by Frederike Berg
Innovation in construction: three building materials of the future
There is probably no other event that the construction and scaffolding industry is looking forward to this year as much as bauma in Munich. After a break due to the Covid-19 pandemic, it is finally time again to discover the latest innovations and exchange ideas with colleagues from all over the world. And what better place could there be for this than the world's largest trade fair of the construction industry?
There is indeed a lot to discuss. Because the future of the construction industry is shaped by new building materials that will change the way we build. The great demand for sustainability as well as space-saving and lighter materials urgently requires innovations. And it is precisely these that will be one of the leading themes at this year's bauma.
So that you can have your say at bauma 2022 this October, we have already put together a small foretaste of what the building materials of the future will look like for you here.
Carbon concrete: The high-performance alternative to steel-reenforced concrete
Good old steel-reinforced concrete is now getting real competition. Carbon concrete, or textile concrete, has the potential to turn the construction and architecture industry upside down. Carbon concrete is a combination of concrete and carbon fibres - and that brings decisive advantages. It is not only more durable than conventional reinforced concrete, but also stronger and lighter at the same time. In detail, this means the following:
- Carbon concrete does not rust: Unlike reinforced concrete, carbon does not have to be covered by a multiple centimetre thick layer of concrete to be protected against rust. Depending on the application, only a few millimetres are often sufficient. This not only results in considerable material savings of up to 80 %, but also reduces CO2 emissions from concrete production by up to 50 %.
- In principle, carbon concrete can be produced from any material that contains carbon. For example, lignin, a waste product produced during wood processing, is currently being used to produce carbon concrete.
- Carbon concrete is not only four times lighter, but also up to six times stronger than reinforced concrete.
Carbon concrete can be used in both structural and civil engineering. In new construction projects such as bridges, façades and wall constructions, carbon concrete scores particularly well due to its material, space and weight savings as well as its durability. In the area of renovation, carbon concrete also brings decisive advantages, especially when it comes to increasing the load-bearing capacity of structural elements without significantly increasing the construction weight.
Wood concrete: the rediscovery of an old material
Wood is experiencing its renaissance in construction nowadays. More and more often, property developers are relying on the renewable raw material. Now wood is also revolutionising concrete production: the gravel and sand proportion in concrete production is being replaced by sawdust. The result is load-bearing wood concrete.
Depending on the mixture, the volume share of wood in wood concrete can be as much as 50 %. This makes wood concrete significantly lighter than conventional concrete. Although wood concrete is not a new building material in itself, its range of applications is now being significantly expanded. It is particularly interesting as a building material for prefabricated components and panels for interior wall, ceiling and façade cladding. This is because wood concrete has particularly heat-protecting, heat-storing and sound-absorbing properties.
Mushrooms as insulation material
That's right, mushrooms could replace previously used insulation materials such as Styrofoam and related EPS products in the future. The part of a mushroom that grows underground - the so-called mycelium - can be processed into insulation material.
The insulation values are comparable to those of Styrofoam, with the small but subtle difference that mushroom insulation is compostable and, unlike Styrofoam, can easily be returned to the raw-material cycle. Another advantage of mushroom insulation is that, unlike its synthetic counterparts, for example, it does not need to be additionally treated with fire retardants.
The product made from mushroom mycelium can also be used as a building material. When pressed, it has a degree of hardness comparable to that of plywood.
The trend is towards lighter, space-saving and renewable building materials. And not only in the construction industry, but also for us in scaffolding. Lightweight scaffolding, sustainable scaffolding solutions and the use of robots in scaffolding are the topics of the future. Stay tuned for more on this topic in our blog!
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