Saturday, October 20, 2007

Accelerating innovation in concrete: Lafarge inaugurates a unique new research facility

Lafarge inaugurating a new technological building dedicated to innovation in concrete at its research center in L’Isle d’Abeau, near Lyons, the world’s largest building materials research facility. The creation of this unique facility demonstrates Lafarge’s drive to accelerate the implementation of its strategy for innovation in concrete, a major strategic focus of its "Excellence 2008" plan.

With floor space of 2500m² 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 the 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 center. Whereas before, it was not possible to pour slabs over 25m² without joints, Extensia™ makes it possible to pour 400m² 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 fibers, 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.

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