CD Designs Blog

    Things You Never Knew About Concrete #3

    Translucent Concrete

    Concrete is known for a number of properties: its impressive strength once it has set, the flexibility of design provided by its plastic nature when it’s wet, and many more. But we can all agree that it isn’t well known for being see-through… until now.

    By embedding optical glass fibres in concrete, a Hungarian architect has created a concrete which is suitable for construction use, and effectively transmits light. The optical glass fibres – which make up around 4% of the concrete’s volume – act as fine aggregate in the concrete mix, so they have no negative effect on the concrete’s strength. And the translucency of the concrete persists  up to thicknesses of 20m. Admittedly, it’s hardly glass or Perspex, but still, you can see silhouettes and colours and it lets natural light through as well.

    Click here to visit the Litracon website, where there’s more information about the light transmitting concrete, its properties, and a list of projects it’s already been used on.

    If you’re interested in the concept and you’re reasonably handy at DIY (and don’t mind shelling out for optical glass fibres) you can make some yourself. There’s a video here that shows the results. Obviously, it’s not a material that we have much call for in the pattern imprinted concrete driveway trade, but still, it’s interesting to see what designers and architects around the world are getting up to with concrete, isn’t it?

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