Technology developed by a civil engineering professor at Purdue University to make “smart concrete” has captured the attention of Fast Company magazine. The innovation, developed by Professor Luna Lu is being called one of the of the “Next Big Things in Tech” by the magazine.
By adding sensors during the pouring of concrete, the smart concrete can communicate with engineers about its strength, weakness and need for repair – making road repair more efficient and preventing unnecessary shutdowns.
The technology can also tell engineers and road crews when the concrete is properly cured and reached maximum strength.
The university says prototypes of the sensors have been in place throughout Indiana highways since 2019. A Federal Highway Administration nationwide fund has allowed seven other states to join the project.
Fast Company says the self-aware concrete may “provide highway users with a gift that will keep on giving.” Intelligent infrastructure, like roadways that feed us data, is a fairly new field, and Lu and her team already have a running start, according to the publication.
Purdue says the technology was chosen from a pool of nearly 1,400 applicants with 124 final projects across 21 categories being selected for already making an impact on a real-world problem.