The main goal of the project ReSHEALience is to develop an Ultra High Durability Concrete (UHDC) and a Durability Assessment-based Design (DAD) methodology for structures, to improve durability and predict their long-term performance under Extremely Aggressive Exposures (EAE: XS-chloride induced corrosion, XA-chemical attack).

The improvement will be supported upgrading Ultra High Performance Fiber Reinforced Concrete with new functionalities. Focus will be on marine structures and infrastructures for geothermal/biomass energy plants, whose severe conditions challenge the performance, lead to quick deterioration and shorten the lifespan, resulting in billions Euro spent each year in repairs.

This goal will be achieved through the following activities (variations compared to current high performance reinforced concrete).

  • Tailoring UHDC to target a 100% enhancement in material durability.
  • Upgrading experimental methods to validating durability properties of UHDCs in service conditions (cracked state) and validate an enhancement of at least a 30%.
  • Developing a theoretical model to evaluate ageing and degradation of UHDC structures in EAE with a 75% of accuracy, extending the modelling to predict the lifespan.
  • Proposing new design concepts DAD, for the use of UHDC and assessing the structures durability and Life Cycle Analysis with a 95% confidence level, to achieve an increase service life of 30%, and a long-term reduction of maintenance costs by at least 50%.
  • Proving, through long-term monitoring in six full-scale proofs-of concept that UHDC in real conditions has the expected enhancement of 30% in durability for both: repaired and new elements.
  • Developing a Business Plan per industrial partner analyzing the market niches and sectors where the developments will be exploited.

The competence garnered by all the partners will put them in the forefront of the civil engineering field in order to provide sustainable solutions for the most challenging needs of our society.

Work Packages

Here below follows a short description of the different work packages of the ReSHEALience project:

WP1: Ethics (Leader: PoliMi).

WP2: Project management (Leader: PoliMi). Organization of the project activities and task assignment; innovation management, quality and data management; standardization management.

WP3: Rethinking structures in XS/XA (Leader: CMW). Definition of the coastal/offshore structures of interests and infrastructures for green energy plants, and revision of the current design practice. Classification of ageing and degradation phenomena; definition of requirements to justify economical investment in repair and maintenance, providing target KPI values for the specific UHDC that will be defined in WP3 (e.g. corrosion/chemical degradation rate to be reached with the developed UHDC). The DAD process will start with the definition of the end-user requirements, taking into account the real EAE. New structural design concepts will be defined, exploiting the signature UHDC functionalities and enhanced properties, to assess and achieve better durability and longer lifetime. The same level of structural performance will be guaranteed, even with reduced material volumes and structural dimensions thanks to the superior mechanical performance and increased structural efficiency of the material.

WP4: Concept and development of UHDC (Leader: UPV). Formulation of UHDC for new and retrofitting applications: use of nano- to micro-scale constituents to promote matrix and interface densification, study of the grading of cement and of nano-additions, development of functionalization, including the improvement of autogenous healing by crystalline admixtures, SAP, nano-cellulose, and evaluation of their effects on durability (feedback from WP4). Recycling UHDC.

WP5: Quantification of UHDC improved long-term durability performance (Leader: CSIC). Experimental evaluation and theoretical understanding of the factors that affect durability of UHDC, with reference to corrosion and chemical attack, degradation and ageing in un-cracked and cracked states. The methods for the experimental assessment of durability will be updated to be used for UHDC, and compared with non-destructive testing and monitoring methodologies, including new developments of electronic tongue sensors for concrete. To understand the long-term behaviour, accelerated tests and combination of mechanical and environmental actions will be considered to reproduce real conditions.

WP6: Modelling long-term durability of UHDC materials and structures (Leader: TUD). Modelling phenomena experimentally investigated in WP5 through a multi-physics approach, and extending the prediction to quantify the service life, following the updated MODA template, as provided in the additional document section. LCA as per ILCD Handbook: positive LCA balances by lower weight elements, smaller quantities of raw materials, CO2 and embodied energy reduction, less waste generation and disposal to landfills, thanks to UHDC recyclability.

WP7: Business opportunities of the developed UHDC materials and structural solutions (Leader: STRESS). Evaluation of the potential applications with a positive economic, social and environmental balance to explore and exploit the market opportunities offered by the new concept for structures made of/retrofitted with the proposed and provided UHDC, according to a cradle-to-cradle approach which also address recyclability of UHDC. The economic and social aspects will be supported by the LCC and S-LCA methodologies respectively. Strategic analysis (PEST, SWOT, Porter Forces), market study and business plan of the most interesting products.

WP8: Validation and proof of concepts in real-site durability conditions (Leader: EGP). Design through DAD concepts, and construction of six pilots exposed to real XS and XA conditions, with continuing monitoring of properties also after the end of the project. This will allow the scalability from material production (WP4) and durability performance evaluation in simulated lab environments (WP5) to the assessment and evaluation of the improved durability performance of full-scale elements in real site conditions.

WP9: Dissemination and exploitation of results (Leader: RDC). Scientific publication, publicity, dissemination and training, management of knowledge, intellectual property and innovation, creation of a website, clustering, planning for follow-up initiatives. WP9 activities will foster the market penetration of the project ideas and solutions. The pilots will stand as a “transnational” on-site workshop dedicated to educational and technical training, thus having an impact in terms of teaching innovation and education of new professionals.