Scientists Have Developed A Breakthrough Low-Cost, Lightweight, Concrete Technology

Australian scientists have developed a breakthrough low-cost, lightweight, concrete technology that is set to lower costs and speed up construction projects from residential homes to high-rise buildings.

HySSIL (High-Strength, Structural, Insulative, Lightweight) panels are manufactured using a new low energy, process developed by CSIRO Novel Materials & Processes.

Dr Swee Liang Mak, who leads the HySSIL development team at CSIRO says, 'HySSIL is a revolutionary aerated cementitious (cement-based) product that is as strong as normal concrete but is only half as heavy. It provides up to five times the thermal insulation of concrete and is also impact and fire resistant'.

'HySSIL wall panels are also expected to offer significant cost advantages over existing products', says Dr Mak.

'Significant savings are achieved because CSIRO HySSIL technology uses readily available raw materials in smaller quantities and the-low cost and low-energy technology developed by CSIRO.

'Unlike certain processes used to manufacture aerated products, HySSIL production does not require expensive autoclaves (curing equipment)'.

Dr Mak says, 'This means there are significant savings on the cost of start-up manufacturing plant for HySSIL'.

HySSIL also offers the extra bonus of being easily recyclable.

Dr Mak adds, 'The use of lightweight building materials such as HySSIL will contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, by increasing the energy efficiency of buildings and reducing the energy used during transportation and construction'.

'For example, HySSIL wall panels are light enough to assemble on site without the need for heavy lifting equipment.'

Dr Mak describes HySSIL as a platform technology for the development of a range of new products, including both structural and non-structural elements such as walls, roof tiles, floor systems, decks and noise barrier panels.

HySSIL panels are expected to be a competitive alternative to bricks, blocks, prefabricated wall panels, precast wall panels, aerated lightweight blocks and similar product currently used in the building and construction industry.

HySSIL technology was developed by CSIRO in conjunction with CMR Energy Technologies (CMRET), a wholly owned subsidiary of CMR Consultants (Australia) Pty Ltd, established to undertake research, development and commercialisation of new energy-related technologies.

The applied research phase of HySSIL was supported by an AusIndustry R&D START grant.

CMRET has established a company called HySSIL Pty Ltd with Applied Construction Technologies (ACT), a researcher, developer and marketer of advanced building, construction and engineering technologies in Australia and the Asia Pacific region.

HySSIL Pty Ltd is licensed by CSIRO to exploit the HySSIL technology worldwide for building applications.

Colin Knowles, a director of HySSIL Pty Ltd, says, 'We are focussing initially on the massive US$125 billion per annum global wall market. Our strategy is to commercialise the technology through regional sub-licences with manufacturers'.

HySSIL Pty Ltd is in active discussions with manufacturers in Australia, South East Asia, the USA and China.

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