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Modern Building Materials

The building materials market is seeing disruption for the last few years – and most of the disruption is technology led. We list below four such developments that are seeing commercial application as well.

Self-healing Concrete

Also called Bacterial Concrete, this concrete contains bacteria that fills up the cracks on hardening. This system of repairing cracks is helpful only when the cracks are of 0.1 mm width or slightly greater. The water passes through the cracks and hydrates the cement for the cement to expand and fill the cracks. The bacteria used for the purpose are acid producing bacteria and can remain dormant for 200 years unless introduced with water.


Aerographite is considered the world’s lightest material. One cubic centimeter of this material weighs 0.2 mg – that’s six times lighter than air. Aerographite is a bundle of interwoven carbon tubes of 15nm diameter that is highly ductile and opaque and can withstand high compression and high loads. This material is completely water proof as well and are good conductors. Aerographites can find application in water filters, batteries and super-capacitors.

3D Graphene

The new graphene material is 5% of steel’s density but up to 10 times stronger. This ‘new’ material is created using graphene flakes and fusing them into a mesh-like structure, keeping the material porous. This new material was 3-D printed at MIT labs. This material can be used on sky scrapers of 98,000 plus feet. Concrete for bridge or buildings can be substituted with this material since it is stronger than concrete and yet much lighter.

Invisible Solar Cells

The glass-like solar panels is made with proprietary molecules that absorb invisible wave lengths of light but still allow lights that are visible to pass through. Glass blocks that contain solar cells can be used on windows and on the building’s facade. The efficiency is the problem. When compared to the conventional solar panels that are 15% efficient, the ‘glass’ panels are 5% efficient.

We have talked of just four developments vis-a-vis building materials. Some of the other materials that are making a difference in the construction industry are as follows:

  • Laminated timber
  • Modular bamboo
  • Transparent aluminum
  • Translucent wood
  • Nanocrystal

We will talk about these and more in future articles.

In the meanwhile, please do let us know of any other building material that is revolutionising the industry by commenting here or by emailing us at

Also: If you are an expert in this industry and are willing to extend consulting services, we request you to visit and signup as consultant. Companies engage experts as consultants on this platform.

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CATEGORY: Infrastructure

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