As the civilization and population shifted from farming to industry, the construction of new structures also witnesses massive growth. The world has seen the construction of mega-structures and buildings at an unprecedented scale in the last century. The industrial revolution caused the migration of popular from rural hinterland to towns and mega-cities. Buildings, houses, apartments and industries were built using a variety of construction materials. Some of the common construction materials being used for many decades are steel, cement and wood. As a matter of fact the steel industry is the backbone of any modern economy. The economic prosperity of a nation can be gauged from the performance of its steel industry. Major innovations have taken place in the development of construction materials for years now. There has been a great intensity in the trade of building materials. Construction material exporters have been reaping the benefits of increased trade. Some of the new construction materials capturing the interests of builders and developers have been listed below:
1. Self-healing concrete: In the existing model of construction, even a minor crack on the floor or ceiling can develop into a bigger crack affecting the beauty and strength of the structure. The concept of self-healing materials has gained prominence over the last few years. The main principle behind self-healing materials is to use living spores for healing the cracks of the concrete. The solution involves mixing water-soluble capsules into wet concrete. The spores similar to packets of dry yeast fill the crack once the concrete dries up. Production of calcite, a crystalline form of calcium carbonate is vital to filling of the crack once the water fills the concrete crack. Self-healing concrete finds extensive applications in tunnels, bridges and building requiring constant maintenance and repair. The cost of self-healing concrete is high as of now but it is expected to come down in recent years.
2. Air-cleaning bricks: Clean air is becoming a privilege with the environment population becoming a major concern. Although there are air purifiers and filters in the market, it produces greenhouse gas emissions of its own. Internal air quality is a major influencer while making the property or flat selection. Air cleaning bricks has gained popularity in the western world due to their cleaning capabilities. The brick on the outside of the structure or the building filters out heavier particles before it enters the main building. Outside air is funneled into an internal cyclone filtration by cleaning brick separating heavier elements and dropping them into the hopper at the base of the wall. Clean air enters the inside of the structure of the building either mechanically or passively. Hopper containing impure particles can be removed periodically.
3. Passive cooling ceramics: The general go-to method of internal cooling has been air-conditioning. However, air conditioning operations require constant energy and also release harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. A more effective method has been developed using passive cooling with ceramics. Certain clay composites and hydrogel can cool the building interior the same way as our skin cools our bodies. Passive cooling materials work in the same principle. Hydrogel droplets collect the water to embed it into clay composite. The heat generated inside the building is transferred to water in the clay composite and lost to evaporation. The temperature inside the building is automatically cooled without and external energy intervention. Moreover, cooling is faster with the outside temperature rising. Result of the experiment proved that the temperature could be reduced to 6.4° over a period of 20 minutes.
4. Strand rods: To build an earthquake-resistant structure, strand rods are a perfect choice. The materials are extensively used in countries prone to severe earthquakes like Japan. Strand rods are four to five times lighter than the metal wire of the same strength. The carbon fiber composite is made up of inorganic and synthetic fibers and a finish of thermoplastic resin.