Unconventional Concrete. The Amazing Things People Do with Concrete

Unconventional Concrete.

Concrete is everywhere in our urban lives. Walls, foot paths, sculpture and swimming pools all made from concrete. Concrete is the modern marvel of construction, without which we would have no towering sky scrapers, no Panama canal, no dams nor the ability to transport megalitres though concrete pipes. We would not enjoy the advantages of electricity with no power stations constructed from concrete. So much of our modern life is defined by the building materials that we are shaped by. From our housing to our workplaces concrete defines our world and the ways we interact with it. But what are modern thinkers dreaming up for the future of concrete?

The Wonderful.

Air Purifying Concrete

Air Purifying Concrete

Researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology, Netherlands have been testing a very exciting new formula for concrete. Initially designed for the use in constructing roads this particular concrete blend actually absorbs and harmlessly processes Nitrogen Oxides from the emissions of the cars that traverse it. Within the cement that forms these bricks is contained a mixture of Titanium dioxide. As the smog attaches itself to the substrate of the brick a catalytic process occurs with sunlight, the Titanium dioxide and Nitrogen and sulphur oxides. The process breaks down the oxides into water, oxygen, carbon dioxide, nitrates and sulphates, which harmlessly wash away. This all occurs with no diminishing of the Titanium, so the bricks have an extraordinarily long functionality. The Dives de Misericordia in Rome is a recently constructed Church that has embraced modern materials in the construction. Using a Titanium dioxide laden concrete the edifice was constructed to last a thousand years and to remain pristine white for the duration.

The Weird

Litracon

An enterprising young architect Aron Losonczi who conducted experiments into the constituents of concrete and created a concrete that transmits light. With a careful blend the cement optic fibre cables are laid as part of the aggregate structure. Ensuring that both ends of the cables abut the surface of the concrete allows light to be transmitted through the concrete creating a diaphanous effect in concrete. This is a very recent development in the structure and functionality of concrete. Concrete has often been seen as a sterile, bland and efficient material that eschews beauty over function. However in blending different aggregates with cement new and innovative uses for concrete are being concocted.

The Wacky

Concrete Espresso Machine?

Concrete Espresso Machine?

Designers in a variety of formats outside of traditional construction are looking to concrete as promising material. Concrete has such durability and working with a medium that moves from a liquid and condenses to how it is moulded gives concrete great appeal. All kinds of devices are being fashioned from concrete; Shmuel Linski of Israel has created a concrete espresso machine. It only has two settings for long or short espressos. Sturdy and functional within a modern urban setting. Tech and concrete have rarely mixed well, but new designs in USB technology have emerged with concrete USB sticks. Two designers seem to have a range of USB sticks in concrete with capacities up to 4 gigabytes.

 

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Thankyou for reading this article.

 

Jamie Grant

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