Sweeping breakthroughs in technology throughout the past decade have affected anyone and everyone – especially in one of the biggest industries in the world: the construction industry.
The unique blend of construction and technology has prompted innovation (even in concrete and concrete forming) on a greater scale. This is in hopes of bringing newer solutions to the table designed to reduce adverse environmental impact, improve material functionality, and lead to an overall increase in the choices available for companies and clients alike.
Here are the 5 top modern concrete materials to keep an eye on heading into 2019:
Concrete Will Get A Makeover
It is practically impossible to separate construction from concrete – however, 2019 is expected to be the year when the industry moves away from general Portland cement concrete. There are a number of high profile alternatives emerging. However, we’ll focus on the brightest prospect:
Concrete is a durable product, but it does eventually crack. These cracks, if left unnoticed, can lead to entire structural collapses that can lead to serious damages and a loss of lives.
However, scientists in the Netherlands have come up with a “self-healing” concrete based on an autonomous repair system which can heal possible cracks!
The concrete is reinforced with specially selected bacteria inside the concrete. When it cracks, the bacteria come into contact with water (from leakages) and oxygen, converting certain nutrients into calcium carbonate, more commonly known as limestone – thus, repairing the crack on its own.
Timber, being the primary fodder before concrete usurped its importance due to greater strength and durability, is not new to the construction industry.
However, owing to recent advancements, timber is set for a resurgence in the construction arena. Glulam; also known as laminated timber, is bonded to formulate a more advanced, water-resistant and durable option than the conventional wood as a raw material.
Not only is the new product easier on the pocket, but also Glulam’s core benefit remains its ability to reduce wood usage as a whole in the construction process. According to one report, this new product can lead to a reduction of 3,000 tons of carbon emissions for a 20-story building.
Bacteria aren’t the only living organisms primed to revolutionize the construction industry –algae are also touted as being highly beneficial in sustainable construction. Algae fuel has already been researched as an alternative to traditional liquid fossil fuels.
Although there are doubts about the efficiency of placing algae in our fuel tanks, there is a great amount of advantage in it being placed around construction sites. The concept of a bioreactor integrated into buildings involves algae set into flat panels. These panels are placed in the front of a building and are pumped with water, nutrients, and carbon dioxide.
The algae make use of the sun to start the photosynthesizing process, which eventually leads to energy creation. The result? A highly sustainable structure that is energy independent and efficient. In an ideal scenario, these algae filled walls reduce energy consumption and provide additional thermal regulation for the structure.
Fire Proof Plastic Cladding
Plastic cladding was long known to serve multiple purposes in its time.
The 2017 Grenfell Tower blaze in London left the industry searching for an alternative, as the plastic-backed aluminum cladding aided in spreading the fire quickly, claiming the lives of 72 people; and leading to newer regulations that tightened the use of such combustible plastic cladding.
The solution has been discovered in the tiny ceramic particles that cover your electrical wires. Cladding needs to withstand very high temperatures (in the range of 1382˚ Fahrenheit) – and these ceramic particles interact with each other to form a heat-resistant layer throughout the material. The composition of the particles makes this an effective candidate for the replacement of plastic cladding. To get the best out of modern innovations, construction companies require the supplies and expertise needed for efficient integration of technology. With Forming America, our partners get decades worth of experience and a trusted network of supplies necessary to excel in this industry. If you want to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today!
OK, so concrete will still be a major factor in construction and it’s not going to change any time soon. What will change however is how it’s being used on site. With an increased usage of insulated concrete forms, which allows for a thicker, more solid structure, and other advancements, it’s kind of like a new material.
The Inter-Industry Connectivity Will Continue To Grow
The construction industry has embraced high-tech solutions that increase productivity and efficiency. Deep analytics and related data-driven software solutions have become a force to be reckoned with, offering real-time access to on-site progress.
Project supervisors and off-site managers gain insight into crucial information required to map out the future course of action, such as how many workers are currently on the site. Additionally, the introduction of cloud-based storage and information sharing technology has expanded the horizon for instant access to work progress and data in terms of service calls, customer feedback, and communication with on-field technicians and supervisors.
If you add expanding UAV usage and 3D mapping into the mix, you have an industry that is doing away with hefty paperwork and making use of refined analytics to propel growth, which is a trend that will continue to grow throughout 2019.