Construction

Video: Considerations of colored concrete

By Lisa McDonald / July 28, 2021

Adding pigment to cement is one way to produce colored concrete. Researchers in China and Morocco showed that the content and purity of the pigment can have adverse effects on the cement’s properties.

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Video: Glass bridges—designing for safety

By Lisa McDonald / June 23, 2021

In recent years, China has undergone a glass bridge building boom as local authorities seek to entice tourists. Despite the brittleness of glass, civil engineers explain how careful design can ensure the safety of bridges built from this material.

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Video: Senegal initiatives combat heat island effect in Dakar

By Lisa McDonald / May 26, 2021

The heat island effect is a major problem for many big cities, and relying on air conditioning for cooling can be expensive and increase air pollutants. Several initiatives in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, look to combat the heat using environmentally friendly and sustainable solutions.

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Rechargeable cement-based batteries could reform the built environment

By Lisa McDonald / May 21, 2021

As renewable energy technologies become more widely deployed, we need a way to store all of the generated energy. Two researchers from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden explored creating a cement capable of storing energy, an ability that would allow future buildings to essentially serve as giant batteries.

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Video: 3D print a home using local soil

By Lisa McDonald / April 28, 2021

Many companies creating 3D-printed homes rely on using concrete or synthetic materials like plastic, materials not always readily available in all parts of the world. In Italy, Mario Cucinella Architects and 3D printer manufacturer WASP are collaborating to design a 3D printing process for homes that uses local soil.

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Video: 2020 Brick in Architecture Awards span the globe

By Lisa McDonald / March 10, 2021

Since 1989, the Brick Industry Association has sponsored the Brick in Architecture Awards to recognize exceptional uses of clay brick in architecture. The 41 global winners for the 2020 awards include entries spanning the United States, Australia, Canada, China, and Germany.

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Reinforcing waste-based concrete: Plastic fibers improve mechanical properties of cement–glass composite

By Lisa McDonald / February 16, 2021

Substituting waste materials for cement in concrete helps lower the concrete industry’s carbon emissions and keeps waste materials out of landfills. However, large amounts of glass cullet in concrete will decrease the concrete’s mechanical properties. Researchers in Poland investigated reinforcing the cement–glass composite using plastic fibers.

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Repurpose waste concrete through additive manufacturing

By Lisa McDonald / December 1, 2020

To date, recycling of building rubble into new construction products is limited because the material does not meet strict building regulations. A new £6 million project led by Manchester Metropolitan University and partners across Europe aims to overcome this limitation using additive manufacturing because products produced this way are not subject to the same building restrictions.

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Weak concrete, heavy trucks—understanding reasons for sewer line failure

By Lisa McDonald / August 7, 2020

Numerous factors contribute to failure of concrete sewer pipes. Researchers at The Ohio State University used a surrogate model to identify which factors play the largest role in these failures, isolating critical areas for improvement.

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Sand—a critical material resource with a complicated story and no simple solution

By April Gocha / July 7, 2020

Humans’ voracious sand consumption for infrastructure activities threatens global supply of this critical natural resource. But do we even know how much sand we are consuming worldwide? New research shows that we’ve been calculating the basic unit all wrong.

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