CD Designs Blog
The latest World Of Concrete convention is due to take place next week at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event begins on the 5th of February and ends on the 8th, with seminars starting a day earlier on February 4th. It claims to be the concrete industry’s only annual international event, and is “dedicated to the commercial concrete and masonry construction industries showcasing leading industry suppliers featuring innovative products, construction machinery, construction equipment, safety training courses and training, technologies and unlimited networking opportunities to give you new ways to sustain and grow your business”.
Complete Driveway Designs attended the show a few years ago, and we can tell you that it certainly lives up to the the billing. The Las Vegas Convention Center is one of the biggest in the world with 300,000 m2 of floor space, and it will be packed full of exhibits such as new product showcases, training areas, and networking facilities. If that wasn’t enough there are also special shows in the outside lots, like the “toughest tender competition” in which 2 person teams compete to lay the most bricks, with the winners getting to take home a new truck!
The whole convention should be both fun and educational for anyone with even the least bit of interest in the construction and concrete industry. For more information, videos, photos etc the website is here.
31st January 2013
Steel and concrete are by far the two most used materials in the construction industry, but which is the best material for construction, concrete or steel?
In steel’s case construction time can be significantly reduced, as the steel can be prepared off-site well before construction begins, and it takes relatively little time to put them into place during the construction, which is especially useful when constructing tall buildings. This off-site preparation allows the quality of the material to be controlled better. It is also easily recycled, with more steel recycled each year than every other material combined.
For concrete, the main advantage in construction is its compression strength. It is highly resistant to explosions and impact, which is why the new World Trade Center is being built with a 24-inch-thick concrete wall surrounding the buildings core, which should protect it from fire or terrorist attack. Buildings in high risk earthquake zones are also using a similar design. Concrete can be made to form almost any shape, giving architects limitless possibilities in terms of design.
In reality, it is a combination of concrete and steel that works best in most constructions, and it is the building’s function and requirements that make the most difference in choosing which materials to use.
To see the original article this post was based on click here.
24th January 2013
One of the myths we often hear about concrete is that it cracks easily. Like any material it will degrade due to wear and tear over time, and disreputable companies will make this worse by using cheap concrete, not leaving crack control joints and not laying the concrete thick enough. When done properly, pattern imprinted concrete will last a long time and will only require the minimum amount of maintenance.
Historically, concrete has not been used as extensively as asphalt for road construction, as it usually takes longer to install, and the price of asphalt has generally been lower. However the primary raw material in asphalt is crude oil, and with oil prices continually rising, the cost of asphalt long term has now exceeded concrete, and more and more people are looking to concrete in order to cut down on costs.
For example in this Japanese article, although not optimal for dense urban areas due to increased noise, concrete is being used for expressways and arterial roads, which just goes to show that it can handle heavy traffic just as well as asphalt, and it generally last 3-5 times longer, meaning that it offers an estimated 30% cost saving overall.
18th January 2013
Imagine if your pattern imprinted concrete driveway never needed maintenance, and any weathering, cracks and other damage would heal by itself. It sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but Dutch scientists are nearly ready to begin tests that could make it a reality.
Microbiologist Henk Jonkers and concrete technologist Eric Schlangen have been working at Delft Technical University in The Netherlands to engineer the new type of concrete. “In the lab we have been able to show healing of cracks with a width of 0.5mm. Now we are upscaling”, explained Dr Jonkers. They are currently trying to reduce the considerable cost of the process, but they believe that they can do this and be ready to begin testing in around 6 months, with a view to commercialising it in 2-3 years.
The process works by mixing bacterial spores and the nutrients they feed on into the concrete. When the spores come into contact with water, they begin to feed on the nutrients and produce limestone, which begins to fill the cracks through which the water got in.
Concrete is the most popular building material in the world, and if the lifespan of it can be significantly extended it should lead to reduced costs and better structures for everyone. If it can be incorporated into pattern imprinted concrete, then we should see significant savings on maintenance in the future.
8th January 2013
Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer died last week at the age of 104. Widely regarded as one of the most influencial architects of the 20th century, he is best known for his work on the civic buildings of the Brazilian capital Brasilia.
Niemeyer, full name Oscar Ribeiro de Almeida Niemeyer Soares Filho, was born in Rio de Janeiro in 1907. He graduated with a BA in architecture from Rio’s National School of Fine Arts in 1934, and went on to work at his father’s typography house. He also worked as a draftsmen in an architectural studio, even though they could not pay him, where he worked with Lucio Costa who he would later collaborate with on the Brasilia project and who created the plan for the layout of the city.
In 1940 Niemeyer was commissioned to design a series of buildings in a new suburb that was being built in Pampulha, a residential area of Belo Horizonte. The Saint Francis of Assisi church is the best known building of the complex, and was considered revolutionary with its bold use of reinforced concrete. It was controversial however, and although it eventually became the first modern listed building in Brazil, the church was not consecrated until 1959, with the archbishop of Belo Horizonte Antonio dos Santos Cabral describing it as “the devil’s bomb shelter”.
Building on the success in Pampulha, Niemeyer went on to design many prominent buildings in Brazil throughout the 1940’s and early 1950’s. In 1956 new Brazilian president Juscelino Kubitschek asked Niemeyer to help him with an audacious project, to build a new capital city for Brazil. He designed a large number of buildings for the city including the national congress of Brazil and the presidential residence, but the most famous is the Cathedral of Brasilia (pictured above), a hyperboloid structure utilising 16 concrete columns weighing 90 tons each.
After his death on December 5th, tributes came from far and wide. The BBC’s obituary called him “one of the most innovative and daring architects of the last 60 years”, whilst noting he “built some of the world’s most striking buildings – monumental, curving concrete and glass structures which almost defy description”.
10th December 2012