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10 building materials of the future

Innovation drives improvements in the construction industry. Over the years, they have made incredible strides in improving the efficiency and safety of large-scale projects: the impact of inventions can be seen in all sectors of the construction industry, from architectural software to construction machinery. But the most impressive is the building materials that allow you to create futuristic projects into reality.

It is already known that hemp can be used as an inexpensive, low-carbon method of reinforcing concrete, that plastic turns out to be stronger than steel, and mushroom-shaped columns are easy to print on a 3D printer.
Researchers are developing materials that work better and are less harmful to the environment. In the near future, we will see construction from natural substances, including hemp and mycelium, as well as synthetic materials like carbon fiber and high-quality plastic.

Bioplastic cladding

Made of Air, a German startup that produces environmentally friendly materials uses the eponymous patented bioplastic to absorb contaminants. It is a non-toxic substance made from biochar. The charcoal-like material is almost pure carbon and is produced by burning biomass, such as wood scraps and secondary agricultural materials (the process goes on without access to oxygen). Next, the biochar is mixed with a sugarcane binder, and a material is obtained that can be melted and molded like a conventional thermoplastic. Using bioplastics as a building material, the startup plans to keep up to a gigaton of carbon dioxide per year out of the atmosphere by 2050.

Alusion aluminum panels

Alusion panels are among the most innovative materials in the construction industry. They are a form of cladding made of stabilized aluminum foam. They are strong and lightweight like metal sponges, fireproof, soundproof, and easy to install. They are usually used as wall panels, ceilings, lamps, and floor coverings.

Mycelium 3D printed

While Stella McCartney makes fashionable tops from mycelium, builders master the branching vegetative part of the fungus for their own purposes. The London-based company Blast Studio developed a method of 3D printing using mycelium and used it to form a support. The column was built by mixing mycelium with raw materials from used coffee cups collected throughout London. The harvested raw materials are fed into a custom-made extruder operating at low temperature – it is similar to the one used for 3D printing with clay. After printing in the form of mycelium, it absorbs paper cups and grows, capturing the entire support. At the same time, it additionally produces mushrooms that can be picked and eaten.

Light-generating cement

It turns out that cement can absorb sunlight during the day and emit light at night. Currently, light-generating cement comes in two colors, blue and green. This material can be used in parking lots, swimming pools, and on sidewalks.

Hemp armature

Hemp rebar is being developed at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the United States. It turns out that hemp is one of the most carbon-absorbing plants in the world. It is hoped that it will become an inexpensive low-carbon alternative to standard steel reinforcement, and will also avoid the problem of corrosion, prolonging the service life of concrete structures.

Self-healing concrete

This is an innovative type of concrete that mimics the self-healing properties of the human body. It is believed that this could be a breakthrough in the construction industry. The material will allow you to create structures without worrying about their intensive maintenance and damage. Self-healing concrete is produced by mixing adhesive properties and healing agents or bacteria in a concrete mixture. Such properties of concrete increase its service life and reduce repair costs. It can be a wonderful material for sidewalks and parking lots. While this technology is still at the research stage.

3-D graphene

Graphene is a single atomic layer of carbon atoms organized into a hexagonal lattice. When sheets of graphene are neatly stacked on top of each other, they form a three-dimensional shape. This innovative building material is ten times stronger than steel with a density of only 5%. Cylindrical structures are created from 3D graphene to support skyscrapers and other tall buildings.

Carbon reinforced concrete

This newly developed type of concrete is reinforced with carbon fiber filaments, so a design of the same strength requires much less of the concrete itself. Its creation was carried out by researchers from the Technical University of Dresden. The first Cube building has already been built using the new technology, the German architectural firm Henn was responsible for its construction – and in it the wall and ceiling are no longer separate components, but functionally merge with each other as an organic continuum Carbon concrete can be used not only to strengthen or repair bridges or structures. It enables new methods of construction: the material allows you to make the inner walls of buildings from panels only a few centimeters thick, which provides a slender and light aesthetics of the entire project. Thus, potential applications extend to the entire spectrum of construction equipment – whether it is reconstruction or new construction. Researchers are now exploring ways to create carbon fibers from lignin (rather than petroleum), a common plant-based substance that is a byproduct of the paper industry. It is predicted that biologically based carbon fibers will not yet be able to replace petroleum-based fibers, since they do not yet have the same characteristics.

Transparent wood

Transparent wood is a revolutionary invention in the construction industry. It has the same strength as lumber but is lighter. This advanced material is made by pressing and treating thin wood strips with polymers. Transparent wood is an excellent alternative to glass and plastic. It does not break on impact and is stronger than glass. It eliminates glare and helps maintain a constant temperature in the building. This material also reduces energy consumption by minimizing the need for artificial lighting. Usually, it is the roof and walls.

Bio-bricks from loofah

These bio-bricks, developed by researchers at the Indian School of Design and Innovation in Mumbai, consist of soil, cement, charcoal, and organic loofah fibers, better known as loofah, a plant that is commonly used to make bath sponges.
The key difference from conventional bricks is air. because the blocks contain more air pockets than the standard ones, making them 20 times more porous. These air bubbles, created by natural gaps in the loofah’s fibrous mesh, are important for plants and because they allow bricks to shelter the lives of animals and plants.

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