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Department of Civil Engineering

National Institute of Technology, Rourkela
Contents Page
1. Introduction 3
2. Basics of light transmitting concrete 3
3. Principle 3
4. Advantages of optical fiber 3
5. Materials used 3
6. Manufacturing process 6
7. Testing of samples 7
8. Analysis of test results 8
9. Application 10
10. Advantages & Disadvantages 11
11. Examples 12
12. References 13


1. Introduction
With the economic growth and science technology development, more and more large-scale
civil engineering structures such as tall buildings, underground buildings and landmark buildings
and so on are built around the world. While the economic growth is a kind of extensive growth:
high input, high consumption and high pollution, for that the energy saving technology is low,
especially in developing countries. The brightness of indoor environment is entirely maintained
by artificial lighting, which has consumed a large number of resources. Moreover civil
engineering structures always suffer from external environmental effects, economic loss and
casualties are serious once damaged. And now, building energy saving and building safety have
been attracted much attention.

2. Basics of Light Transmitting Concrete

Light transmitting concrete, is a combination of optical fibers and cement paste. Due to the
small pieces of aggregate. In this manner, the result is not only two materials fiber optics in
concrete - mixed, but a third, new material, which is homogeneous in its inner structure and on
its main surfaces as well. The new material will transform the interior appearance of concrete
buildings by making them feel light and shining rather than dark and heavy.

3. Principle
passes as muchILEHUV
light when tiny slits are placed directly on top of each other as when they are
staggered. Principal can carry because optical fibers in the concrete act like the slits and carry the
light across throughout the concrete.
4. Advantages of optical fiber

1. Safe - No electricity, heat, or ultraviolet light in the fiber optic cable. Ideal for use in
and around water, precious artifacts, paintings, combustible surfaces, etc.
2. Versatile- Multiple applications possible from one light source.
3. Economical- Operates on less than two amps.
4. User friendly- The cable is durable, UV protected plastic, so there is nothing to break
or burn out. Virtually maintenance free.

5. Materials used

5.1. Cement
In the most general sense of the word, cement is a binder, a substance that sets and hardens
independently, and can bind other materials together.
Generally ordinary Portland cement is used for preparation of samples.

5.2. Water

Water is the key ingredient, which when mixed with cement, forms a paste that binds the
aggregate together. The water needs to be pure in order to prevent side reactions from occurring
which may weaken the concrete, the role of water is important because the water to cement ratio
is the most critical factor in the production of "perfect" concrete.

5.3. Sand
Sand is a naturally occurring granular material composed of finely divided rock and mineral
particles. The Composition of sand is highly variable, usually in the form of quartz. Sand
particles range in diameter from 4 mm to 2 mm.

5.4. Plastic Optical Fibers

Plastic optical fiber is flexible and transparent fibers made of a pure glass (silica), It functions as
a waveguide, or "light pipe", to transmit light between the two ends of the fiber.
There are three basic types of optical fibers:
[1] Multimode graded-index fiber
[2] Multimode step-index fiber
[3] Single-mode step-index fibers.
A multimode fiber can propagate hundreds of light modes at one time while single-mode fibers
only propagate one mode as shown below.

Fig 1.1: Types of Fiber

Optical fibers of different diameters can be used depending upon amount of light required for

Fig-1.2: diff diameter of fibers

5.5. Moulds used

Moulds used are generally made of either wooden perforated plates or from metal plates.

Figure 1.3: wooden compressive


Figure 1.4: metal compressive moulds

6. Manufacturing process

6.1 Preparation of concrete mix

Concrete mix is prepared as per desired strength of specimen as per mix design proportions
according to various standard codes of concrete mix.
i. The weighted sand and cement are added in a mixing container.
ii. The water is uniformly added throughout the whole process.

Fig 1.5: mixing of concrete

Sample mix proportions for M20 concrete are arrived as follows:

Cement 360kg, Sand 560kg, Fiber 4.5kg, Water 190lit

6.3 Proportion of fibers

Thousands of strands of optical fibers are cast into concrete to transmit light, either natural or
artificial. Light transmitting concrete is produced by adding 4% to 5% optical fibers by volume
into the concrete mixture. The concrete mixture is made from fine materials only it does not
contain coarse aggregate. Thickness of the optical fibers can be varied between 2 m and 2 mm
to suit the particular requirements of light transmission. Automatic production processes use
woven fibers fabric instead of single filaments.

6.2 placing of concrete & fibers

The manufacturing process of transparent concrete is almost same as regular concrete. Only
optical fibers are spread throughout the aggregate and cement mix. Small layers of the concrete
are poured on top of each other and infused with the fibers and are then connected.

Fabric and concrete are alternately inserted into molds at intervals of approximately 2 mm to 5
mm. Smaller or thinner layers allow an increased amount of light to pass through the concrete.

Following casting, the material is cut into panels or blocks of the specified thickness and the
surface is then typically polished, resulting in finishes ranging from semi-gloss to high-gloss.
Before filling these moulds, they are coated with oil to avoid the adherence of the concrete cube
and wood.

All specimens were placed in a curing basin after it have been removed from steel cubes after 24
hours of casting , the curing process was done at Soil and Material Laboratory on IUG according
to ASTM C- 192.

Figure 1.6: concrete cubes during curing process

7. Testing of samples
7.1. Compression test
It is the most important test for concrete, tests was done according to ASTM C 109. The
compression strength was obtained based on average of four cubes which were prepared for each
POF diameter and content, two of them for 7 days strength tests and the other two for 28 days
strength test. The samples are (5cm5cm5cm) cubes which are recommended by ASTM for
tests on mortar. The compressive strength machine available at soil and material laboratory.

