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Ductal – Concrete in the Limelight

Ductal – Concrete in the Limelight
The footbridge of Peace in Seoul by Rudy Ricciotti - credits: Lafarge library

The collaborative material library of L’École de design, which boasts no less than 2000 items (samples, books, CD’s etc.), introduces you to a new material: Ductal®...


Concrete is one of the most used materials in the world, second only to water (more than 1 per year and per capita!). Invented by the Phoenicians and Egyptians, concrete enabled the Romans to edify tremendous architectural wonders (the Dome of the Pantheon in Rome, erected 2000 years ago).

In France and elsewhere in the western world, concrete has often been talked down because it was seen as a pillar of the fast-paced not-so-creative urbanization in the 60’s. Originally heavy, cold and grey, it has gradually become more weathering-resistant, lighter, and possibly white or colorful.

Making Concrete (by blending aggregate, water and cement) is more complex than it seems. Additives are incorporated to the mixture to modify the material’s properties. Superplasticizers make it smoother without adding water. Over the years research and experimentation have enabled manufacturers to achieve an in-depth understanding of this material; today they produce better-structured concrete with astounding features. Ultra-high-performance concretes are ductile, long-lasting and resistant. They can be shaped into true technological exploits such as the Millau Viaduct in Southern France, for instance.

Concrete is a "green" material; it is natural, inert and 100% recyclable. It is a very long-lasting liquid stone.

Ductal® is an ultra-high-performance fibered concrete with amazing resistance properties (nearly 10 times as resistant as standard concrete) yet extremely flexible and easy to implement.


Philippe Blanchard,

Faculty / Materials & Technology Coordinator


Thiais Bus Center (France) - credits: Lafarge library
Nessy de Neil Poulton for Atelier Sedap