“Smart concrete” developed at Purdue University that alerts engineers about its condition and possible need for repair has earned recognition as one of the Next Big Things in Tech from Fast Company magazine. Sensors embedded in the concrete as it’s placed provide the alerts through a smartphone app that also reveals when the mixture has achieved full strength.




WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Interstates across the country boast an innovative concrete technology that promises to save American travelers time and money.

This “smart concrete” can communicate with engineers about its strength, weakness and need for repair – making road repair more efficient and preventing unnecessary shutdowns. Developed at Purdue University, the innovation is earning attention and has now been named one of the Next Big Things in Tech by Fast Company magazine.

Chosen from a pool of nearly 1,400 applicants, 124 final projects across 21 categories were selected for already making an impact on a real-world problem while also showing promise to make a greater impact in the years to come. Among large corporations and small startups, Purdue is the only university represented on the list.

Purdue shares the Transportation stage with organizations like ClearFlame Engine Technologies, which enables active heavy trucks to shift away from diesel fuel, and Walmart-backed DroneUp, a leader in aerial drone delivery.

Developed by Luna Lu, the American Concrete Pavement Association Professor of Civil Engineering in Purdue’s Lyles School of Civil Engineering, smart concrete works via sensors embedded into the pour during construction.

The “smart” factor involves telling engineers, via smartphone app, when the concrete has reached maximum strength after construction or when it is beginning to break down.

“Traffic jams caused by infrastructure repairs have wasted 4 billion hours and 3 billion gallons of gas on a yearly basis,” Lu says. “This is primarily due to insufficient knowledge and understanding of our infrastructure’s condition.”





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