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The future of construction: new materials and technologies

News
More than 2,000 materials are used in state-of-the-art construction these days - and it is sometimes hard to work out what the underlying products are. However, what are the materials of the future? How do they differ from traditional materials? To answer that question, we review some of the most fascinating and promising developments.

Transparent aluminium

 

Yes, you read that correctly: scientists have invented such a material: however, its production is expensive and complex – costing almost 5 dollars per square centimetre.


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Transparent aluminium. Photo from p4.tabor.ru

 

Transparent Aluminium Armour or aluminium oxynitride combines aluminium, oxygen and nitrogen. The transparent solid mass is four times harder than fused silica glass.  It can stand in for bulletproof glass or replace glass for pavement lights. The material is scratchproof and blast-resistant and at the same  two times lighter and thinner than ordinary armoured glass. 
 

Translucent concrete

 

This material was created by builders and not scientists. Hundreds of thousands of optical fibres are deployed in the structure of the composite material created from high-strength cement, fine marble or granite chip. The end result is a very robust, semi-transparent material, which also lights up.


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Translucent concrete. Photo from samstroy.com
 

Green concrete

 

Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology propose the production of “green” concrete, with organic materials used instead of cement, for example, bones, shells and sea sponge. This development  will resolve two serious issues: it helps to save on energy during the production of concrete and eliminates the appearance of cracks during its use. Unfortunately, for the time being such concrete is still very expensive.


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Concrete blocks. Photo from techexplorist.com
 

Mushroom bricks and furniture

 

Materials suitable for construction, interiors or packaging can be made from mycelium (vegetative type of fungus). If mushrooms are mixed with corn and oat husk, the mixture is given the necessary shape and left in the dark, it will be transformed into cement. The mushrooms process the “food” for several days, and you end up with a  homogenous mass, which is then placed in a kiln. The light,  robust fire-resistant and moisture-proof product brings to mind polystyrene.


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The chair, made of mycelium (vegetative type of fungus). Photo from gregorythomas.net

 

The research company Ecovative Design, specialising in mushroom-based technologies, has proposed making bricks from mycelium. They come in any configuration – the mushroom grows rapidly, filling the shape, is extracted and undergoes heat treatment. The bricks are robust, but also light. They also have another advantage. They are easy to repair, restore and replace. Incidentally, mushrooms can also be used as the support frame for the construction of wooden houses, and also as a heat insulator. 


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Bricks made of mushrooms. Photo from static1.squarespace.com
 

Innovative protective coating 

 

A new coating made from zirconium, carbon plastic and oxygen can be inserted on wood, metal, plastic, glass or fibre. To obtain different shades, these components need to be mixed in different proportions. The material was invented for kitchen design, but can also be used to protect different gadgets, for example ‘intelligent” watches or smartphones. 


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A new coating made from zirconium, carbon plastic and oxygen. Photo from rb.ru

 

What do you think, which of these materials will be produced massively? Which one did you like more than others?


Source: WorldBuild365