proactive and supportive environment for experiments and research in future building technologies, by conducting further experiments to develop some modern building technologies, including fortified buildings. The project represents an example to the region and the world of how to create a smart research, technology and innovation park for the benefit of institutions, educational and research centers and the local economy,” Al Mahmoudi added.

An expected outcome of the project will be the creation of novel concrete materials that will help the growth of the construction industry and contribute to EMP (electromagnetic pulses) protection of the electric grids, generators, and buildings with sensitive equipment and information. In addition, collaboration with precast and ready-mix producers will ensure transfer the knowledge to the construction industry.

The key advantages of conductive concrete are: shielding against EMP without the need for any special additions, improved mechanical properties, relatively lower costs compared to other shielding techniques and ability to be produced as precast units.

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