Translucent Cement

translucent-concrete

Speaking of cement, the most popular thought of people is monotony or heavy. The traditional cement, as one of the widely used material of architecture, is being regarded as a representation of industrial architecture with simple color and dim light. However, a new material-translucent cement nowadays totally changed people’s impression for which light can easily through the cement and refract in the inner space of cement, making the cement luminous. By adding optical refractive fiber in cement, architects and scientists create the translucent cement and bring a new experience to the people. The new material not only has the advantages of cement but also possesses a beautiful appearance.

Translucent material as a new material with ecological and fashionable advantages is widely used in architecture. And one of the most famous building made by translucent stone is Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in the Yale University. As a windowless rectangular building, the library keep light because of the walls which are made by the translucent stones. In the day time, the library even not need to use artificial lights to illuminate the inner space.

Features and advantages

  1. a) Nature, eco-friendly and fashionable
  2. b) High viscosity and clarity
  3. c) Durable
  4. d) Fire resistant, water proof, can be applied in web environment.
  5. e) Ecological
  6. f) Easy to clean and maintain
  7. g) Resistance to chemicals

Disadvantages

  1. a) Heavy
  2. b) Difficult to delivery, have to be well packed and protected
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2 comments

  1. miche396

    While the design possibilities grow with the development of translucent concrete, the main issues with concrete are not addressed. Concrete remains an energy and resource intensive material (Wilson). Translucent walls may allow for energy savings by transmitting daylight, but concrete’s structural capabilities when used in combination with steel, which you describe as monotonous and “heavy”, already make curtain walls and large spans of windows possible.

    Translucent concrete, which can create beautiful effects, as the photograph you include shows, only makes sense in certain applications. Public buildings that require constant daytime lighting, such as an office building or a school, may benefit from translucent concrete. For a private house or apartment building, personalizing the amount of daylight into the house would become more difficult. Additionally, privacy during the nighttime would decrease, since their movements within an artificially-lit room could be viewed from the exterior.

    Translucent concrete, although interesting from an aesthetic perspective, does not have many larger benefits. Researchers’ time would be better spent on developing less environmentally disruptive materials than concrete, or finding other ways to bring light into a building.

    Wilson, Alex. “Cement and Concrete: Environmental Considerations.” EBN, vol 2, no. 2,1993. Accessed 16 Sept. 2016.

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