Several factors have driven the emerging technology trends in the concrete industry, such as ballooning construction costs, demands for higher efficiency, and environmental concerns. Those in the concrete business must embrace new technological advancements to survive in an increasingly competitive environment. Some of the latest concrete technology trends include:
Sustainability is a growing public concern, with many demanding eco-friendly constructions. Concrete has a massive carbon footprint, with cement accounting for 8% of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions worldwide. As the industry looks to improve its sustainability, many construction companies are experimenting with hybrid concrete and concrete alternatives. For example, Amazon used CO2 mineralized concrete to construct its new headquarters in Crystal City, Arlington, Virginia. Carbon mineralization converts CO2 into a solid mineral, which prevents it from escaping into the atmosphere.
New Construction Materials
Rising construction costs are forcing the concrete industry to find ways to control its material expenses. Engineered materials like flexible concrete are particularly promising. While flexible concrete costs more to produce up front, it requires half the amount of material for building pavement compared to traditional concrete. It also improves productivity as it doesn’t require pavement joints. It’s stronger and has a much greater compressive strength and deformation capacity.
Self-healing concrete is also on the rise. It can repair and seal cracks from within itself, making it more durable and sustainable. Concrete has natural autogenous properties for repairing itself, but new bio-concrete takes this a step further. For example, adding Bacillus sphaericus bacteria to the concrete produces a four-fold increase in the rate of self-healing.
3D printing has evolved far beyond printing tools or plastic materials. These high-tech printers can consistently print concrete quickly and accurately at a much lower cost. It also slashes construction build time. Another notable benefit is that supply chain problems don’t hinder 3D printing concrete like they do for procuring traditional construction materials.
Many construction companies are wary of new trends as they emerge. Only a handful of studies have explored new building materials, and some trends rise and fall before companies can recoup their expenses. However, many technology developments are here to stay, such as wearable devices, drones, and other advancements in construction safety. Contact Windermere Insurance Group to learn more ways to mitigate your construction company’s risks.