The Latest Innovations in the Field of Construction.

Since Science and technology have made advances in every field, it is expected that it would have made progress in the field of construction as well, and this stands true. There is constant research going on in this area and there have been significant discoveries that have been made already. Let us take a look at some of the developments made in this area:

  • Self-Healing Concrete: Concrete is the most used construction material in the world. Concrete is cheap and adaptable. However, it develops cracks over time and erodes under adverse conditions. Till now the only way to fix these cracks was to patch the cracks up. However, in 2010, a graduate student and chemical engineering professor at the University of Rhode Island created a new type of “smart” concrete that “heals” its own cracks. The concrete mix is embedded with tiny capsules of sodium silicate. When a crack forms, the capsules rupture and release a gel-like healing agent that hardens to fill the void. Therefore, we now have a self-healing construction material.

  • Carbon Nanotubes: By using cutting-edge techniques like electron-beam lithography, scientists and engineers have successfully created tubes of carbon with walls that are only 1 nanometer thick. Carbon nanotubes have the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any material on Earth and can be stretched a million times longer than their thickness. Carbon nanotubes are so light and strong that they can be embedded into other building materials like metals, concrete, wood and glass to add density and tensile strength.

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  • Transparent Aluminum: Since 1980s, scientists have been trying to make a construction material that is thin, and has strength and durability. They found it in a powdery mixture of aluminum, oxygen and nitrogen. Transparent Aluminum is made by heating the mixture for days at 2,000 degrees C (3,632 degrees F) after which it is finally polished to produce a perfectly clear, glass-like material with the strength of aluminum.

  • Permeable Concrete: Permeable Concrete is made with larger grains of rock and sand, leaving between 15 and 35 percent of open space in the pavement. Slabs of permeable concrete are laid atop gravel or another porous base material that lets rainwater settle to the soil substrate beneath. Permeable concrete is an excellent replacement for asphalt in parking lots. Not only does it significantly decrease runoff, but also the lighter color of concrete reflects sunlight and stays cooler in the summer.

  • Aerogel Insulation: Aerogel is as light as air and is one of the least dense substances on Earth. It is almost weightless but can be spun out into thin sheets of aerogel fabric. In construction projects, aerogel fabric demonstrates “super-insulating” properties. Its porous structure makes it difficult for heat to pass through. In tests, aerogel fabric had two to four times the insulating power of traditional fiberglass or foam insulation.

These are some of the most recent construction materials that were discovered by Science. We can expect many more to flood the market soon.