Building sustainably has gained a lot of popularity in recent years and is becoming much easier for designers. One very important aspect of sustainability is the durability of constructed projects and their ability to last for future generations. The natural process of degradation starts from the moment a material is created, however, by using coatings such as Boride, the life cycle of such building materials can be further increased, mitigating the sustainable building process. Researchers at Drexel University have been experimenting with Boride to help increase its longevity. Already known as one of the hardest materials commonly used, Boride is weak to oxidation which makes it impractical for large scale use outside. However, by adding an aluminum element to the existing Boride, Michel Barsoum, head engineer of the project, has been able to increase Boride’s life drastically making Boride a much more desirable coating for materials. With this type of technology building materials, especially those exposed to the elements, could survive considerably longer which in turn would help reduce the demand of said material and resource. However, it could be easily argued that without sufficient studying and research done on this type of coating, Boride could be just as detrimental as it proves to be beneficial. If Boride is off-gassing, or somehow has the same affects as lead, clearly this cannot be used where people may inhabit. Despite these speculations, Boride may prove to be a powerful ally in building sustainably and with enough research will hopefully prove to be just that.
Source Cited: Drexel University. “Making some of the world’s most durable materials corrosion-resistant: Materials scientists fabricate first highly oxidation-resistant boride.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 May 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/05/160525161545.htm>.