Once again, Lafarge is innovating in concrete and has announced the launching of a new range of insulating ready-mix concretes: Thermedia™. The Group has brought its scientific expertise and associated its know-how with that of Bouygues Construction to develop and test this first new product in France: Thermedia 0.6 B. This concrete, intended for building envelope applications, represents an initial response to the demand for improved energy efficiency in buildings. Indeed, it introduces a new performance feature to concrete in construction systems conforming with the guidelines of the French Grenelle Environment Forum.
Thermedia 0.6 B is the product of four years of research in Lafarge's laboratories and, thanks to the partnership with Bouygues Construction, it has been possible to quickly deploy Thermedia 0.6 B in several social housing sites where the behavior of the material in the structure was observed and analyzed and its efficiency ensured.
Thermedia 0.6 B is made for the French market and meets an environmental and financial requirement. This concrete actively improves construction systems that integrate interior thermal insulation (ITI) by contributing to heat loss reductions through the building's envelope. This now affects 90% of apartment blocks built in France.
Thermedia 0.6 B: a technological feat for concrete with novel properties
Thermedia 0.6 B is a genuine scientific and technological feat. It is the only structural ready-mix concrete today capable of combining strength and lightness, mechanical performances and thermal properties. Thermedia 0.6 B's specific mix design, patented by Lafarge, divides its thermal conductivity by three compared to a standard concrete; this significantly limits heat losses in buildings.
Therefore, in cases of interior thermal insulation, this new concrete reduces the impact between building facades and intermediate floor by 35% in terms of thermal bridges. These results are the fruit of Lafarge's research laboratory that has worked on a novel concrete mix design resulting in a product 40% less dense than a standard concrete.
Thermedia 0.6 B is produced at a batching plant and then cast on-site; it requires no changes of building methods. Its fluidity and very good workability make it a material that is easy to use in traditional construction methods. Its intrinsic properties (mechanical, durability and shrinkage, as well as its fire behavior, acoustics and seismic strength) have already been tested and certified conforming with the NF EN 206-1 standard.
A partnership of skills
The common goal between Lafarge and Bouygues Construction is to innovate to improve energy efficiency in buildings. The French Grenelle Environment Forum and the implementation of more advanced thermal regulations is a current social-economic context that encourages manufacturers to provide solutions promoting energy savings. These two companies joined forces in this common goal and developed Thermedia 0.6 B.
Each partner brought its own skills at each stage of the project:
- Lafarge mobilized a team of approximately 20 researchers to determine the mix design, providing the ideal balance between the thermal and structural requirements, then testing it in the laboratory and validating the properties of the material;
- Bouygues Construction carried out building engineering studies, did the implementation tests, as well as the acceptance tests for all its characteristics.
A few years ago already, the ultra high-performance fiber-reinforced concrete, Ductal®, was launched; the successful outcome of an initial partnership between the two manufacturers.
Concrete: a material with endless properties
Concrete is the second product most consumed in the world. It is a mixture of cement, crushed stone (aggregates) and sand, to which water is added. This material, first designed and developed in the first century BC, has many qualities, notably in terms of strengths, durability, thermal inertia and sound insulation. The techniques and equipment developed over the past twenty years are at the origin of today's scientific comprehension at the nanoscale. This has revealed the high-tech nature of concrete in many respects.
Hence, Lafarge can meet the increasingly complex requirements of its customers by developing concretes with improved aesthetics and easier implementation procedures.
More about Lafarge
Lafarge is the world leader in construction materials and has a leading market position in all its businesses: Cement, Aggregates & Concrete and Gypsum. The Group employs over 84,000 persons in 79 countries; its turnover in 2008 was €19 billion.
In 2009, Lafarge was again on the list of the 100 most committed multinationals to sustainable development, for the fifth consecutive year. Equipped with the first research center for construction materials in the world, innovation is at the heart of Lafarge's business considerations, working for the benefit of sustainable construction and architectural creativity.
More about Bouygues Construction
Bouygues Construction is a world leader with high-ranking market positions in construction, public works and electricity/maintenance. It combines the power of a major group and the reactivity of a network of local businesses to provide their customers with innovating solutions in terms of the production, design, operations, maintenance and financing of structures and infrastructures. Bouygues Construction employs 53,700 persons in 60 countries; its turnover in 2008 was €9.5 billion.