The construction industry has undergone a series of building material innovations over the decades. Right from durable concrete used in diverse ancient structures to modern steel bridges and skyscrapers, the materials used to develop buildings has a major impact on shaping up cities. Reddy Kancharla mentions that while traditional materials like concrete and marble has simply developed over the years, a number of newer, more innovative materials have also cropped up on the horizon. Mr. Kancharla has been involved in the construction industry for more than 25 years, which has provided him with expert insights about the field.
Modern construction materials are known to be equipped with certain unique features and characteristics that were not present in its more traditional counterparts. Reddy Kancharla mentions that to keep a competitive edge, modern construction firms have to stay up-to-date on material innovations, and try to integrate them in their projects. Buildings that are developed with certain modern materials usually tend to be better more equipped to solve common construction challenges and have a smaller carbon footprint.
Here are two innovative, new construction materials used to according to Reddy Kancharla:
- Mass timber: The use of wood in construction is definitely not new. It, in fact, is among the oldest construction materials. But the usage of mass timber is definitely new. Mass timber basically refers to solid wood that is panelized and laminated for increased strength. This category of building material includes several types of laminated timber, glue-laminated timber and cross-laminated timber, being some of the most popular ones. The former is made up of multiple pieces of lumber that are glued together, and is particularly used for creating strong beams for buildings. On the other hand, cross-laminated timber is made up of multiple pieces of lumber stacked in alternating directions. These panels have the capability to support a lot of weight.
- Self-healing materials: Even a small crack in a concrete structure can lead to a much bigger and expensive issue. However, certain materials scientists have developed a means to use living spores that helps the concrete to mend itself when cracks occur. This solution basically comes in the form of small, water-permeable capsules that have to be mixed into wet concrete. After the concrete has set up and dried, spores exist in suspended animation like packets of dry yeast. Hence, in case a crack opens up in the concrete and gets filled with water, a crystalline form of calcium carbonate called calcite shall be produced. This will not only fill up the gap, but also harden it, so that the issue dies not crop up again. Self-healing concrete can especially be used in the development of large buildings, bridges and tunnels, so as to help them to last longer.
Other new-age construction materials include Self-healing concrete modular bamboo, transparent aluminum, translucent wood, microbial cellulose and spider silk. Detailed information about them can easily be found online.