The Advancements and Applications of Concrete Technology
The concrete industry is no different, as technology plays an increasingly important role in our lives every day. For construction companies and contractors to survive, new concrete technology is imperative.
Construction costs are climbing, efficiency is always being improved, and skilled labor is in short supply. Approximately 90 percent of contractors, construction managers, and builders surveyed reported having trouble finding skilled labor.
The latest trends in concrete technology can help contractors and companies overcome these challenges. New approaches, tools, and innovative materials can make or break a bid as we look ahead.
Building Information Modeling (BIM)
Building Information Modeling or BIM is a tool that gives architects, engineers, and construction professionals or ACE insight into project planning, design, construction, and management.
While BIM has been around for decades, technology has advanced to the point where it is now more than just a 3D model. Collaboration allows all relevant parties to work together on a project.
An intelligent layer is built into BIM objects in a BIM model. Architects, engineers, and contractors can work together collaboratively and consistently if an element in the model changes.
Data is stored in a CDE, or common data environment, in a BIM model. Throughout the planning, design, and construction process, however, the data provides valuable and actionable information. In the future, it may even be used as a reference for renovations. An increase in the flow of information and knowledge sharing is possible when scaling BIM.
Construction BIM allows you to digitize the work site and connect important information for all phases of the project. As a result, supply chain efficiency is improved and errors, delays, and waste are reduced.
On concrete construction machinery, IoT sensors and GPS trackers can improve production cycle and enable predictive maintenance.
Contractors can receive alerts when something is amiss with cement mixers and other equipment. When an asset shows signs of trouble, it can be handled as soon as possible. Taking care of minor problems before they become major headaches can save time and money.
Foremen have a real time view of cement trucks' locations, thanks to GPS trackers. Data like this enables foremen to plan jobs accordingly and respond quickly in the event of delays.
In offsite construction, elements are designed, fabricated, and assembled at a location other than the site where they will be installed. It is common to use precast or prefabricated concrete during construction projects.
As skilled labor dwindles and projects need to be completed more quickly, off-site work has become more common for larger projects. In addition to improving efficiency, safety, reducing costs, and speeding up the process, there are other benefits as well.
Graphic concrete uses precast concrete to create patterned surfaces that combine visual interest and design. It is possible to apply images as well as plain concrete, and the concrete itself lasts just as long. When plain concrete would appear too plain or boring, adding this aesthetic element to it makes it a better choice.
Light Generating Cement
It emits light for about 12 hours after absorbing solar energy during the day. The crystallization in the cement had to be removed so that light could pass through. The gel consistency was replaced with it. Green or blue light can currently be emitted from the product, and the brightness can be adjusted during manufacture.
The use of drones on construction sites is already increasing, and we expect the trend to continue. Drones are primarily used for site surveys, which can be completed in a fraction of the time. Drones have become increasingly popular among construction companies due to their increased accuracy, ease of use, and time saving capabilities.
Self Healing Concrete
When concrete is exposed to water and air, bacteria produce limestone, which fills cracks. New mixtures and repair mortar for existing structures are being made with this self healing concrete.
Hydrogels that swell when water gets into them are also being investigated, as are capsules of polymers that rupture when cracks form. Cracks in the capsule are sealed by the polymers inside. They are more expensive initially, but if they extend the lifespan of concrete structures, they may wind up being less expensive in the long run.
To learn more, watch the following video tutorial.
Video Source: Engineering Institute of Technology
There are many benefits to 3D printing concrete in construction. Previously impossible concrete designs can now be created.
It is possible to build affordable homes for low income families or for those recovering from disasters. It is possible to drastically reduce the production time on projects.
We cannot see this technology being used in large-scale projects, as the size of the printer limits the size of the items that can be printed. The adoption of 3D concrete printing will be driven by cost savings, the ability to produce complex structures, and urbanization.