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Magnetic alignment of microsteel fibers

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Magnetic alignment of microsteel fibers
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Release Date2021

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The objective of this paper is to provide an insight into current basic research at ITE for the production of resource-efficient components through the controlled, automated magnetic distribution and alignment of steel fibers in UHPFRC (Ultra-High Performance Fibre-Reinforced Concrete). The method for distributing and aligning steel fibers in UHPFRC is based on the physical phenomenon of magnetism. Since steel fibers are ferromagnetic, magnetic fields can selectively change their position in the fresh concrete and align them according to the force flow and the maxim "form follows force". The magnetic fiber alignment (MFA) process developed on this principle combines the capabilities of digital and automized component manufacturing with the potential of targeted fiber alignment to increase the material efficiency of UHPFRC. It is highlighted at four levels: At the material level, studies were conducted on the composite properties of different brand-new and recycled microsteel fibers (MSF), formwork designs suitable for the MFA process were developed, flux densities of different magnets were simulated with special software solutions and measured in practice, and an end effector was fabricated that was implemented on 3- and 6-axis kinematics. At the process level, the interaction of the main parameters of the MFA process was evaluated by visual analysis on transparent glucose syrup-based solutions, and series of specimens were analyzed by micro-CT scans. At the component level, centric tensile tests were performed on a wide variation of dog-bones to provide an assessment of the potential increase in tensile performance of UHPFRC by the MFA process. At an economic and environmental evaluation level, the results from the tensile tests were used to assess and quantify the potential savings from reducing the fiber content and using recycled steel fibers.