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Concrete

— Environment

Grey to Green paving slabs bring nature back to cities

By - February 15, 2013 5 Pictures
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
— Architecture

Unique X House offers views to die for

By - January 17, 2013 21 Pictures
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
— Architecture

“Biological concrete” promotes vertical gardens

By - December 24, 2012 3 Pictures
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
— Environment

Lightning used to recycle concrete rubble

By - October 8, 2012 2 Pictures
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
— Electronics

Concrete speakers sound like a strange idea

By - July 12, 2011 9 Pictures
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
— Holiday Destinations

Mexico's recycled concrete tube hotel

Though the idea of sleeping inside a concrete tube probably doesn't sound that appealing, architect firm T3arc have found a way to make sleeping inside a pipe not only comfortable but also a holiday experience. Mexico's Tubohotel, which opened in 2010, is a unique and affordable holiday destination created from recycled concrete tubes. Located approximately 45 minutes south of Mexico City in the village of Tepoztlan, Morelos, the rooms of the hotel are stacked in a pyramid shape, reflecting the Aztec pyramid of El Tepozteco that overlooks the town. Read More
— Science

'Sensing skin' could detect cracks in concrete structures

By - July 4, 2011 1 Picture
Concrete may be one of the toughest buildings materials in common use but it does develop cracks over time, and in the case of structures such as buildings or bridges, it is imperative that those cracks are noticed before they lead to a collapse. While visual inspections are useful, they are also time-consuming, and may miss tiny but structurally-significant cracks. Some technologies have been developed to automate the process, such as rust sensors for steel-reinforced concrete. Now, an international team of scientists is proposing a system of flexible crack-detecting skins, that could be applied to the surfaces of concrete surfaces. Read More
— Good Thinking

Italian firm creates 'transparent cement'

By - January 4, 2011 19 Pictures
Visitors to last year’s World Expo in Shanghai might have noticed that the outer walls of the Italian pavilion were kind of... unusual. Although they felt solid, and looked like concrete when viewed from an angle, light was able to pass through them. How was it possible? They were made from what the Italcementi Group refers to as “transparent cement,” and has trademarked as i.light. It’s definitely a unique substance, as it blurs the line between wall and window. Read More
— Environment

'Plastisoil' could mean cleaner rivers and less plastic waste

By - November 21, 2010 2 Pictures
A new cement-like material that could be used to form sidewalks, bike and jogging paths, driveways and parking lots, may be able to lessen two environmental problems, namely plastic waste and polluted rainwater runoff. The substance is called Plastisoil, and it was developed by Naji Khoury, an assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering at Temple University in Philadelphia. In order to make Plastisoil, discarded polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic bottles are pulverized and mixed with soil, and then that mixture is blended with a coarse aggregate and heated. The result is a hard yet non-watertight substance, similar to pervious concrete or porous asphalt. Read More
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