• Crack-proof concrete developed

    Researchers develop crack-proof concrete; the construction industry has spent decades looking for materials that would not crack when they are used to repair and reinforce older materials, because even hairline cracks can let in pollutants and start disintegrating the concrete; BASF engineers offer a solution

  • Self-healing concrete developed

    University of Rhode Island researchers develop a new type of self-healing concrete that promises to be commercially viable and have added environmental benefits; a microencapsulated sodium-silicate healing agent is embedded directly into a concrete matrix; when tiny stress cracks begin to form in the concrete, the capsules rupture and release the healing agent into the adjacent areas

  • Tiny sensors embedded in cell phones identify, map airborne toxins in real time

    Cell phones are everywhere people are, so University of California-San Diego’s researchers want to turn the devices into chemical sensors; the tiny sensor, a porous flake of silicon, changes color when it interacts with specific chemicals. By manipulating the shape of the pores, the researchers can tune individual spots on the silicon flake to respond to specific chemical traits

  • Researcher builds ultra-dense nanodot memory

    North Carolina State researcher develops a way to store binary data on dots 6 nm in size — possibly leading to a one-square-inch chip holding 2 TB of data; the nanodots are magnetic sensors integrated into a semiconductor and can be made as small as 6 nm in size using semiconductor manufacturing processes

  • Fiber polymer replaces steel bars in major building projects

    UAE University researchers have developed an inexpensive alternative to demolishing damaged buildings and rebuilding them: using FRP (fiber reinforced polymer); FRP can be used in strengthening and repair instead of concrete or steel jacketing, which are labor intensive; moreover, concrete and steel jacketing systems are also often vulnerable to the same deterioration mechanism that caused the problem in the first place

  • Designing terror-proof buildings

    Terrorists attack high-profile building for the symbolism such attacks carry; students at Purdue University test methods to make buildings terror-proof, and the research results could be used in high-profile construction projects

  • New fiber nanogenerators could lead to electric clothing

    UC Berkeley researchers have created energy-scavenging nanofibers that could one day be woven into clothing and textiles; these nano-sized generators have “piezoelectric” properties that allow them to convert into electricity the energy created through mechanical stress, stretches, and twists

  • New method of sensing concrete corrosion

    Researchers develop a novel sensor system to monitor the early signs of concrete corrosion, which could reduce expensive, long-term maintenance costs; the sensors measure the key parameters related to concrete corrosion — pH, chloride, and humidity — in highly alkaline environments

  • Aussie scientists make artificial silk

    Scientists have for decades tried to find a way artificially to produce insect silk; Aussie scientists report they have found a method to do so; the tough, lightweight textiles could be used in personal protection equipment such as bulletproof vests and helmets, and in many other applications

  • Buildings made of prefabricated straw prove to be fire-resistant

    Researchers at Bath University test panels made from prefabricated straw-bale and hemp by exposing them to temperatures over 1,000°C; to reach the required building standard, the panels had to withstand the heat for more than thirty minutes, but more than two hours later — four times as long as required — the panels had still not failed

  • Researchers look for a better way to build bridges

    Canadian researchers look for ways to make bridges sturdier; one project looks at the use of advanced fiber-reinforced polymers (FRPs) to protect critical concrete infrastructure against extreme shocks; the second study involves the use of ultra high-performance concrete (UHPC) to build long-life, lightweight and cost-effective bridges

  • Imperial College London awarded £4.9 million to research cloaking properties of metamaterials

    Metamaterials have properties that could lead to the development of invisibility “cloaking” devices, sensitive security sensors, and flat lenses that can be used to image objects much smaller than the wavelength of light; Imperial College London receives a £4.9 million grant to do research on metamaterials

  • Downtown airport boasts a new runway safety system

    Safety barriers made of new type of absorbing concrete are installed at a Kansas City airport; the barriers are made of concrete blocks which collapse to absorb the energy of the airplane while minimizing the damage to the aircraft and allowing the aircraft to be slowed without hurting passengers

  • New material makes buildings more fire resistant

    New material, called “liquid granite,” is fire resistant to temperatures in excess of 1,100oC; it reduces the fire risk in buildings because, unlike concrete, it does not explode at high temperatures

  • Carbon fibers improve blast, impact resistance of conventional reinforced concrete

    Researchers find that adding longer carbon fibers to conventional reinforced concrete significantly improves a structure’s ability to withstand blasts, hurricanes, and other natural disasters