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
Construction Safety is talked about constantly. There are many construction companies that take it very seriously. There are also many that don’t. All will say it’s their top priority.
So what can a city do that’s facing regular worker deaths and increases in workplace injuries? New York City has decided to require extensive safety training for all of the 185,000 construction workers in the city.
Modular building makes a lot of sense: build repetitive structures in a controlled, factory-like setting and transport to the project site and assemble. It should be a more efficient and less expensive way to construct a building, but the truth is, it’s a lot harder than it looks. There’s also no written standard for doing it.
Masonry workers, specifically brick and block masons, have been around for centuries and are one of the construction industries oldest professions. Before blocks were prefabricated and purchased, masons had to cut the material by hand before placing. Recently, robotic brick and block placing robots have threatened to take some jobs away from human masons, but that technology is still a long way away from making a huge impact on the profession
Concrete can adapt to any shape its formwork calls for while it’s being placed. While it’s POSSIBLE to make intricate designs with the material, it’s not always easy or practical to do so. Researchers from ETH Zurich have designed a new method of forming and placing an ultra-thin, curved concrete roof system that they plan on installing on a construction project next year.
According to the Workzonesafety.com, nearly half (46%) of all work zone-associated worker fatalities from 2003-2010 were caused by being struck by a vehicle. Surprisingly, only around 2% of those workers were killed by a drunk driver. From 2003 to 2015 (the last year this data was updated), a total of 1324 work zone fatalities have been recorded, which averages to about 102 per year.
Residents living near a Jersey City, New Jersey construction site were frightened as they watched “explosions” of smoke coming out of holes in the ground.
For almost 80 years, the Old Kosciuszko Bridge connected Brooklyn and Queens in New York. Much like many other bridges its age, it is being replaced due to capacity issues and deterioration. When it was completed in 1939, it was built for 10,000 cars per day. Unfortunately for the people who needed to use that bridge that past few decades, around 180,000 cars used it.
[sponsored] With the hottest of the summer months behind us, we are moving into the cooler months of autumn on the jobsite. While Helly Hansen is frequently seen on snowy slopes and high seas, their tradition of quality and protection actually originated in premium workwear.
The immense technological growth the construction industry has seen in the past decade has been a refreshing change, to say the least. Fax machines, large filing cabinets, and redundant work are slowly becoming a thing of the past. More importantly, software developers are actually paying attention to the construction industry, making our lives collectively easier, while giving us more data to make better decisions. Bluebeam, maker of one of the industry’s favorite construction document software, has recently announced a wireless digital sensor specifically for under construction buildings.
Portable toilets are the setting for many pranks around a construction site, but I never thought there could be something worse than just getting stuck in one. Turns out I was extremely wrong, because a worker in New Orleans was run over by a dump truck while using the port-a-john.