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3 Smart Materials You Should Consider for Your Next Construction Project

The range of materials that is available to structural engineers has been increasing very rapidly over the years. Emerging threats, such as terrorism, have led to the development of novel materials that are designed to meet those challenges. This article discusses some smart materials that your structural engineer may recommend as you build a commercial structure.

Self-Healing Polymers

The cost of repairing and maintaining structures has been increasing so much that engineers have started looking for ways to manage those spiraling costs. One technique that has been developed includes the use of self-healing polymers, such as Engineered Cementitious Composites (ECC). These polymers can creep back to fill any cracks that develop in the structure where the material has been used. This eliminates the need to conduct annual repairs to fix cracks that develop on buildings. Thus, you will incur lower ongoing maintenance costs if you use these polymers during the construction of your commercial building.

Smart Nano-materials

Nanotechnology has started making its presence felt in the structural engineering field. These composites have been developed in order to fix the problems that have plagued the construction industry for long. For instance, the performance of concrete columns during seismic activity has been unsatisfactory due to the limited ductility of concrete. Composites/nano-materials have therefore been developed to improve the performance of concrete during earthquakes. The inclusion of such materials in your building can therefore make it more durable since it will withstand natural hazards, such as earthquakes.

Chromogenic Materials

Chromogenic materials are substances that alter their colour due to changes in their environment. Engineers have developed chromogenic materials that can be mixed into construction materials. The material will then change colour once it is subjected to excessive loads, such as when an upstairs room is overloaded with heavy machinery. The material can also change colour in case it develops structural cracks.

These colour changes can trigger prompt responses to fix the problem before the integrity of the building is greatly compromised. The task of preventive maintenance will therefore be eased because personnel will not have to use sophisticated equipment to conduct structural tests. All that they have to do is to observe the colour changes that occur. Repairs can also trigger the material to revert to its original colour.

As you can see, materials exist to make your new building more resilient to the different challenges that shorten the lifespan of structures. Ask your structural engineer to explain what smart materials are available in your area. The added cost of using those materials will be adequately compensated by the ease of maintaining that building throughout its service life.

For more information or assistance, contact companies like Jeffrey Hills and Associates.