Preserving Lighthouses with Steel Fiber-Reinforced Concrete

Despite reinforcements made through the years, famous lighthouses off the coast of Lorient in Brittany, France, inevitably deteriorate under the constant onslaught of the sea. The Centre for Maritime and Fluvial Studies (CETMEF) in Brest, which oversees the management of such marine construction, has accepted the proposal of EPFL engineers, in partnership with Lafarge, to develop the application of high-performance concrete cast in situ to stop the destruction of these lighthouses. The Ultra-High Performance Fiber-Reinforced Concrete is a mixture of cementing materials and steel fibers. Its fibers give it a deformation capacity comparable to that of the steel without the weight or corrosion sensitivity. Its impermeability is such that even when deployed in a thin layer, water and salts are unable to attack. At the same density as concrete, a thin layer of merely a few centimeters suffices to protect the structure.