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New Innovative Building Materials Revolutionizing the Construction Industry

July 6, 2017 | Written by: Gary Bizek

New innovations in building materials are always taking place in different parts of the world. The speed with which new materials are being made is faster than at which they are embraced. Many new construction technologies are now available to consumers, but many others are still waiting to make it to the market.

The need for more durable building materials has become a serious concern as the bridges and large structures made in the past require extensive maintenance and repairs.

New Innovative Concrete
Here are some innovative building materials which are being used in different parts of the world.

High Performance Concrete
The common incidence of cracks in concrete-based bridge decks has inspired the industry to choose High Performance Concrete mixes. This led to the development of 4 types of concrete:

  • The Very High Early Strength Concrete
  • Very High Strength Concrete
  • High Early Strength Concrete
  • High Early Strength Concrete with Fiber Reinforcement

Self-Compacting Concrete
This type of high-performance concrete was first used in Japan. It can be used in applications where heavily reinforced structures are involved. This type of concrete leaves the batching plant in semi-fluid form and there is no need for vibrators when it is added to the formwork. Its fluidity allows it to get into the formwork and reinforcement before self-compacting.

It usually makes use of the following materials:

  • Cement
  • Aggregates (fine & coarse)
  • Polymer-based admixtures
  • Water

Condensed Silica Fume
Condensed silica fume is obtained a byproduct from ferro-silicon industrial processes. Its uniqueness lies in its particle size, which is almost hundred times lesser than cement’s. It is so small that it occupies the voids between cement particles, thus creating denser concrete and reducing the need for water. It is used to make highly durable concrete. Since it is currently expensive, it is limited to construction projects where extremely high strength concrete is required.

Innovative Building Materials of the Future
The above-mentioned building materials are in common use in one way or the other, but there are many new innovative materials which are still in the test phase. Some of these new developments include:

  • Thermoplastic Carbon Fiber: The CABKOMA Strand Rod is the lightest anti-seismic reinforcement which has been developed in Japan. Inorganic and synthetic fibers are used to cover carbon fibers and a coating of thermoplastic resin is applied.
  • Bioconcrete: Have you ever wondered about concrete that can repair itself. TU Delft is a type of bioconcrete that can repair itself throughout its composition, not just on the surface. It repairs cracks and prevents water from getting through corroding steel.
  • Graphene: Graphene is not a new type of material, but it was never a practical option for construction. It has been unfortunate that it couldn’t be used in the industry. Graphene is the perfect building material in terms of strength and weight. It is stronger than carbon fiber and steel and is quite lightweight. It can also be used with conventional materials for creating stronger cables and beams. A new method called chemical vapor deposition makes it possible to use this material. Scientists are also working on reducing costs and improving scalability.

These are some of the innovative building materials which are being increasingly used in the construction industry.