As I have discussed in past blogs, construction and the materials used in this field are constantly changing in order to keep up with the modern world. Materials created to conserve energy, provide innovative forms of design, and just make society as a whole easier for citizens around the world have been at the forefront of the construction industry. With that said, below are some of the most innovative materials developed in recent years that have the potential of reshaping civil engineering.
Harnessing the powers of kinetic energy, Underground Power of Italy is attempting to develop roads made of rubber paving that converts the energy produced by cars driving over top of it to electrical energy. Should these amazing breakthrough become a standard for roads around the world, the amount of energy these could produce is immense. Collecting the energy produced by moving vehicles would be as simple as storing it in an electricity grid for anytime use.
Concrete is the most widely used material in construction due to its sturdiness and affordability. However, cracking and damage to the foundation of structures containing this material poses a serious threat, and can cost a great amount of money to repair. Today, researchers are attempting to create a type of concrete that can actually repair itself through bacteria that will spread upon being touched by water. Cracks begin to heal themselves before the structure can become weathered by wind or excess water.
The most important part of construction is planning the design of a building, bridge, or road beforehand. Blueprints are some of the most commonly used and oldest ways of predicting a structure’s integrity, but now, with the constant advancements in computer technology, civil engineers can simulate the typical factors that could endanger a building. This software allows developers to effectively test the structural integrity of their designs before actually building anything; a luxury not many civil engineers have had throughout time.
The trend of constructing buildings and homes at a location separate from the final structure’s landing spot has become more and more popular, as it decreases any environmental hazards that may come with building on site. Additionally, operating vehicles and tools necessary to complete the job can stay at the construction site, eliminating harmful gasses emitted by bulldozers or trucks. Piecing these structures together piece by piece, or modularly, allows for a much faster completion time as well.