Research and development of ultra-high performance fiber-reinforced cementitious composites

In recent decades, significant research progress has been made in the development of high-performance fiber-reinforced cementitious materials [e.g., Engineered Cementitious Composite (ECC) and Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC)], which are promising for construction of sustainable concrete infrastructures. ECC shows significant tensile strain-hardening and multiple-cracking characteristics, and UHPC shows ultra-high compressive strength, high tensile strength, and excellent durability. Recently, through the use of high modulus polyethylene (HMPE) fibers and based on micro-mechanic design, our group has successfully developed an ultra-high-performance engineered cementitious composite (UHP-ECC), which combines the properties of strain-hardening, multiple cracking, and ultra-high mechanical strength. The compressive strength of UHP-ECC reached 150 MPa, whereas the tensile strength and strain capacity of the UHP-ECC were 18 MPa and 8%, respectively. Such material has great potential in the application of concrete structures, especially those subjected to complex mechanical loading conditions and severe environmental attacks.


UHP-ECC can be reinforced by conventional steel reinforcement or fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) reinforcement. The combined use of UHP-ECC and FRP is a promising approach to develop a structural component with high strength, durability and ductility. Our current research is focused on the development of FRP-reinforced UHP-ECC as stay-in-place permanent formwork for marine concrete structures. The FRP-reinforced UHP-ECC layer is used as formwork during concrete casting to improve the construction efficiency, and in the meantime, as an external protective layer of the cast member to enhance its long-term durability (Fig. 5.1). In addition, our efforts also extend to the development of UHP-ECC using seawater and sea-sand directly (i.e., seawater sea-sand UHP-ECC), which can be used in marine construction for improved structural performance, durability and sustainability.

Fig.5.1 FRP-reinforced UHP-ECC as a permanent formwork and protective layer

Selected Publications

  1. Huang, B.T., Zhu, J.X., Weng, K.F., Huang, J.Q.* and Dai, J.G.* (2022), Prefabricated UHPC-Concrete-ECC Underground Utility Tunnel Reinforced by Perforated Steel Plate: Experimental and Numerical Investigations, Case Studies in Construction Materials, 16, e00856,  (DOI)

  2. Dai, J.G., Huang, B.T. and Shah, Surendra P. (2021), Recent advances in strain-hardening UHPC with synthetic fibers, Journal of Composites Science, 5(10), 283. [DOI]

  3. Xu, L.Y., Huang, B. T.*, Li, Victor C. and Dai, J.G.* (2022), High-strength high-ductility Engineered/Strain-Hardening Cementitious Composites (ECC/SHCC) incorporating geopolymer fine aggregates, Cement and Concrete Composites, 125, 104296.  (DOI)

  4. Xu, L. Y., Huang, B.T.* and Dai, J.G.* (2021), Development of Engineered Cementitious Composites (ECC) Using Artificial Fine Aggregates, Construction and Building Materials, 305, 124742. (DOI)

  5. Huang, B.T., Dai, J.G.*, Weng, K.F., Zhu, J.X. and Shah, Surendra P. (2021), Flexural Performance of UHPC-Concrete-ECC Composite Member Reinforced with Perforated Steel Plates, ASCE Journal of Structural Engineering, 147(6), 04021065. (DOI)

  6.  Huang, B.T., Weng, K.F., Zhu, J.X., Xiang, Y.*, Dai, J.G.* and Li, V.C. (2021), Engineered/Strain-Hardening Cementitious Composites (ECC/SHCC) with an Ultra-High Compressive Strength over 210 MPa, Composites Communications, 26, 100775 (DOI)

  7. Huang, B.-T., Wu, J.G., Yu, J.*, Dai, J.-G.*, Leung, Christopher K.Y., Li, Victor C. (2021). Seawater Sea-sand Engineered/Strain-Hardening Cementitious Composites (ECC/SHCC): Assessment and modeling of crack characteristics, Cement and Concrete Research, 140, 106292, (DOI)

  8. Huang, B.T., Wang, Y.T., Wu, J.Q., Yu, J.*, Dai, J.G. and Leung, Christopher K.Y. (2021), Effect of Fiber Content on Mechanical Performance and Cracking Characteristics of Ultra-high-performance Seawater Sea-sand Concrete (UHP-SSC), Advances in Structural Engineering 24(6), 1182-1195, (DOI)

  9. Huang, B.-T., Wu, J.G., Yu, J.*, Dai, J.-G.*, Leung, Christopher K.Y. (2020). High-strength Seawater Sea-sand Engineered Cementitious Composites (SS-ECC): Mechanical performance and probabilistic modeling, Cement and Concrete Composites, 114: 103740, (DOI)

  10. Huang, B.-T., Yu, J.*, Wu, J.-Q., Dai, J.-G.*, Leung, Christopher K.Y. (2020). Seawater sea-sand Engineered Cementitious Composites (SS-ECC) for marine and coastal applications. Composites Communications, 20,100353. (DOI)

  11. Yu, K.-Q., Lu, Z.-D., Dai, J.-G.*, Shah, S.P. (2020). Direct Tensile Properties and Stress-Strain Model of UHP-ECC.  Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering, 32(1),04019334. (DOI)

  12. Yu, K.Q., Dai, J.G.*, Lu, Z.D. and Poon, C.S. (2018), Rate-dependent Tensile Properties of Ultra-high Performance Engineered Cementitious Composites (UHP-ECC), Cement and Concrete Composites, 93: 218-234. (DOI)

  13. Yu, K.Q., Yu, J.T., Dai, J.G.*, Lu, Z.D. and Shah Surendra P. (2018), Development of Ultra-high-performance Engineered Cementitious Composites using PE Fibers, Construction and Building Materials, 158(15): 217-227. (DOI)

  14.  Yu, K.Q., Dai, J.G.*, Lu, Z.D. and Leung, Christopher, K.Y.(2015), Mechanical Properties of Engineered Cementitious Composites Subjected to Elevated Temperature, ASCE, Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering, 27(10), 04014268: 1-11. (DOI)


Selected Projects

  • RGC Theme-based Research 2018/2019 Round, Co-PI, Sustainable Marine Infrastructure Enabled by the Innovative Use of Seawater Sea-Sand Concrete and Fibre-Reinforced Polymer Composites, HK$ 40,014,000, Project code: T22-502/18-R, PI: Prof JG Teng (PolyU).

  • ITF-ITSP-Tier 2, 2019 Round, PI, Research and Development on FRP-Reinforced UHPC Formwork for Semi-Prefabricated Construction of Marine Concrete Structures, HK$2,300,000, Project code: ITF/077/18FX., 07/2019~06/2021

  • PolyU Post-doctoral Fellowship, Use of Ultra-high Performance ECC and FRP for Development of Stay-in-place Permanent Formwork for Sustainable Marine Infrastructures, Project Code: YW4K, HK$771,000, 07/2019-07/2021.

Dai Group on Sustainable
           Concrete Infrastructure
                         -Emerging Materials and Structural Systems