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
Placing, bending, and tying rebar can be an extremely labor intensive process. It can also be very repetitive, which makes it a candidate for robotic automation. A relatively new construction technology startup is hoping to break into the space after raising some substantial seed funding.
In April, a tower crane being dismantled suddenly collapsed onto an open street in Seattle, Washington killing 2 workers and 2 civilians. Recent violations issued by the state of Washington have confirmed theories that prematurely removed pins were to blame for the incident.
On October 12, tragedy struck at a construction site in New Orleans, when an 18-story under-construction hotel partially collapsed, killing 3. Due to the unstable tower cranes on site, crews have yet to be able to recover 2 of the bodies inside the building.
A couple of years ago, we shared an article about how Los Angeles was painting certain asphalt roads with a light, paint-like material made by CoolSense. Their hope was that it would reduce heat island effect in the warmest part of their city. A recent study has found that the coating may not actually have the effect that the city was hoping for.
Many construction companies require their employees to get either an OSHA 10 or OSHA 30 safety certification, but there are a few different ways to take the courses. Throughout my career, I’ve had safety training in a few different capacity: in-person classroom as part of my construction management degree curriculum, a work organized 10-hour course, and, most recently, an OSHA 30 online course.
For the past 5 years, construction technology company, Procore, has hosted their customers and tech enthusiasts at a multi-day conference called Groundbreak. There’s been significant growth since the events humble beginnings, not only in just attendees, but in the conference’s offerings.
This was my second time attending Groundbreak and, in case you couldn’t make it, here are the highlights of the items you missed:
Tragedy struck in New Orleans over the weekend when an under construction 18-story hotel suddenly collapsed, killing at least 2 with 1 still missing and injuring up to 30 others.
For nearly 3 years, an update to the overtime pay rule was held up in court battles, but we may finally have a resolution. The update sought to increase the minimum salary threshold of workers that are exempt from being paid overtime pay for any overs worked over the traditional 40 hour work week.
If you want your construction company to be best-in-class, you need to be able to objectively measure yourself against them. To help assist with that difficult task, Autodesk has announced the release of a new self-assessment tool to measure where your company stands against your competitors based upon 7 different key performance indicators (KPIs).
In a recent press release, OSHA announced that it has implemented a new OSHA Weighting System (OWS) for their 2020 fiscal year. The change will better help OSHA allocate their resources where needed.