Materiales de Construcción, Vol 70, No 339 (2020)

Conductive concrete made from recycled carbon fibres for self-heating and de-icing applications in urban furniture

G. Faneca
Escofet 1886 Ltd,, Spain

T. Ikumi
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Barcelona Tech, Polytechnic University of Catalonia, UPC - Smart Engineering Ltd, Spain

J. M. Torrents
Department of Electronics Engineering, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Spain

A. Aguado
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Barcelona Tech, Polytechnic University of Catalonia, UPC,, Spain

I. Segura
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Barcelona Tech, Polytechnic University of Catalonia, UPC - Smart Engineering Ltd, Spain


This paper presents a broad experimental study performed at laboratory and industrial facilities to develop conductive concrete for self-heating and de-icing applications in urban furniture. Self-heating capacity is achieved by the application of electric current through a highly dense matrix containing recycled carbon fibers and graphite flakes. Prisms and slabs were fabricated with two different conductive concretes and electrode con­figurations to characterize the electrical properties and heating performance. Finally, 3 benches with different electrode disposals were fabricated to assess the heating capacity in real-scale applications. The results presented indicate promising results about the use of recycled carbon fibers for electrothermal concrete applications and identify the electrode configuration that allows the most efficient heat transfer and reduction of temperature gradients within the heated element. Real-scale tests show that the current technology developed is potentially applicable at de-icing applications in climates where temperatures remain within the range of -3 or -5 ºC.


Thermal analysis; Electrical properties; Temperature; High performance concrete; Fibre reinforcement

Full Text:



National Infrastructure Commission, ARUP and University College London (2017) Briefing Note: Infrastructure and Digital Systems Resilience, London, (2017).

ICE, Institution of Civil Engineers (2017) State of the Nation 2017: Digital Transformation, London, (2017).

World Economic Forum (2016) Shaping the Future of Construction: A Breakthrough in Mindset and Technology, (2016).

D’Alessandro, A.; Ubertini, F.; Laflamme, S. (2015) Towards smart concrete for smart cities: Recent results and future application of strain-sensing nanocomposites. J. Smart Cities. 1 [1], 3–14.

Pérez, A.; Climent, M.A.; Garcés, P. (2010) Electromechanical Extraction of chlorides from reinforced concrete using a conductive cement paste as an anode. Corros. Sci. 52 [5], 1576–1581.

Del Moral, B.; Galao, Ó.; Antón, C.; Climent, M.A.; Garcés, P. (2013) Usability of cement paste containing nanofibres as an anode in electrochemical chloride extrac­tion from concrete. Mater. Construcc. 63 [309], 39–48.

Xu, J.; Yao, W. (2009) Current distribution in reinforced concrete cathodic protection system with conductive mortar overlay anode. Const. Build. Mater. 23 [6], 2220–2226.

Westhof, L. (2006) Field experience with a conductive cement-based composite as anode for the cathodic protec­tion of reinforced concrete structures. In: Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on Concrete Solutions, Watford.

Singh, A.P.; Mishra, M.; Chandra, A.; Dhawan, S.K. (2011) Graphene oxide/ferrofluid/cement composites for electro­magnetic interference shielding application. Nanotech. 22 [46], 465701.

Han, B.; Zhang, L.; Ou, J. (2017) Electromagnetic Wave Shielding/Absorbing Concrete. In: Smart and Multi­functional Concrete Toward Sustainable Infrastructures. Springer, Singapore, (2017).

Chen, P.W.; Chung, D.D.L. (1993) Carbon fiber reinforced concrete for smart structures capable of non-destructive flaw detection. Smart Mater. Struct. 2 [1], 22–30.

Park, S.; Ahmad, S.; Yun, C.B.; Roh, Y. (2006) Multiple crack detection of concrete structures using impedance-based structural health monitoring techniques. Exp. Mech. 46, 609–618.

Han, B.G.; Yu, X.; Ou, J.P. (2014) Self-sensing Concrete in Smart Structures, Elsevier, Amsterdam, (2014).

Han, B.G.; Ding, S.Q.; Yu, X. (2015) Intrinsic self-sens­ing concrete and structures: A review. Measurement. 59, 110–128.

Carmona, J.; Garcés, P.; Climent, M.A. (2015) Efficiency of a conductive cement-based anodic system for the appli­cation of cathodic protection, cathodic prevention and electrochemical chloride extraction to control corrosion in reinforced concrete structures. Corros. Sci. 96 ,102–111.

Lee, J.J.; Kim, D.H.; Lee, S.T.; Lim, J.K. (2014) Fundamental study of energy harvesting using thermo­electric effect on concrete structure in road. Adv. Mater. Res. 1044–1045, 332–337.

Wei, J.; Nie, Z.B.; He, G.P.; Hao, L.; Zhao, L.L.; Zhang, Q. (2014) Energy harvesting from solar irradiation in cities using the thermoelectric behavior of carbon fiber reinforced cement composites. RSC Adv. 4, 48128–48134.

Chung, D.D.L. (2004) Electrically conductive cement-based materials. Adv. Cem. Res. 16 [4], 167–176.

