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
In what has become a popular trend for construction technology leaders, Procore recently held their yearly Groundbreak construction technology conference in Austin, TX from November 13-15. These yearly conference allow companies to reach a core of their user base and announce their past and future enhancements, in addition to performing hands-on training sessions with product experts. Construction Junkie was in attendance for this year’s Gorundbreak and we’ve got you covered with all the details.
This week, Procore held their annual construction technology conference called Groundbreak in Austin, TX. Through a series of keynote speeches and breakout sessions, Procore announced their latest releases and plans for the future. I was in attendance this week and I’ll have a full recap of the event coming soon. One of the company’s biggest announcements at this year’s Groundbreak was the release of a new product called Design Coordination, for Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) teams.
The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced a recall of 3 different drills manufactured by Black & Decker due to safety concerns.
West Virginia is either the southern most northern state and the northern most southern state, but either way it has done well and landed at #18 on our countdown. The wildest and wonderfullest state was helped on our list by having a cost of living 4.1% lower than the national average, according to MERIC, moving it approximately 8 spots up the list.
Tall buildings made with structural timber have been on the rise in Canada and European countries in recent years, but the United States has been slower to adopt the method due to code restrictions. The state of Oregon recently released an addendum to their building code to allow taller mass timber buildings in the state and an upcoming International Code Council (ICC) vote could encourage more states to follow suit.
CAT phones has made our headlines in recent years by matching their rugged design with a suite of features that no other phone can match, like the built-in thermal imaging, laser measure, and humidity and VOC sensors that the Cat S61 has. Those past phones have been unlocked and compatible with certain networks of the user’s choosing, but their latest release is starting out only available on the Sprint Network.
Over the past few years, it has been abundantly clear that many contractors have their choice of work and not enough resources to handle all of the opportunities. That abundance commonly leads to the labor field being able to bounce between companies for quick wage increases, leaving company owners and management struggling to keep fully staffed with qualified people.
Louisiana, home of jazz music, gumbo, and next door neighbor to #20 Texas, is the first one on our list to reach the teens in the rankings. America’s most swamp heavy state benefits from a low cost of living, 5.4% below the national average, according to MERIC.
You may have been sitting in your house or office one day and noticed the distinct sound of a bird hitting the window. It’s pretty common, as it’s estimated that as many as 988 million birds die in the US each year by colliding into glass. The new arena that will house the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks has incorporated some design elements that will reduce the amount of birds killed by the massive structure, allowing it to be dubbed the “World’s Most Bird Friendly Sports Arena.”
The construction industry ranks first in total suicides and second in suicide rate compared to all other industries in the United States, according to a 2016 study by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). This sad fact led more than 75 industry groups to form an alliance to combat the epidemic in 2016. Some of the members recently met in in Washington DC to help construction companies to better address mental health issues among their workers.