Innovation on a Roll
A look at Titan Environmental Containment’s Exclusive Concrete Canvas®
Construction innovation assumes many forms. And for the road-building community, the ones that can make the greatest impact on a project are often underfoot.
Take for example, Concrete Canvas®, a relatively new class of construction materials called Geosynthetic Cementitious Composite Mats (GCCM). The material is a factory assembled geosynthetic composite mat consisting of a three-dimensional fibre matrix with a specially formulated dry concrete mix and A PVC backing on one surface to ensure impermeability. Once sprayed or immersed in water, the fibres reinforce the concrete, preventing crack propagation and providing a safe plastic failure mode.
“It’s a pretty revolutionary material,” says Ron Drewry, Titan’s Concrete Canvas® Specialist. “It’s a concrete-filled geosynthetic that hardens upon hydration to form a durable, waterproof, and fire-resistant concrete layer. Basically, it allows for concrete construction without the need for batch plants or mixing equipment. You just add water.”
Titan is no stranger to championing innovation. It is the exclusive supplier of Concrete Canvas® (aka “Concrete of a Roll”), developed and produced by Concrete Canvas® Ltd., a UK-based firm. And after a decade of introducing it to clients across Canada, Drewry says he’s seen Concrete Canvas® applied with great success on projects ranging from roads to mines, culverts to spillways, and beyond.
“One of the biggest benefits is rapid installation,” says Drewry. “With Concrete Canvas®, you can lay up to 200 meters squared an hour, which is almost ten times faster than standard in-situ concrete.”
Ease of installation is also a plus. Concrete Canvas® is available in several formats (Man-Portable Batched Rolls, Bulk Rolls, and Wide Rolls) and is easy for onsite workers to “roll” out. Moreover, adds Drewry, the nature of the material means it can be used in conditions that would normally bring job sites to a halt: “Our product likes water. So even if we’re working in the rain or something like that, you can keep on rolling, whereas bad weather might shut other product installations down.”
This concrete on a roll being quick and easy to install contributes to lower overall costs than using conventional concrete. Moreover, the fact that the product has been certified for up to 120 years of performance life means Concrete Canvas® can mitigate future repair or restoration costs down the road.
Undoubtedly, one of the main concerns with concrete alternatives is strength and durability. To that end, Concrete Canvas® has a 24-hour compressive strength of 50MPa thanks to a fibre reinforcement that prevents cracking, absorbs energy from impacts, and provides a stable failure mode. Moreover, the product is twice as abrasion-resistant as standard OPC concrete, boasts exceptional chemical resistance, and will not degrade in UV.
Since introducing Concrete Canvas® to the Canadian market, Titan Environmental Containment has seen the material used on a wide variety of projects. These include drainage channel spillway and slope lining projects for scour and erosion protection, bund containment lining project, lining or fences and other areas for weed suppression, the lining of highway outfalls for water redirection, concrete remediation projects, and even culvert repairs.
“If a culvert is still structurally sound and just the bottom is worn, we can level out the bottom, put a layer of Concrete Canvas® in the bottom and give that culvert some new life without ripping up the roadbed, rail bed, or whatever the surface,” explains Drewry.
Amongst the many projects where Concrete Canvas has been selected across Canada and around the world, the product has proven its value on several high-profile initiatives. In May 2019, for example, 8,240 m2 of Concrete Canvas® was installed as an erosion control Iiner for two spillways that formed part of the Eagle Gold Mine operated by Victoria Gold, located in northern Yukon, an area that experiences seasonal variance of 20° to -30°C.
According to the project’s report: “Alternatives to Concrete Canvas® that were considered included poured concrete with an applied coating. This was discounted due to concerns about the logistical requirements and installation rates.”
On a roll
Innovations like Concrete Canvas® bode well for the construction sector. And since entering the Ontario market in early 2021, Titan Environmental Containment has made it a mission to push the boundaries of what geosynthetic materials and products can bring to the job site.