Raw materials get a local upgrade
Much like an artist discovering a new form, new building materials pave the way for avant garde creations in the world of landscape architecture and civil engineering. As innovators and designers, we are always looking for raw materials. Earlier this year, we explored Graphene infused concrete, and we were excited to see a recent article in Civil + Structural Engineering magazine about another new form of concrete being developed in Louisiana called bendable concrete.
Concrete is the most commonly used building material, so new variations have the possibility to transform the way projects are designed and built. Bendable concrete is, as the name suggests, a form of concrete that bends instead of breaking under pressure. Engineered Cementitious Composite, as bendable concrete is formally known, is especially intriguing due to its affordability. Typically, the cost of this style of concrete costs more than four times that of regular concrete. This latest version designed by researchers at Louisiana State University reduces that price to 2.5 times traditional concrete. Bendable concrete doesn’t need to be laid as thickly and doesn’t require reinforced joints, bringing its true cost in line with the concrete we’re accustomed to using.
Bendable concrete includes fine river sand from the Mississippi River, a readily available material that reduces the need for microsilica sand, which is expensive and hard-to-obtain. Given the abundance of sand in Florida, we may be sitting on top of a piece of the puzzle in creating an even greater raw material.
Bendable concrete is still in the trial phase, so we look forward to following its progression and exploring other research in the field. Just as artists do, we continue to look to the future of what is possible.