Innovation & New Technology

The challenges that face our built environment seem to be increasing, as are the demands we make of our buildings and infrastructure.

We need robustness and solidity to feel safe and secure, we must build-in resilience to climate change and be able to deal with overheating, flooding, storms… all in an increasingly urban environment where high-density housing can exacerbate some of these issues.

We must ensure solutions are low carbon, material efficient and without compromising quality and performance standards, such as fire safety and non-combustibility.

This Futurebuild feature, in partnership with The Concrete Centre and This is Concrete is exploring innovation and new technology in materials, production, logistics, construction and re-use.

Find out how concrete is evolving and innovating to deliver a sustainable built environment now and for future generations.

Visit E80 in the Materials Hub.

Listed below are some of the amazing innovations that we have our eye on...

Digital Fabrication

DFAB House: the world’s first full-scale architectural project to use 3D sand printed formwork

Researchers at ETH Zurich have fabricated an 80 m² lightweight concrete slab at the DFAB House, making it the world’s first full-scale architectural project to use 3D sand printing for its formwork.

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Insulating Concrete

Thermal insulating lightweight concrete with Poraver® as lightweight aggregate to improve the final product properties

Poraver® expanded glass is a lightweight aggregate according to DIN EN 13055-1 and ideal for the production of lightweight concrete (LWC). The structural and thermal insulation properties of Poraver® enable a wide range of concretes for different applications.

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Potassium-geopolymetric (KGP) Composites

How the humble lamp-post could help power our cities

One day, your office windows will be harvesting energy from the sun, while the lamp-post down in the street is storing energy in its concrete.

Vertical wind turbines will spin as traffic whooshes past, and pavements and roads will generate small amounts of energy from all those commuter feet and heavy buses and lorries pounding down them.a

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Graphene

Graphene 'a game-changer' in making building with concrete greener

Graphene has been incorporated into traditional concrete production by scientists at the University of Exeter, developing a composite material which is more than twice as strong and four times more water-resistant than existing concretes.

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Carrots in Concrete

Carrots Can Help Make Concrete Stronger and Greener

Researchers from Britain's Lancaster University have been using a food blender to mix the root vegetable particles, or nano platelets, of carrots with concrete, in an effort to produce a stronger and environmentally-friendly product. According to lead researcher Mohamed Saafi the strength of concrete increased by 80% when adding their new material mix.

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Dynamic Formwork/Knitted Formwork

Zaha Hadid Architects and ETH Zurich debut concrete pavilion with 3D-knitted formwork

The pavilion named KnitCandela, was built using KnitCrete – a new 3D-knitted textile technology for creating curving concrete structures, without the need for expensive and time-consuming moulds.aZaha Hadid Architects and ETH Zurich debut concrete pavilion with 3D-knitted formwork

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Self-healing Concrete

Cambridge researchers developing self-healing concrete

Researchers from the University of Cambridge are using microencapsulation technologies developed by Dolomite Microfluidics to create self-healing construction materials. The Geotechnical and Environmental Research Group are developing microcapsules containing ‘healing’ agents – such as exoxy or polyurethane – which can be added to building materials to allow self-repair of small cracks which develop over time.

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SIG Performance Technology Brings InnoGain to UK & Ireland

Revolutionise Hole Making in Concrete

SIG Performance Technology has signed an exclusive agreement to bring to market the revolutionary InnoGain – a new range of patented products which provides a cost effective, efficient and sustainable alternative to making through and anchor holes in concrete – and fundamentally removes the need for drilling on-site.

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