Six futuristic construction materials that will change the way we build stuff
Wed 30 Apr 2014
One for science lovers, yes, but this is aimed at the technologists and engineers wrestling with today’s industry, business and environmental challenges. This Business Insider article by Dina Spector gives a quick, simplistic run down of what these materials are, what makes them unique and some ideas for their potential application.
Some, like graphene have received widespread publicity already but there is also a super water-proof material, a material that can be compressed into a space 95% its normal area and then pulled back to its original form without being damaged, an ultra-thin material that protects against high-speed objects and a lightweight, bone-like material that’s stronger than steel.
Here’s one example of the coverage:
Live bacteria is used to make self-healing concrete.
What it is: Concrete is a popular building material, but it’s vulnerable to cracks. Water and chloride from icing salt can seep into pre-existing fissures and make them larger. Overtime, this can become a dangerous (and expensive) problem. Self-healing concrete, developed by scientists at Delft University in the Netherlands, uses live bacteria — mixed into the concrete before it is poured — to seal up those fractures.
How it’s transformative: When water gets into the cracks, the bacteria is activated and produces a component in limestone called calcite that fills up the crack completely. Researchers are still conducting outdoor tests to see if the concrete can be put to real use.
Suggested uses: Sidewalks, building foundations, other architectural structures