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LafargeHolcim supplies European XFEL

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World Cement,

The 3.4 km tunnel housing the world’s most powerful x-ray laser, the European XFEL new Hamburg, Germany, is lined with high-performance concrete from LafargeHolcim. The specialist concrete was delivered through Holcim Deutschland, LafargeHolcim’s local subsidiary in Germany.

The European XFEL generates intense x-ray flashes that are used by researchers from around the world for a range of purposes, including mapping the atomic details of viruses, filming chemical reactions, and studying the processes in the interior of planets.

For the project, LafargeHolcim’s concrete engineers developed specific concrete mixes to fulfill the contractors requirements for reduced content of aluminium, natrum, silica, and magnesium. These elements can be found in traditional concrete, but may have interfered with the highly sensitive measurements.

“Some concrete mixes for instance required the use of special limestone chippings to deliver particularly low silica levels,” LafargeHolcim said in a press release. “Together with the contractor, the group carried out extensive chemical and physical tests for every concrete mix to ensure the highest performance levels for the project could be reached.”

More prosaically, LafargeHolcim developed an integrated logistics system for the project to make sure deliveries complied with strict traffic, dust, and noise regulations.

LafargeHolcim is a multinational building materials company, employing some 90 000 people around the world, including 2200 in Germany. The company’s global R&D centre is located in Lyon, France, while the company also has extensive experience supporting tunnel construction, particularly in Switzerland, where the company is headquartered.

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