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Bid To Reduce Maintenance Bill

3 July 2014

Science and industry came together at Costain’s Maidenhead HQ as members of the Materials For Life (M4L) consortium met for a progress update on their work.

M4L seeks to create and bring to market new materials that can ultimately help cut the estimated £40 billion annual bill that is required for the repair and maintenance of existing, mainly concrete, structures.

A consortium of 11 academics from the Universities of Cardiff, Bath and Cambridge, from fields such as structural and geotechnical engineering, materials chemistry, biology and materials science are developing new materials such as ‘self-healing’ concrete, which helps prevent, or minimises, cracking in the material.

The event also included a diverse group from other stakeholders including the Highways Agency, Technalia, CIRIA, Delft and Ghent universities and a number of engineering design consultancies.

Costain is providing commercial expertise to complement the scientific advances; its involvement once again demonstrates the Company’s commitment to innovation.

“In the UK we’re really great at coming up with ideas, but not known for maximising the commercial benefit,” said Project Manager, Andrea Green. “Universities recognise today that they have to have industry on board to provide that expertise.” 

Costain is the lead industry sponsor and are supporting the M4L programme with around £600,000 of investment through trials, manufacture and in the cost/benefit analysis of the new materials.

“The meeting was to provide an update on the research, but also to provide a workshop session where key questions could be answered – for example, what applications [for the new material] we’re focusing on,” said Andrea.

“Several Costain sites have expressed interest in carrying out trials of the new materials and we hope to finalise the list for the next progress meeting.”

The lead researcher on the M4L project, Cardiff University’s Professor Bob Lark, described the meeting as: “An extremely valuable event that will enable us to critically review what we are doing and how best to achieve the project's ambitious aims.

“By engaging with a wide range of our stakeholders we were able to promote some lively debate and creative thinking, which promises a bright future for the project and its deliverables.”

 

Ends

 

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