Innovation encourages economic growth and development in every industry. Advances in technology and manufacturing promote the use of concrete and cement-based products in the construction world. Concrete continues to provide solutions for issues facing people and communities everywhere. Experimentation in the architectural merits of concrete continues to drive innovation in building design, in both the residential and commercial space. Anyone who has seen the new Len Lye building in New Plymouth will vouch for that. Here are some innovations in concrete that are taking the world by storm and changing the way we build with concrete.
New Technologies In Concrete
In a new development, adding optical fibers to a concrete mix has been found to produce translucent concrete. This emerging material with properties of being translucent because of embedded fiber optics is being used for architectural applications. This breaks boundaries in the perception of concrete as an opaque mass.
Self-Compacting Concrete (SCC)
Self-Compacting Concrete (SCC) does not need any mechanical consolidation or vibration as it is able to flow under its own weight to completely fill formwork for a smooth surface finish. It does not need mix segregation for maintaining homogeneity. It can spreads into place even in the most congested environment and consolidate without the need for vibrating compaction. Self Consolidating Concrete (SCC) is a high-performance concrete that is able to retain all the traditional strengths of concrete such as mechanical and durability characteristics, while optimizing labor and skills needed, providing a safer working environment.
Photocatalysts are incorporated within the concrete mix to produce de-polluting concrete. These photocatalysts decompose organic materials such as dirt, mold and bacteria providing environmental benefits. It improves endurance and aesthetics of a concrete structure keeping it looking like new for longer.
Decorative concrete enhanced with texture or colors are generally used for concrete flatwork or for other building elements such as panels. White cement made of select materials containing tiny amounts of iron and manganese oxides (these give cement a gray color) is now the rage in decorative concrete. Lighter shades of concrete are ever so popular now, but new coloring agents can be combined with gray cement to produce even red, tan, and dark gray tones. Think of all the aesthetic building design possibilities it opens up. Different techniques like chemical surface retarders, sandblasting, water blasting, or acid etching are now used to expose the aggregate particles in order to create stunning decorative concrete surfaces.
Reactive Powder Concrete
The use of steel and synthetic fibers in concrete creates this new-age building material known as Reactive powder concrete, with massive tensile strength. It also has compressive strengths of 30,000 pounds per square inch (psi), without using any coarse aggregates, making it extremely durable.
Load-Bearing Wall (LBW) Formwork
With the huge growth in high rise residential construction, the LBW system is immensely popular. The walls and slabs are poured simultaneously with the tunnel form construction methods. For fast track construction, the forms are stripped in 24 hours. The benefits of using aluminum forms are superior to using plywood for formed cast-in place concrete, which gives the forms additional dimensional stability. It vastly improves the quality of the pour, with tighter tolerances and helps casting of all walls, floor slabs, beams, columns, stairs and even balconies.
Tilt-Up construction industry is growing exponentially, with record lifts nearing 100 feet and over 10,000 buildings covering more than 650 million square feet being constructed annually in the U.S. It is possible to cut labor costs with streamlined production using embedded facers cast integrally with wall panel Tilt-Up systems are low maintenance with minimal capital investments but offering the same durability and speed of traditional concrete construction. There are also some changes that can be made in the forming and pouring system to enable contractors to insulate panels during their construction or even after the building is erected. Modifications like sandwich wall systems, higher side forms or concrete placement on separate days all help improve insulation.
Aerated Autoclaved Concrete
Aerated Autoclaved Concrete block (AAC) is a form of lightweight masonry. AAC blocks are produced out of a mix of sand, water, pulverized fly ash (PFA), quicklime, cement and gypsum. It is hardened by steam-curing and is perfect for low-rise bearing walls, AAC Blocks are lightweight and about three times lighter than red bricks offering flexibility and durability. They are a good load-bearing, high-insulating durable building product, now available in a wide range of sizes and strengths. AAC Blocks have super heat, fire and good sound resistance too. AAC can help improve building quality while reducing construction costs.
Insulated Concrete Form
ICF construction uses high-strength reinforced concrete between two layers of light, highly insulated expanded polystyrene insulation (EPS) or foam to form the shape of a wall, with impressive characteristics like air tightness, strength, insulation, and mass. Besides quick construction time, energy savings and improved durability, Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) walls being used in residential and commercial markets have shown exceptional results for resistance to catastrophes including fire, wind, and tornados. ICFs are being used to build walls for all types of buildings, with any interior or exterior finish. There are over 20 brands of ICFs in North America, with different variations in design and materials. Several manufacturers have additional forming components that enable construction of attached concrete floors and/or roofs too. It is also possible to create features such as curved walls and frequent corners, much less inexpensively with an ICF wall.
Concrete has been around for centuries but it is continually evolving as a construction and design material. Davis Concrete is the number one choice of contractors and concrete experts in the Tampa Bay area. We take pride in our legacy of over 60 years of outstanding work and satisfied clients. Call us at (800) 910-6928.