ASA Supports SmartCrete CRC Fast Track Projects

Posted 18-02-2021
Category Research

The Australasian (iron & steel) Slag Association is pleased to be a partner of SmartCrete CRC and supporters of the recently announced Fast Track program. Three new projects have received funding ranging from $500,000 to $1 million each and are spread across two of the three SmartCrete CRC research program streams, involving collaboration with partner organisations from across the construction materials supply chain including the Australasian (iron & steel) Slag Association.

All SmartCrete CRC Fast Track projects are driven by the needs of industry partners and the end-users with whom they engage. The projects will run for up to the next three years and cover a range of areas, including research into the following:

1. Wastewater Pipeline Sensing System Innovative and economical photonic sensor interrogation

2. Recycled Material Concrete Production Recycled Waste in Concrete for Municipal Applications

3. Concrete Corrosion Tracking and Prediction Cost-effective, deployable photonic sensor system

These three projects represent the first of many to be funded by the Commonwealth, industry and research partners to deliver on the organisation’s goal of guaranteeing the long-term viability of concrete infrastructure in Australia.

Having received the funding, SmartCrete CRC are now working through a portfolio of 34 active proposals to continue to develop industry-led solutions for Australian concrete infrastructure.

Fast Track Project 1 Wastewater Pipeline Sensing System
Failure of wastewater pipelines due to concrete corrosion is a global problem that custodians of this vital infrastructure face on a daily basis. Asset managers are currently unable to monitor concrete corrosion and its contributing factors over long periods of time using conventional sensing methodologies. Optical fibre-based sensing platforms however, have recently been shown to sustain performance in harsh sewer environments. Such systems though rely on costly interrogators limiting their use. This Project aims to develop a cost-effective, field deployable sensing system using optical components to deliver a time predictive capability to extend the life of sewer networks.

Fast Track Project 2 Recycled Material Concrete Production
This project will investigate and implement new applications of domestic and industrial waste materials (plastics, rubber, crusher dust, industrial by-products) in the concrete construction industry. It will provide long term environmental and economic benefits to key stakeholders: supply-chain, government, and asset owners. The project is a strategic response to the demand-supply imbalance in the Victorian infrastructure and waste recovery sector with a primary focus on councils and local municipalities. Concrete production in Victoria relies on aggregate and cement sourced from natural and finite sand and rock deposits. These deposits are declining in viability; there is a shortage of quarry materials and natural sands. Alternative sources of sands and aggregates are urgently required to meet forecasted consumption.

Fast Track Project 3 Concrete Corrosion Tracking and Prediction
Sewer pipe failure is a growing worldwide problem as wastewater systems age and come under increasing load. When sewer pipes fail it is disruptive for the general public and comes with high financial, public health and environmental costs. Australia alone spends over $1.4 billion annually on water and sewer pipe maintenance. The project will develop long-lived (> 10 years) “smart coupons”, that once installed, will emulate the physical and chemical conditions in the surrounding concrete wastewater pipes. Smart coupons will track concrete corrosion, predict end-of-service time frames, and improve operation practices to reduce rehabilitation costs of wastewater concrete assets.


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