Construction Materials of the Future

Construction Materials of the Future

June 17, 2019

In recent years, we have seen how progresses in science and technology have effected the construction world. Robotics and 3-D printing are just two innovations that are making exciting impacts throughout the industry. The following materials, however, are developing technologies that have benefits such as big cost savings and energy conservation.


"Frozen Smoke" Insulation



Also known as aerogel insulation, it is the lightest solid known, although it is over 90% air. It's incredibly strong for its weight and doesn't absorb water. For insulating, it can be formed into thin sheets that have up to 4 times the power of fiberglass or foam to keep heat or cold from passing through.


Cigarette Butt Bricks



Take a moment to think about how many people in the world are smokers. Need help? There are over 1 million tons of cigarette butt waste every year! That's a lot of butts! A cigarette filter can take up to 10 years to decompose which means that not only is it litter, but it's leaving toxins that leak into the ground and waterways. The good news is researchers have found a way to reduce this threat. They developed a brick that is light, energy efficient, and made of cigarette butts.


Self-Healing Concrete



This technology works when water gets into cracks of concrete and reactivates bacteria that was mixed into the concrete. Once activated, the bacteria excretes calcite and heals the crack. This helps the construction industry by adding years to the life of concrete.


Transparent Aluminum



What do you get when you apply laser technology to aluminum oxynitride? You get a bullet-proof material that looks like glass but is as strong as steel. In the video below, a 1.6" thick AION plate resists a .50 AP bullet. AION is manufactured by Massachusetts-based Surmet Corporation.


Interlocking Bamboo



Bamboo is a remarkable renewable resource. It is one of the fastest growing plants in the world with some species growing as much as 36 inches within a 24-hour period. It is also incredibly strong and resilient. Cities have been built using these structures because they are scalable and can expand into almost any direction.


Light-Generating Cement



Dr. Jose Carlos Rubio Avalos of the UMSNH of Morelia developed a cement that can absorb and radiate light energy. Applications for this product are very broad, including pathways, swimming pools, parking lots, road signs, as well as oil platforms. Plus, it can be created at room temperature which means the energy use is lower than regular cement.


Smart Bricks



This construction material connects together like 'Lego' toy blocks. The design gives room for elements like insulation, electric wiring, pipes, plumbing, HVAC, and more. In the event that an element, such as a faulty wire, is in need of maintenance, there is no need to knock down a wall or rip up a floor since the "insides" of a smart brick structure are easily accessible.


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