From award winning concrete noise barriers to self-healing concrete construction, the concrete chemical engineering and nanotechnology sectors are no strangers to pioneering advancements that are seeing to it the construction industry dig deep and build strong with concrete technology. While not all of these innovations are new to the world, the South African architecture and construction industry has seen an increased uptake of some of these alternatively progressive materials and techniques utilised in the ground-breaking building projects across the continent.

  • See-through Cement Not new to the market but still an incredibly impressive advancement in the concrete construction business, translucent concrete allows light to project through concrete panels that are cast layer by layer using fine grained cement and translucent fabric. Transmitting light through concrete without compromising on durability and the overall strength of the construct means that contractors can now build see-through concrete feature walls, shading fixtures, skylights or even paving that can be lit up from beneath the surface that is still load bearing, sturdy and as stable as standard concrete construction.
  • Lightweight Carbon ConcreteWhile said to weigh up to 66% less than standard precast concrete panels, lightweight Carbon fibre precast concrete is also renowned for its high strength and durability, reinforcing the bonds of conventional concrete even more so than it is as a standalone fitting. An effective replacement for streel reinforcement, carbon fibre is also corrosion resistant which means even longer lasting durability that won’t rust or weaken as it is exposed to moisture.
  • Concrete WallpaperWhat may initially appear as delicate wallpaper decals and designs, to the touch, precast concrete wall paper adds depth and dimension to what most assume is an optical illusion created by standard wall paper applications. Concrete wallpaper is reshaping the way that interior decorators are highlighting feature walls and adding creative accents to homes, hotels and places of business affluence. Available in a variety of standard patterns or custom designs, stained, cast and made to fit almost any theme, concrete wallpaper is essentially applied as a precast concrete cladding also competent when installed as flooring, as a slip-resistant solution and other feature surfaces such as counters, decorative basins and cabinet cladding.
  • Plastic ConcreteSaid to be up to 500 times more flexible than conventional concrete, the latest tech to come out of the University of Michigan has seen the unveiling of a lightweight “plastic” concrete. Using a masterful blend of silica sand together with polyvinyl alcohol fibres, as concrete installations inevitably expand and contract which would typically cause a break or crack in the surface, instead of the bonds splintering into a break, the slippery fibres simply slide apart offering a more supple and “bendable” installation. An extremely effective solution in areas that are exposed to extreme weather responsible for freeze thaw expansion and contraction, this concrete blend is also tremendously valuable in areas that encounter frequent and devastating seismic activity and earth tremors.

As the 4th industrial revolution continues to change the face of architecture and construction, scientists and engineers around the globe uncover new and improved innovative ways to build bigger, better and stronger with the latest in concrete and cement technology.