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
Almost two years after they announced the release of their Bluetooth Battery that allowed owners to remotely monitor battery life and even disable the battery if it’s stolen, DeWalt is set to release a massive upgrade to their connected tool platform.
Mistakes during demolitions happen. Sometimes contractors knock down the wrong buildings, other times the explosives used don’t knock the building over, and other demolitions are carried out with a complete lack of regard for human life. As fun as they are to perform and watch, they’re inherently dangerous and there should be a plan in place in case things go wrong.
Construction sites can often be some pretty spooky places, especially when unexpected items and creatures, like human remains, are found on the property. They can also be the site of some heavy superstition, like at several projects in Iceland that were believed to be delayed by hidden elves. But, according to one contractor, there’s something especially spooky about the childhood home of serial killer Ted Bundy.
Cranes collapse for a variety of different reasons. Some are overloaded, some catch on fire, and others succumb to high wind loads. Regardless of the reason, a falling crane can cause tons of damage and have the potential to kill on-site workers and pedestrians walking near the job site.
A recent crawler crane collapse in Northern Italy could have been much worse as the crane, carrying a large section of viaduct, crashed to the ground.
On January 1, 2017, OSHA officially put into effect a revision to workplace injury and illness reporting that requires certain employers to submit recorded information of these instances electronically. Companies were to submit all of this information from the previous year (2016) by July 1, 2017, but now that due date is in jeopardy.
There’s no shortage of company’s trying to improve the world’s roadways. Asphalt and concrete each have their own disadvantages, especially when maintenance environmental factors are taken into consideration. Plastic is a major problem for landfills, as well, as it can take an estimated 500 years to fully decompose. One UK company believes they can solve both maintenance and environmental problems through the use of recycled plastic.
According to the US Department of Labor (US DOL), the construction industry has the highest rate of current drug users (15.6%) as compared to any other industry in the United States. As the city of New York grapples with trying to reduce their alarming rate of injuries and fatalities on construction sites, the New York chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) has proposed that lawmakers add mandatory drug and alcohol testing for construction workers to the law books, according to the New York Daily News.
Feeling the pressure of 9 straight quarters with a decline in total revenue, Caterpillar has acquired the equipment sharing startup, Yard Club, to get help dig themselves out of the dirt. Their most recent quarter was the company’s first positive revenue quarter since November of 2012.
I’m a firm believer that before robots start taking over construction jobs, we’ll first be working with robotics to make workers more efficient and our job sites more functional. Instead of using 3D printing robots to build an entire project, why not use them first to create intricate details and bring character back to buildings? Instead of pushing human labor out of the way, why not use robotics to enhance the abilities of our workers, to improve their health and productivity? With rise in development commercial exoskeletons, workers will soon be able to harness additional strength by just slipping on a suit.
Traffic in Atlanta sucks, there’s really no other way to say it. So imagine the tough position commuters and city officials were put in when a bridge of a major highway on the north side of the city caught fire on March 20, 2017 and was damaged beyond repair. 243,000 motorists were forced to find alternate routes to work for the estimated 3 months that it was going to take to rebuild it. Now, imagine how thrilled they were when the highway opened back up one month ahead of schedule.