CD Designs Blog

    Mineral powders to reduce carbon emissions?

    Mineral powders

    We are always looking for more environmentally friendly ways to work, and a recent dissertation by Johanna Tikkanen of the Aalto University School of Engineering near Helsinki in Finland, could lead to big developments in the future.

    The idea of the paper was to study how different mineral powders could be used as replacements for the cement, the creation of which is one of the main contributors to the amount of CO2 emitted during the manufacturing process. Replacing or simply reducing the amount of cement in the concrete will lower the amount of CO2 used significantly, and will also reduce the cost of manufacturing. Mineral powders can also be used to reduce the water requirements of concrete, further adding to the economic and environmental benefits.

    Obviously, the properties of the cement will have to remain roughly the same, so that the concrete can be used in the same processes as before, but if it can be perfected, then concrete production will be greener than ever before.

    Concrete Furnishings

    A concrete couch designed by

    A concrete couch designed by Tina Rugelj (

    In the mid-20th century, concrete became unfashionable due to its extensive use on large housing projects and tower blocks. However, new techniques and imaginitive designers are giving the material a new lease of life.

    Souda, a New York City-based design studio, has been experimenting with all kinds of concrete structures, including furniture. “In a lot of design, concrete is still used in a blocky way. But it is a fluid material from which we can now make any sort of three-dimensional shape,” said Isaac Friedman-Heiman, one of the co-founders of the company. Traditionally concrete is mixed with gravel and sand, but high-tech materials like fibreglass and steel-reinforced microfibres have allowed the designers to create almost anything they can imagine.

    Concrete seater designed by Tina Gru

    Concrete seater designed by Tina Rugelj (

    Tina Rugelj, a Slovenian architect, has been researching concrete furniture techniques for several years. Her collection of fibre-reinforced concrete outdoor furniture was presented in Milan last year. “While designing this collection, I wanted to use all of the potential of the material: its extreme thinness (the thickness of my product varies between 10mm and 16mm); lightness (from 9kg to 56kg); the way it can bend; and its weather resistance, both to cold and to heat.”The techniques used are still largely experimental, but as designers gain more experience with the material, we may see it becoming a large part of our home furnishings in the future.

    See the original article from here.

    World Of Concrete 2013

    The latest World Of Concrete convention is due to take place next week at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. The event begins on the 5th of February and ends on the 8th, with seminars starting a day earlier on February 4th. It claims to be the concrete industry’s only annual international event, and is “dedicated to the commercial concrete and masonry construction industries showcasing leading industry suppliers featuring innovative products, construction machinery, construction equipment, safety training courses and training, technologies and unlimited networking opportunities to give you new ways to sustain and grow your business”.

    Complete Driveway Designs attended the show a few years ago, and we can tell you that it certainly lives up to the the billing. The Las Vegas Convention Center is one of the biggest in the world with 300,000 m2 of floor space, and it will be packed full of exhibits such as new product showcases, training areas, and networking facilities. If that wasn’t enough there are also special shows in the outside lots, like the “toughest tender competition” in which 2 person teams compete to lay the most bricks, with the winners getting to take home a new truck!

    The whole convention should be both fun and educational for anyone with even the least bit of interest in the construction and concrete industry. For more information, videos, photos etc the website is here.

    Concrete Or Steel?

    Artists Impresiion Of The New World Trade Center

    Artists Impression Of The New World Trade Center

    Steel and concrete are by far the two most used materials in the construction industry, but which is the best material for construction, concrete or steel?

    In steel’s case construction time can be significantly reduced, as the steel can be prepared off-site well before construction begins, and it takes relatively little time to put them into place during the construction, which is especially useful when constructing tall buildings. This off-site preparation allows the quality of the material to be controlled better. It is also easily recycled, with more steel recycled each year than every other material combined.

    For concrete, the main advantage in construction is its compression strength. It is highly resistant to explosions and impact, which is why the new World Trade Center is being built with a 24-inch-thick concrete wall surrounding the buildings core, which should protect it from fire or terrorist attack. Buildings in high risk earthquake zones are also using a similar design. Concrete can be made to form almost any shape, giving architects limitless possibilities in terms of design.

    In reality, it is a combination of concrete and steel that works best in most constructions, and it is the building’s function and requirements that make the most difference in choosing which materials to use.

    To see the original article this post was based on click here.

    Another Concrete Myth Debunked

    One of the myths we often hear about concrete is that it cracks easily. Like any material it will degrade due to wear and tear over time, and disreputable companies will make this worse by using cheap concrete, not leaving crack control joints and not laying the concrete thick enough. When done properly, pattern imprinted concrete will last a long time and will only require the minimum amount of maintenance.

    Concrete vs Asphalt

    Historically, concrete has not been used as extensively as asphalt for road construction, as it usually takes longer to install, and the price of asphalt has generally been lower. However the primary raw material in asphalt is crude oil, and with oil prices continually rising, the cost of asphalt long term has now exceeded concrete, and more and more people are looking to concrete in order to cut down on costs.

    For example in this Japanese article, although not optimal for dense urban areas due to increased noise, concrete is being used for expressways and arterial roads, which just goes to show that it can handle heavy traffic just as well as asphalt, and it generally last 3-5 times longer, meaning that it offers an estimated 30% cost saving overall.

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