Building Materials from the Future

Materials chemistry and structural engineering may not sound as exciting as quantum physics or dinosaur paleontology, but they impact your daily life more profoundly than almost any other scientific fields. From the plastic in your desk to the insulation in your house, these disciplines have quite literally built the world around you. And they?re just getting started. Click on to find out about the super light, flexible and reactive miracle materials that will build the houses, offices and furnishings of the future. <br><br> Follow InnovationNewsDaily on twitter @<a href="http://www.twitter.com/#!/news_innovation">News_Innovation</a>, or on <a href="http://www.facebook.com/innovationnewsdaily">Facebook. <br><br> <li><a href="http://http://www.innovationnewsdaily.com/210-ten-ways-micros-size-your-home.html">10 Ways to Micro-Size Your Home</a></li> <li><a href="http://www.innovationnewsdaily.com/321-futuristic-materials-tornado-proof-homes.html">Futuristic Materials Could Build Tornado-Proof Homes</a.></li> <li><a href="http://www.innovationnewsdaily.com/302-future-food-sources-gallery.html">Top 10 Future Food Sources</a></li>

Translucent Concrete

Concrete buildings are known more for their stability than their great lighting. That was until translucent concrete started to make its way on to the market. <br><br> Translucent concrete is mixed with glass fiber optical strands, which create a solid but sheer block. LitraCon, as the concrete is known, can be used in flooring and pavement. <br><br> According to the concretes manufacturers, the optical fibers make up only 4 percent of the mixture. Meaning that blocks made from this material still have the ability to support load-bearing walls.

SensiTile

As you walk across your kitchen floor to get something from the refrigerator, the floor twinkles with lighted path that guides your way through the dark room. At least it would, if you had SensiTiles.<br><br> The concrete of the tiles is embedded with acrylic fiber-optic channels that transfer light from one point to another. As shadows move across Terrazzo's surface, the light channels flicker with a randomized, twinkling effect.<br><br> Their tiles are available for use as flooring, in bathrooms and even ceilings, so you can have twinkling lights follow you all over the house.

Electrified Wood

You may never have to deal with the tangle of wires again thanks to ?Wood.E.? This European-designed material incorporates a source of electricity directly into tables and chairs.<br><br> Two metal layers are pressed between the wood of the furniture, making it possible to pass an electrical current through the whole thing. The 12-volt power is fed to the metal layers via one connector, and lamps, and other devices can be connected via the other.<br><br> No mention of whether or not this furniture will work with all electrical outlets, but we're for any piece of furniture that means we don't have to find a way to tie all our wires together.

Flexicomb

The Flexicomb's name describes it quite well. Designed by PadLab's Dan Gottleib while he was still an undergraduate at the Yale School of Architecture, the Flexicomb is a flexible honeycomb matrix, which can be used to build lighting fixtures, furniture and sculptural installations.<br><br> The material is made from thousands of closely packed polypropylene tube that will bend in the convex direction while remaining rigid in the concave one. Flexicomb is so versatile; it can be used for almost any imaginable purpose. Not to mention, who wouldn't want a lamp or chandelier made from the stuff when it looks as amazing as it does.

Kinetic Glass (Living Glass)

The fact that your home was looking out for your health would be a pretty comforting thought. Living glass does just that by monitoring CO2 levels in the air around you.<br><br> Living Glass, which was developed by architects Soo-in Yang and David Benjamin, is a smart material is a transparent surface that automatically opens and closes gill-like slits in response to human presence to control the air quality in the room.<br><br> The surface is embedded with wires that contract due to electrical stimulus. This allows the 'gills' to regulate air quality by 'breathing the air'.

Richlite

A counter-top made of paper might not sound too sturdy, but a Richlite counter is almost indistinguishable from one made of wood.<br><br> 70 percent of the material is made with recycled paper. The countertops are made by treating paper with a resin, and then baking it to create solid sheets. Richlite was first used in the aerospace, boating, and sports industries as reinforcement for surfaces like fiberglass, but now is available for architectural purposes as well.

Self-Repairing Cement

It may seem that most of these materials have been designed to replace concrete, but cement is itself still evolving. A new self-healing cement is currently being developed which has the ability to repair its own cracks.<br><br> This cement is mixed with microcapsules that release a glue-like epoxy resin that will automatically repair any cracks that form in the sidewalk or roadway. In addition this cement will have the ability to regulate heat. Phase-change materials that can absorb or release large amounts of heat have also been included in the ingredients.<br><br> With this material we would be able to save energy by developing buildings that can control their own temperature, and save money on repairs as well.

Carbon Fiber

Carbon fiber is an extremely strong, lightweight material. It's five times as strong as steel, two times as stiff, yet weighs about two-thirds less.<br><br> Carbon fiber is made up of carbon strands that are thinner than human hair. The strands can be woven together, like cloth, and then that can be molded to any shape you might want. In addition to being strong, carbon fiber is also flexible, so it's the perfect material for construction projects in areas with that are exposed to hurricanes and tornados.

Liquid Granite

According to its creators, liquid granite has the ability to completely replace cement in concrete. The material is a lightweight and has the same load bearing capacity of cement, but is made of recycled materials.<br><br> Liquid granite has none of the environmental impacts that cement and concrete do. It is made up of between 30 and 70 percent recycled material, and uses less than one third of the cement used in precast concrete. Which means that it has a greatly reduced carbon footprint.<br><br> Finally, liquid granite is astoundingly fire resistant. It can withstand temperatures of up to 1,100 degrees Celsius while still maintaining its structural properties. Unlike concrete it does not explode in high temperatures.

Bendable Concrete

Traditional concrete is a very brittle material; any buckling or bending will cause it to crack. A new type of fiber-reinforced bendable concrete might just be putting an end to that issue. <br><br> This new concrete is around 500 times more resistant to cracking than regular concrete thanks to the tiny fibers, which account for two percent of its make up. The fibers slide within the concrete when bending occurs, providing it with enough give to prevent breakage.<br><br> It isn't just the fibers though; the materials in the concrete itself are designed for maximum flexibility as well. And thanks to these precautions, this concrete has a much longer life expectancy, which means it will cost a less in the long run too.

10 Building Materials from the Future