As consistent and strong as wood, concrete, and steel have been for the past centuries, researchers and scientists are continually trying to improve them or create a better replacement product. Many have tried, but none have yet to succeed on a large scale. The latest scientific breakthrough takes a look at the geometry of a structure, rather than simply the material itself.
For years, scientists have known that graphene, in its two dimensional form, is one of the strongest materials on the planet. But, converting that strength into a useful three dimensional product has been a major struggle. While studying this material, MIT researchers Markus Buehler, Zhao Qin, Gang Seob Jung, and Min Jeong Kang Meng have discovered that the geometrical configuration may be more important to a material's strength the the material itself. By manipulating the structure, they believe they not only can increase the strength, but greatly reduce the weight in the process.
To illustrate their findings, the team 3D printed oddly shaped cubes of plastic and applied pressure to them. The version with thicker walls, which would seem stronger, actually failed faster than the less rigid version with thinner walls, as you can see in the video below.
“You can replace the material itself with anything,” Buehler said in a statement, referring to graphene. “The geometry is the dominant factor. It’s something that has the potential to transfer to many things.”
As it relates to construction, the team believes that the geometry discovery could be applied to concrete. By designing the concrete with the porous geometry, the weight of a concrete structure could be greatly reduced while not sacrificing any strength. The airspace within, they say, would also provide better insulation. The idea of porous concrete being beneficial does seem to contradict what other MIT researchers have previously found, however. As we shared last year, a team led by researchers from MIT, Georgetown, and CRNS in France determined that the existence of water that enters concrete through tiny pores causes concrete degradation. Controlling the size of the pores, they say, could strengthen and extend the life of concrete.
Full story: Researchers design one of the strongest, lightest materials known | MIT News
Every now and then a new product comes along and you ask yourself, “why didn’t I think of that?!” The OVAL Fire Extinguisher is just that product. Architecture and interior design have been moving towards cleaner lines in their spaces. Foregone are the days of bulky protruding water fountains (bubblers for my northern friends) and fire extinguisher cabinets. Interior designers are looking for cleaner and sleeker interior spaces but the 10lb fire extinguishers and cabinets have not changed for quite some time. OVAL is about to change all that.
Do you own Bosch Cordless Power Tools? Is it time for a battery upgrade? Take a look at Bosch’s new CORE 18V batteries. They have gone in and completely revamped their 18V batteries! They are now smaller, lighter, more powerful, have a longer life, and allow for more cuts and drives. Bosch has been able to achieve all of these benefits while also delivering corded performance in high-load applications.
The 2017 Milwaukee Tool New Product Symposium (NPS) was held last week at Milwaukee’s headquarters and it proved to be a whirlwind of new products and information from the red brand. Over 80 new tools and accessories, which will be released throughout the remainder of 2017, were presented to dozens of media representatives, including construction magazines, YouTubers, Instagrammers, and your favorite construction blog (Construction Junkie, obviously).
After flooding our social media pages with Milwaukee information and gathering our thoughts from the event, we’ve come up with our 9 biggest takeaways from the event, in no particular order.
After recently announcing the release of a bunch of new Bluetooth enabled tools and products, as well as an inventory platform, DeWalt has jumped all-in on internet connected construction sites with the announcement of Construction Site WiFi. Construction sites, especially large complex sites, are becoming more and more reliant on internet connectivity to efficiently manage their projects. This is great news for all of you who count on a consistent internet connection to use programs like Procore, PlanGrid, and Bluebeam, among others, to communicate between different parties on the job site and in the office.
Skip the ties this year and get your dad something he really wants. Weather he's a full time construction workers, a handyman, or a DIYer, there are plenty of tools and accessories that will keep him productive and make his life easier. Below is a list of products that would make any dad happy this year.
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.
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.
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.