Reactive powder concrete (RPC) is a composite material currently under development, which is expected to revolutionize the concrete industry by optimizing the material used and generating economic benefits. RPC will help build structures that are not only strong and durable, but are also friendly to the environment. When compared to the high performance concrete (HPC) that is currently being used by the construction industry, RPC possess remarkably better compressive and flexural strength. Reactive powder concrete also have lower permeability as opposed to high performance concrete. Owing to its high durability, RPC may even replace steel in compression members wherever durability is at stake.
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The concept of reactive powder was first developed in France in the early 1990s while the Sherbrooke Bridge in Canada was the first major structure built with it, in 1997. Reactive powder concrete is a high ductility cementitious composite with an ultra-high strength due to advanced mechanical and physical properties. The emerging technology of reactive powder concrete is expected to lend a new dimension to the term ‘high performance concrete’. It has immense potential in construction due to its superior mechanical and durability properties compared to conventional high performance concrete, and could even replace steel in some applications. RPC also has advantage of waterproofing. Concurrently, the global reactive powder market is expected to expand at a robust CAGR during the forecast period of 2016 to 2024.
The development of reactive powder concrete is feeding off some of the basic principles that such as enhanced homogeneity, improved microstructure, high compaction, and high ductility. The ultra-dense microstructure of RPC could be a suitable choice for industrial and nuclear waste storage facilities. This is the primary factor that is augmenting the demand for RPC coming from construction industry. A comparison of the measurements of the physical and mechanical properties of RPC and HPC assures that RPC possesses both compressive and flexural strength and also lower the permeability compared to HPC. This is another factor that will help transition during the forecast period.
Conversely, the high cost of reactive powder concrete is expected to hinder the growth rate in the global market for the same. The mineral component optimization in RPC alone results to a considerable increase in the cost as compared to conventional concrete, which is generally 5 to 10 times. As a result, RPC is currently only suitable to be used in areas where substantial weight savings can be realized and its remarkable characteristics can be fully utilized. For example, marine conditions. Moreover, for the reason that RPC is still in its development stage, the long-term properties are fairly unknown, which is expected to hesitate the manufacturers from investing and consumers from opting for it.
Geographically, the global market for reactive powder concrete can be divided into regional segments of North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, and the Rest of the World. Currently, North America serves the maximum demand for RPC due to significantly larger budget of the construction sites and high adoptability rate of new technology. However, vast populations live in the region of Asia Pacific, wherein emerging economies of the countries such as China and India are experiencing exponential rise in construction sector. Also, the country of Japan the frequently experiences earthquakes are expected to increase the demand during the forecast period. Concurrently, the market for reactive powder concrete in the region of Asia Pacific is expected to expand at a robust CAGR.
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BASF is one the prominent company that is currently working on the development of reactive powder concrete. Their product, MetaMax, is a high reactivity metakaolin (HRM), which enhances the strength, durability, and appearance of Portland cement. Unlike most highly reactive pozzolanic materials, MetaMax HRM is a bright white powder manufactured under strict quality control that ensures consistent high reactivity.