For most people, the word concrete brings to mind the hard, grey material that makes up so many of our bridges and buildings. However, thanks to recent developments in technology, design and advanced formwork services, new forms of concrete have been developed that may change how we think of concrete going forward.
Recent Concrete Innovations
A research team at the Delft University of Technology has developed a type of concrete with the ability to repair itself. Typically, rebar has been the preferred method of providing additional support for concrete structures, regardless of location. Unfortunately, rebar has a tendency to rust in high humidity areas, weakening the entire structure over time.
Bio-concrete solved this problem by using a specific type of bacteria to fill in any cracks that form in the concrete. The bacteria and their food sources are incorporated into the concrete mixture in the form of small capsules. When water comes into contact with the capsules, the bacteria consume their food and excrete limestone to fill the cracks.
Concrete production produces a lot of carbon emissions, but it’s also one of the most affordable and durable building materials in the world. In order to help offset the mount of carbon emissions concrete production releases into the world, Novacem has come up with a type of concrete that absorbs and stores carbon.
Typically, translucent and concrete are not words you find together, but that may be changing soon. Translucent fibers are being imbedded within concrete to create something that looks a bit like a cross between a window and wall. The main use for this type of concrete is as a decorative element, but more practical uses may become clear as the substance becomes more readily available.
Flexible concrete is made using much the same process as translucent concrete, but the translucent fibers are replaced with densely packed organic or metallic fibers that resist chipping or cracking. Consequently, the mixture can be poured into thin structural components that are capable of spanning long distances without requiring steel reinforcement.
Because the material can be poured so thinly and the fibers within it are so resistant to breakage, the finished material maintains flexibility; even after curing. It’s also extremely lightweight, making it a good choice for light-rail train stations, bridges and stairwells.
Is This the Future of Concrete?
It may not seem like these new concrete innovations have much potential for practical application, but they’re catching on around the world. Will it be much longer before we see these new concrete technologies make their way into the U.S. concrete forming industry?
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