Building with nature: Fungi show promise as green construction material

By Lisa McDonald / September 26, 2023

More and more companies and organizations are considering the potential of mycelium, the root-like structure of most fungi, as a green construction material. Today’s CTT spotlights several recent innovations in this area.

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Training the next generation of builders—first large-scale construction 3D printer in the Buckeye State arrives at OSU

By Lisa McDonald / August 25, 2023

Further expanding the use of 3D printing in construction will require training the next generation of builders on these techniques. A new research partnership between The Ohio State University and 3D-printing construction company Pantheon Innovative Builders will help provide this training through use of COBOD International’s construction-grade BOD2 printer.

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Embodied carbon of concrete in buildings: Large-scale study calls for more consistency and accuracy in reporting of carbon impacts

By Lisa McDonald / July 14, 2023

Players in the cement and concrete sectors are working diligently to achieve a reduction in emissions. However, there are multiple gaps in knowledge about the extent of these emissions, which makes it difficult to determine how effective new initiatives are at reducing emissions. A group of researchers from several universities in the United Kingdom are conducting a large-scale study to help fill this knowledge gap.

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The science of Elemental—tempered glass and causes of failure

By Lisa McDonald / July 7, 2023

In the new movie Elemental, the fire character Ember uses tempered glass to patch a hole in the canal wall. But could glass be used in real life to hold back flood water? Today’s CTT considers this question and what could cause tempered glass to fail.

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Extracting the secrets of ancient masons—Maya plasters owe their strength to plant-induced biomimetic structure

By Lisa McDonald / June 20, 2023

Like Roman concrete, plasters from the ancient Maya civilization are another historical building material that researchers are trying to understand and replicate. In a recent open-access paper, University of Granada researchers used advanced imaging techniques to reveal that the addition of organic molecules to the Maya plasters induced the formation of biomimetic structures, which are likely key to the plaster’s durability.

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Structural clay experts convene in Austin, Texas, for networking, technical presentations, plant tours, and more

By Greg Geiger / June 14, 2023

The 2023 combined meeting of the ACerS Structural Clay Products Division, ACerS Southwest Section, and Clemson University’s National Brick Research Center took place in Austin, Texas, June 5–7. More than 100 attendees came to enjoy the networking, technical presentations, and plant tours.

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Let there be light—aerogel-filled glass bricks provide translucency as well as insulation and loadbearing capabilities

By Lisa McDonald / June 9, 2023

Glass block walls can be a desirable way to maximize natural light exposure in a building, but their thermal properties do not allow for the best energy efficiency. Researchers at Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology designed aerogel-filled glass bricks that are translucent as well as thermally insulating and strong.

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Aerated concrete: A ‘pore’fect tool in the construction industry’s advance toward sustainability

By Lisa McDonald / May 16, 2023

Reducing the amount of raw material needed to produce concrete is one way to help cut emissions in this industry. Aerated concrete, a lightweight and porous construction material, contains less raw material per volume than many other building products. Today’s CTT contains a brief overview of this material, including its history, production methods, applications, and ways to improve its end-of-life sustainability.

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Video: 2022 Brick in Architecture Awards expand with new ‘thin brick’ category

By Lisa McDonald / April 19, 2023

Since 1989, the Brick Industry Association has sponsored the Brick in Architecture Awards to recognize exceptional uses of clay brick in architecture. The 45 global winners for the 2022 awards include entries spanning the United States, Australia, Canada, China, and Germany.

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Video: Glass court to debut on world stage during FIBA U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup

By Lisa McDonald / March 29, 2023

Advancements in glass processing and design have improved the material’s mechanical properties to the point that glass is starting to be used in load-bearing applications. In July 2023, the use of a novel glass court will debut on the world stage during the FIBA U19 Women’s Basketball World Cup.

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