Technological advances in building materials are providing new living options for people to suit a variety of lifestyles and needs. These advances are helping us to construct stronger, safer buildings, with materials that speed up the construction process, provide better regulation of temperature and, believe it or not, repel germs.
Concrete is the world’s most widely used building material. Although widely used, it still has its disadvantages due to cracking and exposure to water and chemicals. Dr. Erik Sclangen, who is the chair of “Experimental Micromechanics” at the faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, led the creation of and owns the patent on a self-healing concrete that can repair itself. The concrete is infused with limestone-producing bacteria, which becomes active and patches up damage once it comes into contact with rain water. The potential for cost savings as a result of the extended life of this self-healing material is significant.
The biotechnology start-up BioMason is also exploring the possibilities of using bacteria in smart building materials. Inspired by the study of coral growth and structure, the company has created bricks grown from bacterial by-products and other natural materials. Alternating layers of sand are mixed with bacteria, urea and calcium chloride to trigger chemical reactions that produce mineral growth that binds the layers of natural materials together to form a brick. Once the process is fully tested and refined, growing bricks instead of firing them in a kiln would dramatically reduce the number of annual carbon emissions.
Nanotechnolgy has been around for a few years, in both the science and medical industries. Its potential is now being explored by the construction industry to create a new kind of hollow, smart building material that, while incredibly lightweight, is as sturdy as any other existing materials.
When combined with high-strength concrete, nanomaterials create a bond strong enough to resist tension and compression, replacing the need for steel rebars in most buildings. The inclusion of this nanotechnology in concrete could expedite the process of constructing commercial buildings, speeding up project time.
More and more developers are using green materials to reduce energy costs and provide a safer and more efficient material for insulation. Areogel insulation is one of the lightest materials available, weighing just 0.16 milligrams per cubic centimeter and consisting of 99.8 percent air. It will not absorb water and as a result is ideally suited for thermal insulation. Areogel was originally conceived by NASA and is now available on the market for both commercial and residential use.
Here for the Future
PinPoint Commercial has extensive knowledge and experience in industrial, medical, senior housing and retail construction and land development, including utilizing the latest in energy-efficient, smart building materials. Contact us to learn more about our innovations.