Science and technology are constantly expanding the possibilities for the construction industry. New research produces new materials and chemical structures every day. Some of these new chemical compositions and micro-level materials are an indicator of the direction building materials will take in the future. They possess unique properties and characteristics that have the potential to revolutionize the contracting and construction industry. Let’s explore the future of new building materials and what it means for you as a construction contractor.
New Building Materials
Professor Julia Greer of the California Institute of Technology has applied CAD operations (computer-aided drafting and design) to create new building materials in the form of what she calls fractal nanostructure materials. These structures are custom-designed to have specific characteristics, whether it’s higher tensile strength, a lighter mass or more flexibility. The idea behind them is that strength and density do not have to be linked. By changing the molecular structure, a material can be created that is both lighter and far stronger.
The applications of material that is both lighter and stronger are almost limitless for the construction industry. They could be used to make better machinery, vehicles and equipment or even build better buildings. Load bearing walls and trusses could be far lighter and take up much less space, opening the door to many new designs.
Nanocrystals are another exciting form of micro-technology that is catching a lot of notice. These tiny particles are over 100,000 times more narrow than a single strand of human hair. They have special optical properties which enable them to control the amount of light and heat that passes through them. This means, for example, windows that can help to control the temperature in your house, letting more heat in during the winter and less in the summer.
Construction contractors are always looking for ways to use less energy both in construction processes and to produce buildings that are more energy efficient. New technologies are producing new kinds of insulation, such as aerogel, which is super-efficient in its insulation properties. Nanotechnology allows it to be exceptionally thin, and it is comprised 90% of air.
These materials are simply astounding in their potential to revolutionize the way we build, operate and live. They are also just a few of the advances that micro-technology has allowed us to pursue. As building becomes more efficient and materials easier to work with, safety will improve and contractor liability will decrease as well. This could mean better profits due to less materials used, a higher degree of efficiency on the job site and a much lower rate of danger.
When it comes to protecting your workers, you can’t be too careful. Why not take some time to examine your contractors’ insurance policy to make sure that in the event of the unthinkable, you have the coverage you need?