6 materials that will be seen on tomorrow’s buildings
For years, the form of buildings was constrained by the need to work with traditional materials – stone, brick, glass, slate, wood. However with the advent of futuristic new building materials, we are about to see a raft of innovative new buildings. So let’s look at a few of them, and see what changes they’ll bring.
You may be asking whether we really need a material that’s very good at repelling water. After all, in this country we have been developing waterproof buildings for a couple of thousand years, and we’re now pretty good at it. So is this just a technological answer to a problem that’s already been solved?
At Brigham Young University, researchers have reason would disagree. They created this “hydrophobic” material after studying traditional water repelling materials, which make drops of water bead up when they hit the surface. The new material makes the water drops bounce completely off instead.
This means that solar panels could be self-cleaning, as could structures like school canopies from http://signaturestructures.com/school-canopies/, which are made from tensile materials. All they need now is a slightly more user-friendly name.
We’ve all heard a lot about this one-atom thick carbon layer – how strong, flexible and thin it is and so on. But where are the materials made from it? Well they are starting to be developed, and perhaps one of the most exciting things it’s going to do, is revolutionise the way we use concrete, glass and steel. Added to these materials, graphene hugely increases their strength, meaning that the usual restrictions on height, width and architectural forms may all be overridden.
Sounds like a mix between a bubbly chocolate bar and a tough new material, and in a way it is. It’s one of the lightest building materials ever developed – a foam that has an interconnected set of carbon tubes, that is porous and is at least five times lighter than air. It’s jet black, highly conductive, very strong and can be compressed. Maybe we’ll see it used in floating houses that you reach by drone?
4. Self-repairing concrete
Adding certain bacteria to concrete can prompt the concrete to repair itself, sealing cracks as soon as they appear. The bacteria jump into action when wet, producing a limestone component called calcite that fills the crack.