New advancements in concrete and cement-based products are completely changing the design and construction worlds.
White cement is the key ingredient in decorative concrete. New coloring agents and admixtures help create beautiful structures and landscapes. Imagine the possibilities! Read more on decorative concrete.
With the explosive growth in high-rise residential construction, the Load-Bearing Wall (LBW) system is gaining recognition. The walls and slab are poured simultaneously when using the innovative tunnelform construction method. Since the forms are stripped in 24 hours, the daily cycle meets the demand of fast-track construction for repetitive cell layouts, synonymous with many hotel and condominium projects.
Load-Bearing Walls The Tilt-Up industry is reaching new heights with the record lift nearing 100 feet. Production is streamlined with embedded facers cast integrally with wall panel to greatly reduce labor requirements with conventional brick and mortar veneer.
Lightweight Masonry takes the form of Aerated Autoclaved Concrete block (AAC). With sufficient structural capacity to be used as low-rise bearing walls, AAC block greatly reduces masonry partition wall weights for elevated slab construction. Masonry construction is also making a new visual statement with the use of colored grouts. The pigmentation of white cement is helping architects provide a new unity or contrast look to the typical brick and mortar façade.
Many new technologies are changing the way we build and what we build with concrete.
- Adding optical fibers to a concrete mix generates translucent concrete. This “see-through” development is changing the perception of concrete’s opaque mass.
- Reactive powder concrete is extremely workable, durable and yields ultra-high strengths without using coarse aggregates. Reaching compressive strengths of 30,000 pounds per square inch (psi), this new-age concrete also has tensile strength with the inclusion of steel and synthetic fibers. Read more on reactive powder concrete.
- Self Consolidating Concrete (SCC) eliminates the need for mechanical consolidation and yields a smooth surface finish without mix segregation. Read more on self consolidating concrete.
SCC and computerized precision color are revolutionizing the precast industry.
Ultralite panels are being manufactured with Carbon Cast, a grid of carbon fiber reinforcing. The resulting weight reduction generates savings in shipping, erection, and substructure costs.
The new P.O.S.T. (Prestressed Open Space Truss) provides a solution for long-spans, while maintaining the shallow floor depth of a flat plate system. This system works well for hotel and condominium applications, especially with coveted parking spaces in the lower levels. Hybrid construction marries the benefits of PC and CIP for a desired result, such as seismic performance, cost savings, or schedule implications.
Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) walls are gaining popularity in the residential nad commercial markets. In addition to rapid construction, energy savings and increased durability, owners also gain a healthier and quieter environment. Most recently, blast-test experiments showed exceptional results for resistance to catastrophic loadings, including fire, wind, and tornados.
Post-Tensioning has new construction and retrofit applications. An intumescent material creates fire-resistant PT strands for bridge deck and parking garages. The “Spider” method retrofits buildings for earthquake protection, while External Post-Tensioning (EPT) helps solve strength and serviceability problems.
Fabrication and corrosion are the crux of most rebar issues. “Reinforcement Carpet” gives a unique solution to reduce shipping and erection costs. With little waste, this innovative tool may greatly change the speed and precision of concrete mat construction. Galvanized and stainless clad rebar offer less expensive, but corrosion-resistant alternatives to stainless steel rebar. The latest technology of MMFX microcomposite steel gives a high-strength, corrosion-resistant product with a cost-effective price.
The first-ever national partnership of precast companies, AltusGroup, was founded to develop, manufacture and market precast innovations such as the breakthrough CarbonCast™. With more than 25 structural and architectural locations in the United States, AltusGroup companies have an unparalleled national network of manufacturing plants, technical staff and sales personnel to ensure architects, engineers and contractors that they will receive the help they need — and the quality and performance they expect.
Read more on Design-Build Dateline," January 2005, "High Performance Construction Materials - What are the Opportunities for Design-Builders?," Design-Build Institute of America.