The concrete of tomorrow

The concrete industry is constantly evolving and modernising.  Just as the challenges that face our built environment continue to increase, it’s critical that construction materials respond to the new and growing demands we make of our buildings and infrastructure.

Research and development teams in the UK and all over the world are working to deliver a wave of innovative new concrete solutions for now and for future generations. 

There are numerous exciting new developments that are still in their early research stages as the industry continues to invest.  In partnership with Futurebuild, we have taken a look at some of the most recent and eye-catching examples:

  1. Living concrete: Developed by the Bartlett School of Architecture, ‘living concrete’ has been designed as an architectural bark for buildings.  It can host species such as algae, mosses and lichens to create more sustainable green walls that require no maintenance and potentially absorb pollution and noise in cities. Read more
  2. Self-healing concrete: Researchers at the University of Cambridge have created a concrete containing microcapsules filled with ‘healing’ agents.  These are released as small cracks appear which develop over time, allowing the concrete to effectively repair itself. Read more
  3. Carrots in concrete: Experts at Lancaster University have blended particles from carrots with concrete that has created a mix which is up to 80 per cent stronger that traditional materials.  It is also less susceptible to cracking and has lower carbon emissions due to it requiring a reduced amount of cement in its production. Read more
  4. Graphene-composite concrete: Graphene has been incorporated into traditional concrete production by scientists at the University of Exeter, developing a composite material which is more than twice as strong and four times more water-resistant than existing concretes. Read more
  5. Knitted concrete: Zara Hadid Architects have created a concrete shelled pavilion using KnitCrete – a new 3D-knitted textile technology that can create curved concrete structures, without the need for traditional moulds. Read more

Image courtesy of ©Sarah Lever