The construction industry has been facing various technological advancements. Technologies range from Project Management Software, Building Information Modelling (BIM), Drones and much more. One significant change has been seen in the concrete sector.
According to an article written by Herbert Cook, the greatest hindrance in concrete is the shortsightedness of the concrete men. Nothing is more damaging to technology than a traditional mindset
The assumption is that concrete has been performing well so far and will continue to do so as it is now. This discourages any attempt to make a better quality concrete with less cement based ingredients and water. It also makes it difficult to create effect and creative solutions for the substance.
There are various reasons why concrete producers and suppliers have this thought. One of the most important one is lack of education. When there is no awareness of what technology can bring to the concrete sector, there is bound to be resistance. Fortunately, technology is pushing its way through and various disruptive trends have entered the industry.
What are the current disruptive trends?
Technology has made progress in the concrete sector in two different ways. The first one is that various new methods and techniques of making concrete have been identified and applied. The second one is the progress in the equipments for creating concrete. In this article we will touch upon both of these sections in order to fully grasp the evolution of the concrete sector.
Here we will outline 5 different techniques used to make different types of concrete.
Recycled concrete technique is the usage of reclaimed PCC pavement material. The primary source of such a material is through demolition of old buildings, bridges, gutters and curbs. Another source is to obtain it from central recyclers who obtain the raw feed of concrete from private facilities.
The end product through this technique has a much rougher finish and higher absorbent qualities. The chemical composition contains a high amount of alkalinity and chlorides which can make it not the ideal product for steel reinforcement work.
Fire technology is a peer-reviewed journal that focuses on providing ways to deal with actual, potential and possible fire hazards. The journal is published with Springer with the Natural Fire Protection Agency.
The topics revolved around material testing, fire modelling, detection and suppression etc that can be applied when working with concrete.
Autoclaved Aerated Concrete
This type of concrete is a lightweight, precast building material that provides various benefits such as structure, insulation, fire and mold resistance. The material comes in blocks, wall panels, floor and roof panels, and lintels.
Used for both indoor and outdoor construction work, AAC has a very low environmental impact as it sharply reduces the need for indoor cooling and heating usage.
Lightweight concrete has various benefits that can bring a lot of benefits to the construction industry. To start with, their weight makes them easy to place and secure using less skilled labour. The bricks can be modified like food into different shapes. Even though it’s lightweight, it has considerable strength. Furthermore, it’s weight makes it earthquake resistant and has a very low environmental impact.
Heat Resistant Refractory Concrete
There are two types of Heat resistant concrete – a stronger one and a weaker one. There strength is based on the different uses of heat resistant concrete. The high heat refractory concrete (stronger) is used in hot face. Hot face is when bricks or walls face direct flames of fire. Mostly the inside of a fireplace or a fire oven. In this case special bricks are made of this concrete to withstand such high temperatures.
A lower grade heat resistant concrete is one with a weaker heat resistant capability. Mostly applied on the outer wall of the fireplace or fire oven. Both of these working together make it possible to have interaction with flames with fear of fire hazards etc.
Similar to the techniques, there has been much technological developments in the equipment used to combine and apply concrete in the construction industry. Here we will focus on two main ones: Concrete Saws and the Laser Screeds.
A concrete saw is a powerful equipment used to cut concrete, brick, asphalt and various other hard materials in the construction industry. THe saw comes in different sizes from hand held saw to a big walk behind saw and many others. They machinery can be powered by gasoline, electricity or hydraulic fuel.
The wheels of the saw are made either from diamond or metallic wheel. During usage these blades produce dust, specifically fine Respirable Crystalline Silica (RCS) which is very damaging to health as it settles in lungs. There are various measures to prevent this such as cutting by using water, use diamond saw blades and using protective gear while working with it.
The equipment is mostly used in small to medium sized projects where most workers get the job done manually. This allows for time management and getting tasks done on schedule.
The Laser Screed is a self propelled four wheeled drive with a telescoping boom and an interchangeable head.
With an automatic laser control system, the screed ensures accurate level finishing through the use of electro-hydraulic controls. The lasers receive data from the transmitters multiple times per second that leads to automatic control.
[photo credits: Somero Enterprises Inc.]
A single laser transmitter controls up to 1000 ft or more of enabling concrete application accuracy tolerance for up to 3mm. This machines have been widely used in applying concrete to a wide flat surface such as the construction of roads or curbs etc.
What does the future hold?
The concrete sector and various other aspects of the construction industry have been rapidly growing. These technologies have shown that there is more that can be created from concrete and hopefully the trends this trends of progression takes concrete a step further.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Shaneel is a content marketing assistant at GenieBelt.