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January 8, 2010

Age of Miracles and Wonders Continues


What on earth is this? Concrete, that's what.
Scientists in Hungary developed this, using pre-formed blocks of concrete with fiber optics run through the material. Called "Litracon" the material allows light to pass through the building material, which can carry light as far as 20 meters.
Thousands of optical glass fibers form a matrix and run parallel to each other between the two main surfaces of every block,€ explained its inventor Áron Losonczi. €œShadows on the lighter side will appear with sharp outlines on the darker one. Even the colours remain the same. This special effect creates the general impression that the thickness and weight of a concrete wall will disappear.€
-- Word Around the Net: Picture of the Day

Posted by Vanderleun at January 8, 2010 2:28 PM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

Fiber-glass concrete.


And Mythbusters* used Pykrete (actually newspapers and ice - a variation) and made a boat. (The material lived up to its bullet-proof and strength claims.) Verdict - it can be done, but it is silly.

*Saw it when at my little brother's over Christmas.

As an aside - a clotheswasher will not necesarily wipe out a thumb drive/jump drive. I washed one in a pants pocket (by accident) with the USB part exposed and it still works. I did back that one up, however, just to be sure.

Posted by: Mikey NTH at January 8, 2010 5:02 PM

Or you could put some glass blocks in the wall.

Posted by: Fat Man at January 8, 2010 5:58 PM

Cynic! Did you know there's a fiber optic mineral which also allows light and color to pass from one surface to another?


I have a piece similar to the one in the image around here somewhere. This is something to purchase for the children in your life to play with. It inspires wonder. God is great, Sabu.

Posted by: Western Chauvinist at January 8, 2010 6:11 PM

I think this is cool. I would put large sections of wall made of his stuff in a house.

Posted by: Don Rodrigo at January 9, 2010 1:39 PM

Cool, but I'm not sure that this will replace reinforced concrete anytime soon in the ways we'd all like it to. There are quite a few physical and human obstacles to overcome.

(To get somewhat technical: /begin{rant} The fabrication of these sheets requires fiber-optic - glass - wires be placed within concrete. This will reduce the strength of the concrete, assuming a nontrivial volume fraction of "Litracon" in the concrete. Even with all the fly ash and silicon fume in the world, the strength of "Litracon" would likely not equal previous mix strengths. Consequently, a "Litracon" load bearing strong wall would be thicker than ordinary concrete walls and reduce the transparency. Plus, the transparency effect for "Litracon" load bearing members would be interrupted every few inches with a steel rebar. Do you really want to see the guts of a reinforced concrete building? The company appears to sell this stuff in pre-cast slabs. That's one approach, but can this new mix be cast-in-place? If "Litracon" cannot be cast in place, then it won't be applied in a number of important situations. Further, from a toughness standpoint (my area of expertise) this sounds like a really, really bad idea: take a brittle material (concrete) and add an even more brittle material (glass) to it. That's just asking for a catastrophic collapse that kills a whole lot of people. Or maybe contractors won't be able to work with it without the material breaking to pieces. Finally and perhaps most importantly, glass concrete isn't something that's in the ACI code. Consequently, only the best of the best engineers will risk working with "Litracon". Everyone else will avoid it like the plague since if it ain't in the code, then it doesn't exist. /end{rant} )

Best case scenario, I'm wrong and we get transparent buildings. I'd love that since I work in a concrete bunker myself.

Worst case scenario, "Litracon" never works as a structural material. Instead some cutting-edge architect uses it cubicle walls. Then we all lose.

Posted by: LRFD at January 9, 2010 7:24 PM

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