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University of Michigan Develops Stronger Concrete
Non-proprietary Formula for "Ultra-High Performance Concrete"


By using sands instead of gravel, and adding steel fibers, researchers from the University of Michigan have increased the density and strength of concrete to withstand more than 22,000 psi.

A team of researchers from the engineering department at the University of Michigan is developing a formula for ultra-high performance concrete.

The researchers say the concrete can withstand loads of 22,000 psi or higher. Regular concrete can withstand approximately 4,000 psi, or about the weight of two cars per square inch.

The main difference is that the ultra-high performance concrete removes gravel from the formula and replaces it with different types of sand. The particle sizes are carefully selected to create a densely packed concrete, which is also reinforced with steel fibers for strength.

The higher density leads to fewer voids in the concrete, which means fewer opportunities for water to penetrate and damage the concrete during the freeze-thaw cycle.

The researchers are making their formula available for free to reduce the cost of using the concrete, similar to using a generic painkiller versus a name-brand one. Name-brand, ultra-high performance concretes can run up to $4,000 per cubic yard; the non-proprietary blend being developed by the University of Michigan would cost about $659 per cubic yard. Regular concrete costs about $100 per cubic yard, but the researchers say the durability and lack of necessary maintenance make up for the price difference.

The new formula has already been used to reinforce a bridge in St. Clair County, Michigan.

Read the report produced by the university for the Michigan Department of Transportation, who funded the research, at

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December 14, 2019, 8:40 am PDT

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