Throughout the years, we’ve seen the building industry undergo a series of construction innovations from materials to tools and techniques. So, it should be no surprise that the next range of futuristic improvements are starting to pop up all over the place. Keep on reading for some insight into a few of the futuristic building materials you might end up using in the coming years.
Wood has been a construction material for thousands of years and it could be making a big comeback. The strength of wood fibre actually comes from the very thing we’re trying to reduce in the atmosphere… carbon. As a result, environmental innovationists are constantly searching for sustainable ways to use timber and guess what – they may have found it in laminated timber.
Laminated timber is made of small layers of engineered wood that has been glued together with structural adhesives. The layers are glued under tremendous pressure in opposing directions to give it superhuman strength – in fact, it is so strong that wood affected by drought or insects can still be included in these panels without compromising structural integrity.
This process allows panels to be made to measure, creating flat packed structures that can be constructed much faster than conventional material. It is estimated that some projects could even be completed six times faster than a standard building project! That sounds like a dream to us.
Graphene is considered one of the strongest artificial materials in the world, containing physical properties that render its applications almost limitless. However, since graphene physically manifests itself as sheets or flakes, it can become extremely difficult to use in construction.
Amazingly, a team of engineers from MIT conducted research that suggests the use of graphene in 3D printing could result in a material that would be 5% the weight of steel but 10 times stronger! Scientists and developers are currently researching the possibility building computers, solar panels, electronics and even cars from graphene so this is definitely something we could see and make use of in the future.
Concrete is one of the most used building materials in the world but unfortunately, it is also not uncommon for concrete to crack. A concrete that has the ability to heal itself when cracks appear seems like something out of this world… but guess what, it exists!
In 2015, microbiologist Hendrick Jonkers presented a concrete which has the capacity to repair itself. That means no more cracks and repairs, no more leaks, no need for damp-proofing and no more energy loss through cracks.
But how does it work? The concrete contains a form of Bacillus bacteria that repairs the material from within in a similar way to how human tissue heals itself after a fracture. Since the bacteria can lay dormant for up to 200 years, it’s a relatively long-term solution, too. What an amazing innovation!
Don’t worry – the future is not set in stone
So, is this what our future is going to look like? Well, given the speed of progress in materials engineering, it is very possible that all of these techniques will be perfected within the next decade.
However, none of us can predict the future and we can’t say for sure whether any of these will be the preferred building methods used within one or two decades. Rest assured; you can continue on using all of your go-to materials from Seymour’s for now.