The Latest Developments in Concrete Construction
by TRP Ready Mix on September 1, 2017
A Look at 5 Greener Technologies Used by Concrete Contractors
Like many developing industries, concrete contractors are always looking for ways to improve performance and productivity while reducing their negative effects on the environment. Some of the latest developments in concrete construction and technologies have strived to put productivity and the environment first. From fast-drying concrete to roofing tiles that improving air quality, these innovative concrete products are making headway for a cleaner and more productive concrete industry.
1. Rapid-Drying Concrete
Concrete contractors are using a ready-mix concrete formula that significantly reduces the drying time for concrete. This concrete prevents moisture-caused flooring failures with the following characteristics:
- Low permeability;
- Rapid drying time;
- A high early strength; and,
- An appropriate compressive strength for specific projects.
This fast-drying concrete reduces the typical drying time from four months to 21 days for large projects. By speeding up the concrete drying time, this rapid-drying concrete allows concrete contractors to complete projects more efficiently, within budget, and on schedule.
2. Green Concrete Mixes
The concrete industry is using greener alternatives to Portland cement—which is the most widely-used concrete, but also the most harmful to the environment. Green concrete mixes replace a significant portion of Portland cement (around 70%) needed in concrete mixes with:
- Recycled materials;
- Non-cementitious fillers; and,
- Specialized admixtures.
The result is a more environmentally-friendly concrete that has excellent energy performance and appropriate compressive strength. This concrete reduces fossil fuel consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, acid rain, water consumption, and the production of solid waste.
Hemp is a durable plant that has found its place in concrete production. Hempcrete combines the wood core of industrial hemp (hemp shiv) with a lime-based binder to create this high-energy performance composite. The hemp plant captures carbon as it grows, therefore, the CO2 remains sequestered in the Hempcrete composite thereby reducing its CO2 footprint.
- Good thermal insulation;
- Thermal inertia;
- Various designs and construction uses, such as application to timber-framed structures; and,
- Factory-made panels to avoid drying time for both low-rise and large-scale buildings.
4. Smog-Eating Concrete Roof Tiles
These concrete roof tiles use bonded titanium dioxide to remove nitrogen oxides from the atmosphere. Nitrogen oxides are emitted from vehicles and contribute to smog that reduces air quality and harms the environment. The chemical reaction of the titanium dioxide oxidizing with nitrogen oxides creates a harmless precipitate that washes away with the rain.
Their environmental benefits include:
- High emissivity;
- High thermal mass;
- Insulating air space between tiles and roof decks; and,
- Tiles are recycled for use in new projects like structures or roadways after their service life.
These roof tiles also break down organic substances with UV light, including mold and algae that typically grow on roofs. The tiles reduce the urban heat island effect with high-energy performance.
5. Fast-Curing Polyaspartic Coatings
Polyaspartic coatings allow for an increase in concrete construction productivity without limiting performance or durability. These coatings use raw materials allowing contractors to apply them to both concrete and metal surfaces. These coatings can be applied in temperatures as low as -10°C as well as humid environments allowing for an extended construction season. Along with the prevention of damage from abrasion, chemical spills, and ultraviolet light, other benefits of polyaspartic coatings include:
- Low volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions – such as carbons;
- Easy to clean and can be applied over stains;
- High color stability;
- Rapid curing time—from start to finish, the job is completed in an eight-hour workday; and,
- Can be used for a variety of commercial concrete flooring projects.
With these cleaner concrete products, concrete contractors can develop roads, buildings, and entire city infrastructures quickly and thoroughly while reducing the negative effects on the environment. These innovative products also expedite project times and improve productivity to allow contractors to complete more projects efficiently for the benefit of both the clients and their concrete companies.