The National Precast Concrete Association recently published an overview of ultra high performance concrete (UHPC), a material on the leading edge of innovation with potential to expand producers’ architectural and structural offerings. UHPC mix designs vary. Reinforced with high-carbon metallic fibers, structural product formulation can achieve compressive strengths up to 29,000 psi and flexural strengths up to 2,900 psi. UHPC for architectural elements typically incorporates polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) fibers, and can achieve compressive strengths up to 17,000 psi and flexural strengths up to 2,900 psi. Due to the material’s superior compressive and flexural properties, the need for passive reinforcing can be eliminated or greatly reduced, depending on the application. UHPC is also highly moldable and replicates form materials with extreme precision.

NPCA’s new white paper discusses UHPC’s combination of superior properties enabling architects and engineers to design thin, complex shapes, curvatures and highly customized textures—applications which are difficult or impossible to achieve with traditional reinforced concrete elements. The material’s advantages include reduced global costs such as formwork, labor, maintenance and speed of construction. Applications include bridge beams and decks, solid and perforated wall panels/facades, urban furniture, louvers, stairs, large-format floor tiles, pipes and marine structures. Download guide.