Where yours is working with concrete, part of my job consists of attempting to keep a cursor over the pulse of interesting findings of—and adjacent to—the concrete construction industry. I'm always looking for good stories—wherever I can find them.
Like you, I use my phone for most of my personal social media and wander through the maze of internet content. Sometimes I’ll find a post and leave it as an open tab in hopes of returning to it later. Sometimes that doesn’t happen. In the interest of spring cleaning, I thought I’d share those with you and include links online. (Who knows, maybe my phone will run faster.)
7 Interesting News Happenings About Concrete
Scientists from the University of Manchester set their minds to figure out how construction on other planets could work. Their proposal included AstroCrete–a concrete 300% stronger than ordinary concrete (so they say) made from human fluids like blood, urine, sweat, and tears.
In efforts to reduce the carbon footprint in the country’s concrete construction, engineers in Britain urged the government to avoid (but they really mean limit) demolishing buildings suggesting that they should reuse structures and any concrete infrastructure as much as possible. They cite concrete’s natural carbonation properties of absorbing CO2. Although, I would argue that they are referring to refurbishing only the structurally sound constructions.
Also addressing reducing carbon emissions is the use of “mass timber” in building construction. At 6-in. thick, mass timber is made of planks of wood placed perpendicularly to each other. According to the report, using it in construction can reduce the amount of steel and concrete. Opponents to the concept say that it would more demand for wood products and increase deforestation.
Researchers from Universitat Politecnica de Valencia (Spain) have designed and patented HTRANS—a translucent concrete made with resin-based 3D printed reinforcement, allowing its production cost to be 80% less than a handcrafted translucent concrete. Quoted in the announcement, professor Jose Ramon Albiol suggests that it could be used in the design of decorative elements, furniture, countertops, flooring, and more.
With a grant from the Department of Energy, an investigation is underway to “explore the electrochemical corrosion degradation science of concrete as it applies to high-level nuclear waste.” The goal is to create a new cement-based material to protect the waste from contaminating the environment. The hope is to better understand corrosion in concrete and “prevent corrosion over thousands to, potentially, millions of years,” says Juan Pablo Gevaudan, principal investigator of the project.
Just start searching and you’ll find a lot of posts from and about the concrete construction industry on social media. And even though it seems to be full of odd dances that I don’t understand, TikTok isn’t exempt. One creator made a post explaining to their audience about hempcrete and sustainable construction. What I found interesting about this is the fact that it’s a great example of how people are generally interested in construction. While concrete is so widely used, I think the science behind concrete is one of those mysterious areas in which the general public isn’t all that familiar despite concrete's many—many—fascinating facets and capabilities.
Also on TikTok is a video of an excavator operator using the machine to break a concrete slab. It’s quite rhythmic and one clever creator took it upon themselves to perform a creative song titled, “The Excavator Chantey.” There’s nothing really ground-breaking here (ha!) but it’s definitely worth giving it a listen and is a great example of the construction community having a bit of fun.
Stay safe out there.