The Next Future of Construction
Millions of pounds are invested in maintaining, fixing and restoring roads, buildings, tunnels and bridges annually. This is because all concrete eventually cracks and needs to be restored. Self healing concrete would add years to a building’s life and be an enormous help time-wise and financially. The science behind this technological marvel shows itself when water enters a crack. This reactivates the bacteria that was mixed in during the mixing process. When the bacteria is activated, it excretes calcite which then heals the crack. crack.
Sometimes known as ‘frozen smoke’, aerogel is semi-transparent and is produced by removing the liquid from a gel, leaving behind the silica structure which is 90% air. Despite being almost weightless, aerogel holds its shape and can be used to create thin sheets of aerogel fabric. Aerogel fabric is beginning to be used within the construction industry, due to its incredible insulation properties. Aerogel insulation makes it extremely difficult for heat or cold to pass through and has up to four times the power of fibreglass or foam insulation.
Robotic swarm construction
Developed by researchers at Harvard, robotic swarm construction was designed based on how termites work. Termites work together like a ‘swarm’ and construction robotics are programmed to work together in this manner. Four-wheeled robots are programmed in each instance to build a certain design and come with sensors to detect the presence of other robots, so that they can work together.
3D printed houses
3D printed houses are a glimpse into the future of construction. 3D printing homeswill involve creating parts off-site and constructing the building on another occasion. It was pioneered by Apis Cor and based on San Francisco recently proved that they can 3D-print walls out of concrete in a relatively short space of time. The ‘printer’, which is similar in look to a small-scale crane, sets layers of concrete mixtures. 3D printed homes could be a great solution for quickly covering the housing needs of people who have been affected by physical disasters such as tsunamis, hurricanes and earthquakes or for those in poverty.
Smart roads are the future of transport and involve using sensors and IoT technology to make driving safer and greener. They give drivers real-time information regarding traffic (congestion and parking availability for example) and weather conditions. This innovative technology can generate energy, charging electric vehicles on the move, as well as for street lights.
Smart bricks are modular connecting bricks and are similar to ‘Lego.’ Made out of high strength concrete and developed by ‘Kite Bricks’, smart bricks are versatile and come with substantial thermal energy control and a reduction in construction costs. As they are modularly designed, they are easy to connect and have space for insulation, electricity and plumbing.
Vertical green cities
Vertical cities may soon become reality as the world’s population grows and land increasingly becomes scarce. They are tetris-like buildings of towers for thousands of people to inhabit. Supporting an blooming population, vertical cities are a space-saving solution to preserve land for food, nature and production. Vertical forests are high-rise forest buildings designed to tackle air pollution. Pollution fighting buildings will be home to over 1,000 trees and 2,500 shrubs to absorb pollution in the air and to help filter it to make the air cleaner. Trees are highly productive in absorbing carbon dioxide, making this a cost-effective construction innovation.