Since the beginning, construction has been a long, tedious process, but in the last few hundred years, there has been an explosion of advancement, especially since the Industrial Revolution. Even in the last few decades, there has been significant improvement. Here, Ankeny-native and construction business owner Ryan Rock describes five new building materials that are going to be widely adopted in the future.

Many construction materials and practices 50 years ago are now obsolete to the far more efficient, safer alternatives of the 21st century. One of the most well-known examples of this is that asbestos is no longer used in buildings after the discovery that the substance was linked to cancer. Over the next 50 years, construction materials will undoubtedly continue to be produced with safety and efficiency in mind as we continue to advance.

Today, there is a plethora of new, innovative construction materials that are currently in the developmental and testing stages that will be used at construction sites in the very near future.

1. Self-Healing Concrete

Yes, you read that correctly; in the very near future, buildings could be using this incredible new material. Self-healing concrete might sound like it just came out of a science fiction movie, but the reality is that it is simply concrete with bacteria that is activated by water to produce calcite, which fills in any cracks that may form.

This will help reduce or eliminate any future repair costs, as well as have an eco-friendly effect by lessening the need for heavy machinery to break up and remove old, cracked concrete.

2. Laminated Timber

This material might sound like something already in production, but astonishingly it is not. It is exactly what it sounds like; timber that has been covered in laminate to prevent water from seeping in and damaging the wood.

3. Transparent Aluminum

This is another material that sounds like it just came straight out of science fiction. Transparent aluminum is made of ceramic alloy that is supposed to be up to 85% stronger than sapphire. It is also supposed to be long-lasting and resistant to corrosion.

What could this material be used for? It could be the replacement for glass, since it is transparent, which means you won’t have to worry about a baseball shattering a window ever again.

4. Pollution-Absorbing Brick

One of the biggest issues today is pollution. While unexpected, construction material producers hope to create a brighter, cleaner future with the very materials we use in buildings.

These bricks are double layered and insulated, and they act as a filter, absorbing up to 100% of coarse pollutants and 30% of fine pollutants from the air.

5. 3D Graphene

3D graphene is a lightweight foam material that is about 5% of steel’s density, but it’s stronger than you’d expect – up to two hundred times stronger than steel!

Some of the things this material will likely be used to include the manufacturing of cars and skyscrapers.

About Ryan Rock:

In 2018, Ryan Rock, Ankeny resident, launched a general design-build contracting company that provides services to industries such as agricultural, biofuels, industrial, and commercial. With a Bachelor of Science in Finance from Iowa State University, Rock strives to complete any project with the highest quality at the lowest cost.

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