There is absolutely no denying that we’re moving towards a revolutionary future in construction. The way home builders construct our homes, engineers build our bridges, construction workers patch up our roads, and everything else in the construction industry is changing rapidly. Construction companies are finding themselves having to get on board, and quickly, with the new technology available. We are seeing that today’s revolutionary construction materials are not only brand new technology that construction workers will have to learn, but they are also sustainable, and meant to last for the long run. So what are the main new and exciting construction materials that we’ll be seeing in the new year and beyond? Let’s investigate.
Insulation has traditionally been foam, blanket, or blown-in, and can be made of several different types of material, depending on what you need it for. It’s a vital part of building a home or other buildings, as it insulates us from the elements and helps save on energy bills. Insulation has usually been made of out extremely fine fibreglass fibres, which can also be made from recycled glass. This is a fairly sustainable method of insulating, but we can do better. We’re starting to see new insulation types that use other recycled materials, like paper, to save on costs and to work on sustainable building that also helps with things like fire deterring. We’ll go into other types of new sustainable building materials below as well.
One of the most exciting new materials used for insulation is a material called Aerogel. Developed by NASA for things like the space shuttle, Aerogel has double the effectiveness of traditional insulation, and is made up of quite a bit of air, making it an extremely helpful material to use. Now just for the price to drop on it!
Self healing concrete
The buzzword in construction companies these days is self healing concrete. From affordable bathroom renovations to ten story buildings, builders are looking at using this revolutionary new trend in any way possible.
Essentially, self healing concrete is as it sounds. With bacteria injected into the concrete that produce limestone naturally, all that needs to happen is a crack in the concrete, and a bit of water, for the bacteria to become activated and start binding together. Bacteria can lay dormant for hundreds of years, which could mean that in three decades, for example, a bridge that develops cracks could still begin to self heal with this technology. All it would take is a bit of rain into the crack to get those bacteria working.
Concrete cracks and breaks easily, especially over long periods of time. We use concrete all over the world for anything from building our homes, to skyscrapers, to the roads we drive on, so this technology can change maintenance forever and help us become less reliant on the material. Unfortunately, it is quite expensive due to the cost of the bacteria, so for now this material is a bit out of reach for traditional concrete projects.
Carbon Fibre is an extremely lightweight and strong material, making it a trend we’ll start seeing more of in the coming years. The material is lighter than steel, and moldable, making it an excellent building material. Because it’s so lightweight, homeowners could potentially move a home quite easily, and can build their home quicker. It’s also cheaper and more customisable than steel. Think along the lines of a mobile scaffolding platform made of carbon fibre, which would allow you to move it around much easier and be able to hold more than traditional scaffolding. You can read more about the material, here.
Sustainable building materials continue to rise in popularity (and necessity) as we continue to realise how desperately we need to change. There’s many new green materials that have been developed over the years, with some very exciting ones that we’ll go through below.
This material is not only made up of recycled materials, but it also can withstand crazy amounts of heat. It can set in minutes, rather than waiting around for days, and is extremely durable. It’s biggest asset, besides having a lower carbon footprint than concrete, is definitely its fire resistant capabilities. Other materials can melt or even explode at high temperatures, but liquid granite can last longer in extreme heat.
This one sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie from the future, but the future is here when it comes to finding alternative energies. Kinetic footfall harnesses energy from people walking on tiles that store the energy. The tiles have been used in several cities, and as promotional opportunities, like during a popular Paris marathon.
Perhaps the most revolutionary materials in the sustainability world are all the products made from recycled things. Things like bricks made out of cigarette butts, decorative walls made from old wine corks, or decorative bricks made from plastic bags, are challenging how we reduce, reuse and recycle. We may start seeing traditional materials, like a polyethylene tank being made out of recycled plastics in the future. We also will definitely continue seeing things like aluminium scaffolding, as aluminium is an easily recycled material.
One of the most exciting materials is electrified wood, which literarily presses electrical conducting materials into the wood, so that no cables or cords are needed. Think about a stadium floor, for example, which would have electrified wood pieces surrounding the edges, which would completely eliminate the need for cables running to the floor. Add in some kinetic footfall to power the floorboards and you’d have a stadium of the future!
It’s clear that the surge in revolutionary construction materials isn’t slowing down. We will continue to see amazing innovations that will forever change how we build and how we work on taking care of our planet.