New Construction Materials… That Self-Repair?

Opening up a new field of design for construction technology, the US Department of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is envisioning futuristic materials that repair themselves. After recently launching the Engineered Living Materials (ELM) program, DARPA’s goal is to create a whole new class of construction materials. Imagine engineering living cellular systems into the structural features of traditional construction materials. The results might offer, for example, a driveway that eats oil spills; a chimney that cleans itself or heals…

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Reversible Concrete Allows for Easy Removal

Yes, you read the title correctly – reversible concrete! It seems like an oxymoron – concrete is known for its stability and strength, and its permanence. Well, not anymore! Last October at the Chicago Architecture Biennial, Self-Assembly Lab at MIT and Gramazio Kohler Research of ETH Zurich showed off a process that might finally one-up concrete, using only a 3-D printing extruder, rocks, string, and smart design. The short, unscientific version is that the rocks are bound together by the…

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Scientists Developing Paint-On Coating For Energy Efficient Windows

US Dept. of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) scientists are developing a new paint-on coating that will help building owners improve the energy efficiency of their windows, without the need for trained installers. “Instead of hiring expensive contractors, a homeowner could go to the local hardware store, buy the coating, and paint it on as a DIY retrofit—that’s the vision,” said Berkeley Lab scientist Raymond Weitekamp. “The coating will selectively reflect the infrared solar energy back to…

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Forests & Civilization – John Perlin Interview Series Part III: Forests Change the World

Thanks for stopping by Part III of this interview series conducted with John Perlin, author of “A Forest Journey: the Story of Wood and Civilization.” I believe this is an important book to read in understanding the history of deforestation and knowing the significant role forests have played in the survival of both our civilization and our environment. Perlin’s work, first published in 1989, was recently republished in a third edition. In the face of global climate change challenges, the…

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