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Concrete

The self-healing-concrete would fill cracks and prevent decay and the corrosion of rebar (...

You’d think that concrete would last forever. After all, it’s pourable stone, so it should hang around as long as the Rock of Gibraltar. But, under the right (or wrong) conditions, concrete decays with alarming speed. To combat this, researchers at the University of Bath in the UK are working on a self-healing concrete that uses bacteria to seal the cracks that lead to decay. In this way, they hope to cut down on maintenance costs and increase the life of concrete structures.  Read More

A conventional steel-column wind turbine (Photo: Patrick Finnegan)

Engineers at Iowa State University think concrete columns could be the key to building taller, higher-powered wind turbines. By making the switch from steel to concrete, it's thought that the upper limit of turbine column height could be raised from 80 m to over 100 m.  Read More

By exploiting pressure at the seabed, researchers hope to create stores of energy at the o...

"Imagine opening a hatch in a submarine under water. The water will flow into the submarine with enormous force. It is precisely this energy potential we want to utilize." This is how German engineer Rainer Schramm describes his idea for storing energy under the sea. By using surplus energy to pump water out of a tank at the seabed, the water is simply let back in again when there's an energy shortfall, driving turbines as it rushes in. The deeper the tank, the more power is generated.  Read More

Sunflower seed husks seem to be a viable aggregate for certain uses (Photo: Phil Hawkswort...

Ordinarily seen as a waste product, the husks of sunflower seeds could be used to make concrete, according to research out of Turkey. Not only are the husks a sustainable source of aggregate, it's claimed that the resulting concrete is more resistant to cracking during post-freeze thaws.  Read More

Grey to Green features several different designs which change the amount of vegetation all...

Although more of us than ever are choosing to live in cities, that doesn't mean we have lost our love for green open spaces. The popularity of parks and areas which haven't been wholly taken over by urban development suggests we haven't lost our yearning for something other than man-made materials. Caroline Brahme's Grey to Green is a concept designed to add a splash of natural color back to urban areas.  Read More

X House from Cadaval & Solà-Morales is a unique building, shaped so as to make the most of...

Different people have different sets of desires for the houses they live in. For some it's all about location, being close to the things that matter to them. For others it's the building itself, whether it be a period property or a modern build with minimalist features. For others still, it's all about the views ... and it's this last group of people who will likely be blown away by the X House from Cadaval & Solà-Morales.  Read More

Biological concrete panels

An ivy covered building is a lovely thing, but ivy roots can rip into brickwork and the vines are a highway for vermin looking for a way inside. Modern vertical gardens try for the same aesthetic effect with some added environmental advantages, but they’re often complicated things full of hydroponics gear and difficult to maintain. An alternative is being developed at the Structural Technology Group, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, where a team led by Antonio Aguado has come up with a “biological concrete” designed to act as a substrate for vertical gardens that is simple, low maintenance and requires little or no attention.  Read More

A new method can recycle concrete with greater efficiency by zapping it with lightning (Im...

There are many subjects more interesting than concrete. But the substance is key to structures all over the world. Present concrete recycling methods yield degraded – and inefficient – results. A group of German researchers have taken it upon themselves to dramatically improve on those methods, and the secret to their approach is truly electric.  Read More

A new nanoparticle-based coating is said to repel water from porous materials, while still...

Keeping porous building materials free from stains and water damage has gotten a little easier in the past few years. Thanks to advances in technology, we’ve seen the advent of things such as spray-on glass and anti-graffiti coatings. Now, Spanish nanotech company TECNAN is offering a nanoparticle-based coating that repels liquid, yet still allows the underlying material to breathe.  Read More

The 'Exposed' speakers are made of concrete, and utilize horn loudspeaker technology (Phot...

We've seen a number of unusual speakers before, such as the Whamodyne glass speakers or Solid Acoustics' dodecahedron speakers, but concrete speakers are definitely something new. It's definitely not a very popular material for audio systems, but Israeli designer Shmuel Linski would like to change that with his "Exposed" concrete speakers, each of which weighs 123 pounds (56 kg). They're just one part of his line of unusual creations, that include a concrete coffee maker and a concrete canoe.  Read More

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