Bad Reputation

 Thanks to decades of unimaginative work, concrete has developed a bad reputation for a dull, boring medium for use in construction.  Things are changing and they are changing rapidly.  Having said that, some of our most amazing contemporary architecture has used concrete in creative ways.  

       In recent years, architects to scientist have changed what we know and how we think about concrete.  What has our view on concrete been? A non-flexible, opaque material that can be used in a myriad of applications.  Well, that is not the case anymore! Scientists at the University of Michigan developed a new type of concrete that looks like regular concrete, but is up to 500 times more resistant to cracking and 40 times lighter in weight!  What can partly account for this incredible durability and performance is 2% of the volume’s mixture is comprised of tiny fibers.  Using this type of concrete results in lower costs in the long run, as it is expected to cost less in repair.  This concrete has already been used in places like Switzerland, Japan, Korea and Australia, but has been slow to adapt in North America.  

       Although fiber-reinforced concrete is not a new concept, this material has been engineered; scientist have designed the materials in the concrete to make it more flexible.  This makes the concrete bendable.

        Another interesting form of concrete that has recently been brought to the attention of the media following the devastating 2010 earthquake in Haiti is ‘concrete canvas’.  Concrete canvas shelters that are rapidly deployable, have been deemed perfect for shelters for Haiti following the earthquake.  Furthermore, this initially highly flexible material has been used for use of interesting interior design pieces.

       Lastly, and probably my personal favorite….light transmitting concrete: created by mixing concrete and glass fiber optical strands to create a solid yet translucent block that can be used for floors, pavements, counter tops and load-bearing walls.

Part of the original prototype work

Part of the original prototype work

One Response to “Bad Reputation”
  1. Mr WordPress says:

    Hi, this is a comment.
    To delete a comment, just log in, and view the posts’ comments, there you will have the option to edit or delete them.

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