Innovative Materials in The Construction Industry

By TOI Staff   November 2, 2022   Update on : November 2, 2022

Innovative Materials

Across almost every industry, new designs and innovations continue to change how goods are manufactured and structures are built. Gone are the days when there were just one or two materials to choose from, or a single type of machinery to get a job done.

The world of construction is a great example of how the ever-growing choice of materials has revolutionised builds. And as construction output continues to increase, with August 2022 seeing the second highest monthly value since records began, there’s scope for further innovations as architects and builders looks to make use of a wider range of materials and adapt their ways of working to meet demand.  

In the past, the use of glass in the industry was commonplace, and was favoured as an excellent roof and window material solution, in both commercial and residential settings. However, the advent of plastic sheets, such as polycarbonate, has provided a safer, stronger and more resistant option when it comes to roofing materials.

We’ll explore some other creations and evolutions that have altered the way materials have been utilised in construction.

Cross Laminated Timber

CLT is a sustainable type of wood panel, made from engineered material. Its structure features layers of lumber from a single log, glued together in a cross-directional pattern. CLT offers excellent flexibility across a range of applications and can be produced quickly, without affecting the high quality.

A big appeal of this type of material is the lack of fossil fuels needed for manufacture. And with the construction industry making good progress in its goal to cut carbon, materials such as CLT are likely to become even more popular across the UK.

Pigmented concrete

This innovation shows that the heavily-relied on material doesn’t need to remain dull or lack-lustre. Pigmented concrete involves iron oxide or special metal oxide pigments to create colours not normally seen on these types of surfaces. The result is a more creative and colourful aesthetic, yet with the building still retaining the strength and durability associated with concrete.

Bioplastic

This material is created from marine algae and other biomass renewables, making it a favoured choice above standard plastic. Typical structures include cladding, but there is potential for bioplastics to be used across elements such as flooring and home décor in the future.

Light-emitting cement

A revolutionary concept, light-emitting cement was designed as a safety function to illuminate roads and walkways at night, via solar power. The sun’s energy is able to be absorbed by the material, due to a change in the composition. Whilst the concept is in its initial stages, the design could well be utilised around the globe.

As sustainability and attractive design continue to dominate, it’s likely we’ll see an increase in greener, more efficient and less costly solutions in the construction industry in the coming years.

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