Concrete is our most widely used construction material. Worldwide consumption of cement, the strength-giving component of concrete, is estimated at 4.10 Gt per year, rising from 2.22 Gt just ten years ago. This rate of consumption means that cement manufacture alone is estimated to account for 5.2 % of global carbon dioxide emissions.
Concrete offers the opportunity to economically create structures of almost any geometry. Yet its unique fluidity is seldom capitalised upon, with concrete instead being cast into rigid, flat moulds to create unoptimised geometries that result in high material use structures with large carbon footprints. This paper will explore flexible formwork construction technologies which embrace the fluidity of concrete to facilitate the practical construction of concrete structures with complex and efficient geometries.
This paper presents the current state of the art in flexible formwork technology, highlighting practical uses, research challenges and new opportunities.