Over the years, the construction industry has continuously gone through a series of innovations. The innovations have seen a shift from the use of conventional construction materials to innovative construction materials. The technological advancements used in innovative construction materials have been employed to solve the problems and inadequacies faced by the use of conventional construction materials such as waste a lot of natural resources, pollution, environmental degradation, heaviness of the materials, bulkiness and the irregular shapes of the material. With the high demand for housing, rise in disasters and increased cost of construction, the innovative construction materials come in handy. Some materials have evolved over time and some are new innovative solutions.
What Is Innovation in Construction Materials?
Innovation in construction materials implies the development of the quality and properties characteristics of the building material. The reform can be brought in the previous material keeping the useful properties the same or a new material i.e alternative to the previous one can be introduced. Innovation in construction materials also implies improvements in processes, products, or services of construction.
Innovative materials came into existence when engineers and scientists saw there is need to improve on the widely used existing construction materials which have drawbacks, particularly on their impact on the environment.
Example of this is cement, despite it being versatile, low cost and practicality. Production of cement globally amounts to 5% CO2 emissions every year, according to 2017 study.
What Are Innovative Construction Materials?
Some of the innovative ideas about construction materials are listed below,
- Self-healing Concrete
- Bioplastic and 3D printed bioplastic
- 3D-printed Graphene
- ‘Programmable’ Cement
- Transparent Aluminium
- Hardwood Cross-Laminated Timber
- Precast Concrete
- Wool Brick
Concrete is commonly used construction around the world. Concrete’s ubiquity is perhaps only matched by the frequency with which it cracks. Researchers around the world are coming up with different types of self-healing concrete. A concrete with the capabilities to patch over its own fractures it is undoubtedly a boon to the building industry, eliminating cracks, repairs, and leaks, along with damp-proofing.
Its self-healing abilities come in the form of Bacillus bacteria, which is mixed with concrete before pouring. When a rupture is formed, limestone is created which fills in the crack. Since the bacteria within can lay dormant for up to 200 years, it’s a relatively long-term solution.
Although, the idea of a self-healing concrete has been around since ancient Rome, where it was used underwater, the modern approaches are comparatively more sophisticated.