Cement has been around for a long time, historically since the Ancient Babylonians and Assyrians, whom used bitumen to bind materials together. In modern times, Portland cement has been the leader in the cement industry since it was created in Britain in the mid-1700s. Annually, Portland cement manufactures roughly 76.7 million metric tons of cement in the United States alone. There’s no telling how much they’ve manufactured for China, who has used more concrete in the past 3 years than the US did in the entire 20th Century!
Throughout history, many of the world’s most popular inventions were created by accident, including Sticky Notes, The Pacemaker, and Penicillin. David Stone, who accidentally created his cement alternative as a student at the University of Arizona in 2000, hopes Ferrock will become another example. The cleverly named Ferrock uses “steel dust” left behind by the manufacturing of steel to create an ultra strong binder. Fe is the elemental symbol of Iron, which is in steel. Initial tests of the substance have determined that concrete made with Ferrock has 5 times the compressive strength as concrete and several times the tensile strength. Needless to say, with strength that impressive, the size of concrete columns and beams will be considerably smaller in any building using Ferrock. It could also mean a large reduction in the amount and size of steel rebar necessary, as rebar adds tensile strength to the concrete to keep it from separating and cracking.
While the strength increase alone is quite impressive, even more impressive is the lack of environmental impact. Unlike cement, which creates a ton of C02 per ton of cement manufactured, Ferrock actually sucks up and traps CO2 and uses it to harden the concrete.
The cost and viability of Ferrock is still yet to be determined. A change away from Portland cement would have a huge impact of the economy and the construction industry and Ferrock still needs to prove how it well it can scale its manufacturing.
For more information on this promising product, check out this PBS Newshour special
Tragedy struck a Florida construction company last week after 3 construction workers passed away while working underground below a newly paved road. Another volunteer firefighter is in critical condition, and possibly in a coma according to WSVN Miami, after entering the manhole trying to save the victims.
No matter how fun demolitions and demolition videos might be, there’s an inherent danger to performing them that cannot be overlooked. Just last year, a different parking garage collapsed during a demolition in Houston, Texas, which landed on one of the excavators performing the work. Thankfully, no one was injured in that collapse, but it could have been much worse.
The following is a guest post by Dustin Chapman.
If you haven’t seen it yet, the “in” gift this past Christmas turned out to be a product by Amazon called the Echo. Echo comes in different sizes, shapes, and price ranges, but the one thing that makes the Echo special is Amazon’s artificial intelligence called Alexa.
Sears' iconic brand, Craftsman, is leaving the mothership and being bought by Stanley Black & Decker for around $900 million. This announcement comes on the heals of Sears planning to close 150 Sears and Kmart stores nationwide this year. The deal for the 89-year-old Craftsman brand allows Stanley Black & Decker to manufacture and sell Craftsman products in non-Sears stores. Sears will also continue to sell the Craftsman brand in its dwindling retail stores.
The following is a guest post written by David B. Lever.
When construction sites are safer, then productivity increases as well as profits. More construction safety means less time lost due to accidents, lower insurance premiums, and less money spent repairing damaged equipment.
The earth can be a sort of an unmarked time capsule in many areas. It holds secrets of the past, some of which were hoped to never be found, but others that people dream of finding. Almost every project requires excavation or demolition in some way, so keep your eyes peeled for the next great discovery!
Jobsite pressures, such as time crunches and monetary issues can quickly tempt otherwise good people into making some pretty poor decisions. There are also others who use their construction business as a front for other illegal activities. Many people were arrested for a variety of reasons in 2016 and the list below should serve as both a reminder and a warning for those considering making bad decisions.
Every day, construction workers from around the world are doing amazing things on their specific job sites. In our minds, the coolest projects are any project that a construction worker is proud to have built, one made with care and quality. There are other factors that we consider to be cool, as well, including those that break down barriers and allow other companies to realize something they previously thought may not have been possible are actually possible. Many of the projects we chose for this year’s list highlight workers acting as pioneers for a specific type of construction and allowing the construction industry to grow by trying new things.
In general, we don’t celebrate the good deeds and accomplishments of our friends, family, and co-workers enough. The fact is, there are plenty of people in this world who spend plenty of their hard earned time, money, blood, sweat, and tears making a difference in peoples’ lives. Many of those people happen to be construction workers and this 2016 countdown will hopefully serve as inspiration to our reader’s to go above and beyond and use your skills to enrich someone else’s life.
Many construction projects involve clearing heavily wooded and untouched areas, which can cause many complications, including interaction with unknown wildlife. It’s important for all companies to understand the impact their construction work can have on wildlife, not only to avoid costly issues with government regulations, but also be good stewards of the environment. Below are 12 stories from 2016 where construction projects interacted with wildlife and how each situation was handled.