Compressive strength = load/area

Figure 1.7: Cubes during compression test

7.2. Flexural Test
For this purpose just two samples were prepared for each POF diameter and content, those
samples were tested after 28 days of casting and the average value is used. Samples for this test
were (4cm4cm16cm) according to ASTM recommendation for flexural test on mortar.

Flexural strength = PL/bd2

Where , P Load,
L - Length of the specimen,
b - width of the prism,
d - depth of the prism

Figure 1.8: concrete cube during flexural test

7.3 Workability
The workability of the concrete is determined by conducting the slump cone test

8. Analysis of test results

8.1 Results of 7- day compressive strength test

The results of 7- day compressive strength indicated that that compressive strength increases as
fiber content increases reaching about 4%, then compressive strength decreases at 6% fiber
content for all fiber diameters. Therefore, the concrete have the maximum 7- day compressive
strength at 4% fiber content. This can be explained as fiber content increases the bond between
the fibers and the concrete particles and the concrete particles themselves is improved. This
behavior is not endless, after certain fiber content (4 % fiber content) the fibers start to decreases
the bonds between concrete. In the same context, Figure 1.10 shows that the fiber diameter 2.5
mm have the highest compressive strength at the 4% fiber content.

Fig 1.9: 7 day compressive test results

8.2 Results of 28- day compressive strength test

From the compressive strength results of 28 days, it can be seen that compressive strength
decreases as fiber content increases. This can be attributed to the fact that as fiber content
increases the density of the samples decreased. On the other hand, the results showed that as
fiber diameter increases from 1.5 mm to 3.0 mm (with fixed fiber content of 45) the compressive
strength increases.

Fig 1.10: 28 day compressive test result

8.3 Results of 28- day flexure strength test

Flexure tests were carried out on samples with fiber contents of 0%, 2%, 4% and 6% at several
fiber diameters namely; 1.5 mm, 2.00 mm, 2.5 mm and 3.00 mm. the following sections presents
the 28- day flexural strength obtained for each case. Taking 1.5mm diameter

9. Application

A. Illuminate Your Walls

Transparent Concrete can be used as building material for interior and exterior walls. If sunshine
illuminates the wall structure, then eastern or western placement is recommended; the rays of the
rising or setting sun will hit the optical glass fibers in a lower angle and the intensity of the light
will be bigger. Besides the traditional applications of a wall, the light transmitting concrete can
also be used as wall covering illuminated from the back.

Fig 1.11: Translucent Wall for Architectural View


B. Watch Your Pavement Shine at Sunset

This concrete can be used as flooring a passable surface illuminated from below. During the
day it looks like typical concrete pavement but at sunset the paving blocks begin to shine and in
different colors.
C.Get Creative with Design
The building units are versatile and can be used in many areas of design. Two successful designs
using the light transmitting concrete were a jewel and a concrete bench. You can also create a
logo with colorful figures, inscriptions, and pictures and can used for beautification purpose.

Fig 1.12: Decorative Wall Design


D. Artsy Reception Desk
If you really want to create a look that stands out, you should opt for this artsy and vogue
reception desk where light up in the front and the sides.
E. A Lighting fixture and Conversational Piece
The transparent concrete cube is, without a doubt, a great conversation piece. The new cube
line consists of four identical pieces of concrete and, due to its special geometry; the pieces form
a stable structure without fixing them together.

Fig 1.13: Transparent Partition Wall


These are also applicable at:

Transparent concrete blocks suitable for floors, pavements and load-bearing walls.
Facades, interior wall cladding and dividing walls based on thin panels.
Partitions wall and it can be used where the sunlight does not reach properly.
In furniture for the decorative and aesthetic purpose.
Light fixtures.
Light sidewalks at night.
Increasing visibility in dark subway stations.
Lighting indoor fire escapes in the event of a power failure.

10. Advantages & Disadvantages

The main advantage of these products is that on large scale objects the texture is still
visible - while the texture of finer translucent concrete becomes indistinct at distance.
When a solid wall is imbued with the ability to transmit light, it means that a home can
use fewer lights in their house during daylight hours.
It has very good architectural properties for giving good aesthetical view to the building.
Where light is not able to come properly at that place transparent concrete can be used.
Energy saving can be done by utilization of transparent concrete in building.

Totally environment friendly because of its light transmitting characteristics, so energy
consumption can be reduced.
The main disadvantage is these concrete is very costly because of the optical fibers.
Casting of transparent concrete block is difficult for the labor so special skilled person is

11. Example of light transmitting concrete:

PRODUCT Litracon- Light Transmitting Concrete

FORM Prefabricated blocks

INGREDIENT 96% concrete, 4% optical fiber

DENSITY 2100-2400 Kg/m2

BLOCK SIZE 600mm x 300mm

THICKNESS 25-500mm

COLOUR White, Grey or Black





Table 1: Properties of Transparent Concrete Blocks By Litracon Company



Kashiyani et al. A Study on Transparent Concrete: A Novel Architectural Material to Explore


F. Ansari. Practical Implementation of Optical Fiber Sensors in Civil Structural Health

Monitoring .Journal of Intelligent Material Systems and Structures, 18(8):879-889, 2007.

K.S.C. Kuang, M. Maalej, S.T. Quek. Hybrid optical fiber sensor system based on fiber Bragg
gratings and plastic optical fibers for health monitoring of engineering structures. Proc. of SPIE,
6174(61742P) 1-12, 2006.

Kalymnios. Plastic Optical Fibers (POF) in sensing current status and prospects. 17th
International Conference on Optical Fiber Sensors SPIE, 5855, 2005.