Lafarge's innovation in concrete
A Business Correspondent
Lafarge has inaugurated a new technological building
dedicated to innovation in concrete at its research centre in L'Isle d'Abeau,
near Lyons, France, the world's largest building materials research facility.
With floor space of 2500mē and a ceiling 12m in height, the building houses an
experimental concrete plant where laboratory research results will be tested in
real time on an industrial scale. It also houses specific testing zones where
materials can be tested and manipulated. This new research facility will
therefore enable testing of formulas or experimental plans on an industrial
scale while controlling external factors such as temperature or hygrometry. This
will considerably speed up time to market for innovative products and solutions
for construction industry.
The floor was laid using Extensia, a concrete with exceptional properties
launched earlier this year, itself the result of research carried out at the
L'Isle d'Abeau research centre. Whereas before, it was not possible to pour
slabs over 25mē without joints, Extensia makes it possible to pour 400mē
surfaces without joints, a real technological breakthrough for the industry.
What is more, its exceptional resistance allows a reduction in slab thickness,
means that there is no need for steel mesh or fibres, and reduces maintenance
requirements. The product therefore has a reduced ecological footprint, in
particular through a significant reduction in the CO2 emissions usually
associated with pouring a large floor surface.
Outside the building, an additional 1500mē are set aside for product trials of
greater dimensions and for storage of raw materials.
"This new building will allow us to accelerate in our strategy for innovation in
concrete and maintain our lead in designing value-creating products and
solutions for sustainable construction," said Bruno Lafont, Chairman and CEO,
Lafarge, the world leader in building materials "It will enable our research
teams to go further still in creating new technologies that bring value for our
customers and the Group."
[08 October 2007]