EDYCEM - Centrale Nantes Chair

2015 - 2018 | 2019 - 2023 | 2024 - 2028
Centrale Nantes and EDYCEM have been working together on a research chair in sustainable concrete since 2015.

2024 - 2028 | Chair III

The work of the third Chair will address three major themes:

Reducing the environmental footprint in concrete design

EDYCEM and Centrale Nantes are considering the possibility of further reducing clinker while seeking satisfactory properties from an early stage. They will be studying workability by monitoring rheology and its stability over time, as well as mechanical strength over the first few hours of concrete placing to ensure rapid form removal, even in winter. Shrinkage and cracking sensitivity, which include viscoelastic properties, must also be controlled. EDYCEM aims to use the data collected in this study to promote the use of low-carbon binders in national standards bodies.

In addition to traditional cements, alternative binders will also be explored: biomass ash, crystallized slag, clays, fine recycled concrete aggregates, in order to compare the performance of a wide range of alternative binders. Another area on which the future Research Chair will focus is testing the incorporation of high rates of recycled aggregates to limit the use of marine or alluvial sands, in order to further reduce the environmental impact of concrete.

The contribution of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to new-generation concretes

While concrete made with Portland cement has enjoyed widespread recognition among specialists for over a century, the time scale for exploring new-generation concretes containing less clinker and more additions promises to be much shorter, as the urgency of climate change drives their use. This is a major challenge, which requires gathering as much data as possible and analyzing it in a short space of time, in order to predict the mechanical behavior and durability of these new materials.
The aim of this work, combining computer simulation and practical tests in laboratories and concrete mixing plants, is to develop new concretes with low environmental impact, taking into account their physico-chemical evolution throughout the construction life cycle. The structural aspect will also feature in the exploratory research, with the development of eco-design methods for the streamlined use of concrete and steel.

Contributing to the city of tomorrow

At a time when health issues took priority, cities were largely left to their own devices, so it's time to strike the right balance. The development of housing and infrastructure changes the rate at which groundwater is filtered, with the associated risk of flooding, but also the formation of "urban heat islands" (UHIs) through radiative trapping (multiple reflections and solar absorption) and aeraulic confinement of urban canyons.

EDYCEM and Centrale Nantes will explore ways of controlling these phenomena through the study of pavement surfacing.

2019 - 2023 | Chair II - Environmentally responsible concrete

The Research Chair II programme, with an investment of €3 million, reflected EDYCEM's desire and commitment to pursue its innovative approach driven by societal issues. Work focused on materials capable of meeting the challenges of tomorrow's city, in particular by reducing the environmental impact of new buildings and taking into account all emissions over their lifecycle, right from the construction stage. The topics addressed are in line with previous work, to create concrete and construction processes that contribute to meeting environmental challenges.

Three PhDs focused on tomorrow's sustainable development and climate challenges:
  • low-carbon concrete: the behavior and performance of concrete are analyzed with the new cements that will be integrated into the NF EN197-1 standard. This topic made it possible to anticipate future regulations by understanding the structured and deferred biological behavior of the material.
  • optimizing the formulation of porous surfaces for roads. The aim of this work was to propose concrete formulations that are sufficiently permeable and durable to rapidly evacuate runoff water.
  • durability of concrete in water treatment plants. The aim of this PhD thesis was to reproduce environments in order to study concrete formulations. A performance-based approach was implemented to ensure the durability of the structures.

2015 - 2018 | Chair I - Modernise the formulation of cementitious materials and improve their energy balance

EDYCEM (formerly VM Matériaux) and Centrale Nantes inaugurated the international research and teaching Chair in Innovative concrete for new applications on 27th February 2015 in Nantes.

EDYCEM (formerly VM Béton Services of the group VM Matériaux), present for many years now in the Pays de la Loire region, and Centrale Nantes, one of the largest French schools of engineering with a strong international reputation in teaching and research, inaugurated a five-year international research and teaching chair on 27th February 2015 in Nantes. The goal was to develop research, teaching and technology transfer on the sustainability and energy efficiency of concrete structures. With a budget of €2.9 million, the research programme is supervised at Centrale Nantes by Professor Ahmed Loukili.

In 2009 Ahmed Loukili was recognised alongside his team for his research on the behavior and durability of cementitious materials, with the Prix Chercheur des Trophées de la Fédération Nationale des Travaux Publics (Researcher of 2009, French National Federation of Public Works award). He has over 50 publications and numerous books to his name.

In a truly pioneering approach for an engineering school and a medium-sized company, this partnership brings together the scientific and technical skills and human know-how of Edycem and Centrale Nantes - Arnaud Poitou, Director of Centrale Nantes.

Inspiring the public buildings and works sector with scientific vision, the research work was designed to support Edycem in its projects to develop ready-to-use and prefabricated concrete. Both parties shared the common goal to modernise the formulation of cementitious materials and improve their energy balance, with regard to both material and structure.

The results of the academic research undertaken will be applied short term directly in the field by us as an industrial firm. This is what makes this collaboration so valuable - Daniel Robin, Managing Director, Edycem.

Published on May 2, 2016 Updated on April 22, 2024