Zhao, H.; Wu, Z.; Wang, S.; Zheng, J.; Che, G. (2011) Concrete pavement deicing with carbon fiber heating wires. Cold Reg. Sci. Technol. 65 [3], 413–420.

Lai, Y.; Liu, Y.; Ma, D. (2014) Automatically melting snow on airport cement concrete pavement with carbon fiber grille. Cold Reg. Sci. Technol. 103, 57–62.

Wu, J.; Liu, J.; Yang, F. (2015) Three-phase composite conductive concrete for pavement deicing. Construct. Build. Mater. 75, 129–135.

Zhang, Q.; Yu, Y.; Chen, W.; Zhou, Y.; Li, H. (2016) Outdoor experiment of flexible sandwiched graphite-PET sheets based self-snow-thawing pavement. Cold Reg. Sci. Technol. 122, 10–17.

Kim, G.M.; Naeem, F.; Kim, H.K.; Lee, H.K. (2016) Heating and heat-dependent mechanical characteristics of CNT-embedded cementitious composites. Compos. Struct. 136, 162–170.

Hambach, M.; Möller, H.; Neumann, T.; Volkmer, D. (2016) Carbon fibre reinforced cement-based composites as smart floor heating materials. Composites part B. 90, 465–470.

Bai, W.Y.; Chen, W.; Chen, B.; Tu, R. (2017) Research on Electrically Conductive Concrete with Double-Layered Stainless Steel Fibers for Pavement Deicing. ACI Mater. J. 114 [6], 935–944.


Wang, C.; Yang, X.; Li, Q.; Guo, T.; Jiang, T. (2018) Preparation and performance of conductive gussas­phalt concrete. Transportmetrica A: Transport Science. 15 [1], 55–70.

Sassani, A.; Arabzadeh, A.; Ceylan, H.; Kim, S.; Sadati, S.M.S.; Gopalakrishnan, K.; Taylor, P.C.; Abdulla, H. (2018) Carbon fiber-based electrically conductive concrete for salt-free deicing of pavements. J. Cleaner Prod. 203, 799–809.

Zhao, R.; Tuan, C.; Luo, B.; Xu, A. (2019) Radiant heat­ing utilizing conductive concrete tiles. Build. Environ. 148, 82–95.

Galao, O.; Bañón, L.; Baeza, F.J.; Carmona, J.; Garcés, P. (2016) Highly Conductive Carbon Fiber Reinforced Concrete for Icing Prevention and Curing. Materials, 9 [4], 281. .

Baeza, F.J.; Chung, D.D.L.; Zornoza, E.; Andión, L.Gª.; Garcés, P. (2010) Triple percolation in concrete reinforced with carbon fiber. ACI Mater. J. 396–402.

Rao, R.; Wang, H.; Tuan, C.Y.; Ye, M. (2019) Models for estimating the thermal properties of electric heating concrete containing steel fiber and graphite. Composites Part B. 164, 116–120.

Han, B.; Zhang, L.; Ou, J. (2016) Electrothermal Concrete. In: Smart and Multifunctional Concrete Toward Sustainable Infrastructures. Springer, Singapore, (2016).

Faneca, G.; Segura, I.; Torrents, J.M.; Aguado, A. (2018) Development of conductive cementitious materials using recycled carbon fibres. Cem. Concr. Compos. 92, 135–144.

Gomis, J.; Galao, O.; Gomis, V.; Zornoza, E.; Garcés, P. (2015) Self-heating and deicing conductive cement. Experimental study and modeling. Construct. Build. Mater. 75, 442–449.

Roberts, A. (2007) Rapid growth forecast for carbon fibre market. Reinf. Plast. 51 [2], 10–13.

Roberts, A. (2009) The Carbon Fibre Industry Worldwide 2008–2014, Materials Technologies Publications, UK, (2009).

Carberry, W. (2008) Airplane Recycling Efforts Benefit Boeing Operators. Boeing AERO Magazine QRT. 4, 6–13.

Pimenta, S.; Pinho, S.T. (2011) Recycling carbon fibre rein­forced polymers for structural applications: Technology review and market outlook. Waste Manag. 31 [2], 378–392.

Segura, I.; Faneca, G.; Torrents, J.M.; Aguado, A. (2019) Self-sensing concrete made from recycled carbon fibres. Smart Mater. Struct. 28 [10], 105045.

AENOR (2005) UNE-EN 196-1:2005 Methods of Testing Cement. Part I: Determination of Strength.

Gersing, E. (1991) Measurement of electrical impedance in organs measuring equipment for research and clinical applications. Biomed. Tech. 36 [1–2], 6–11.

Wen, S.; Chung, D.D.L. (2006) The role of electronic and ionic conduction in the electrical conductivity of carbon fiber reinforced cement. Carbon N Y. 44 [11], 2130–2138.

Wen, S.; Chung, D.D.L. (2007) Double percolation in the electrical conduction in carbon fiber reinforced cement-based materials. Carbon N Y. 45 [2], 263–267.

Copyright (c) 2020 Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Contact us

Technical support