Graham Sustainability Institute

Development of Green Durable Concrete for Truly Sustainable Infrastructure

U-M Investigators

Victor Li – College of Engineering (Civil & Environmental Engineering, Materials Science & Engineering)


Holmer Savastano, Jr. – University of Sao Paulo

Project Summary

Engineered cementitious composite (ECC), commonly known as “bendable concrete,” is a new type of building product that is extremely strong, yet flexible. It also has self-healing properties that make it more resistant to cracking and corrosion. Despite its value as a building material, the production of ECC is highly energy intensive, making it less “green” than conventional concrete. Through a research collaboration between the University of Michigan and the University of Sao Paulo, engineers demonstrated feasibility for a “green ECC” developed using natural fibers from the Curauá plant, which is cultivated in the Brazilian Amazon, in place of polymer fibers.  They estimate that replacement of even 1% of conventional concrete with this green ECC alternative could significantly reduce CO2 emissions, production costs, energy consumption, and infrastructure maintenance costs.

This project received a $10,000 UM-Brazil Sustainability Cooperation Grant in 2013.