6 of the lightest and strongest materials on Earth

March 18, 2017 by  
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The future of construction is more exciting than ever thanks to huge technological developments in material innovation. Researchers are constantly developing new materials that are stronger and lighter than ever before, paving the way to a more energy-efficient and eco-friendly future in everything from transportation to medical technology . We’ve rounded up six cutting-edge materials that rank among some of the lightest and strongest ever discovered—keep reading to see them all. 3D Graphene Made from pure carbon , ultra-thin graphene is thought to be one of the strongest materials on the planet. But earlier this year, researchers at MIT found a way to turn two-dimensional graphene into a three-dimensional structure by designing a new material with a sponge-like configuration that’s 5 percent the density of steel and about 10 times as strong. The super-strong and lightweight 3D graphene has been shown to be stronger than its 2D counterpart and offers greater potential uses thanks to its building block form. Carbyne In the spring of 2016, a team of Austrian researchers revealed that they were able to successfully synthesize Carbyne, an exotic form of carbon that they say is the strongest of all known materials—even surpassing graphene . Considered the holy grail of carbon allotropes, Carbyne is made from a monodimensional chain of carbon atoms that’s highly reactive, making it very tricky to synthesize. The stiff material is believed to be twice as strong as carbon nanotubes. Aerographite Created from a network of porous carbon tubes, aerographite is synthetic foam that’s one of the lightest structural materials ever created. Developed by researchers at the University of Kiel and the Technical University of Hamburg, aerographite can be produced in a variety of shapes and boasts a density of just 180 grams per cubic meter, making it about 75 times lighter than styrofoam. The material could be used on the electrodes of lithium ion batteries to reduce their weight. Aerographene Aerographene, also known as graphene aerogel, is believed to be the world’s lightest material with a density of just 0.16 milligram per cubic centimeter. Zhejiang University researchers developed the material, which is approximately 7.5 times less dense than air. The extremely elastic material can absorb up to 900 times their own weight in oil and water, making oil spill cleanups a potential application. Metallic microlattice Metallic microlattice is the world’s lightest metal and one of the lightest structural materials. This synthetic porous material made from nickel phosphorous tubes has a density as low as 0.9 milligrams per cubic centimeter. Potential uses include applications in automotive engineering, aeronautical engineering, and more. Limpet teeth The teeth of limpets, the term for aquatic snails found clinging to rocky shores, are considered one of the strongest biological materials in the world. Made of a mineral-protein composite, limpet teeth have been revealed in a University of Portsmouth study to be much stronger than spider silk . Its strength is believed to be due to its tightly packed mineral fibers, which scientists could combine into man-made composites to create stronger planes, cars, and even dental fillings. Lead image via ZD News/Huffington Post

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6 of the lightest and strongest materials on Earth

A 10K tiny house 3D-printed in 24 hours

March 1, 2017 by  
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Building a house typically takes months, exacerbating the housing crisis so many people face worldwide. Apis Cor , a San Francisco-based company that specializes in 3D-printing , decided to tackle that crisis with a groundbreaking mobile 3D-printer that can print an entire 400-square-foot tiny home in just 24 hours. What’s more, doing so costs just over $10,000 – a steal compared to most modern homes. On their website, Apis Cor says the construction industry may be sluggish now, but they will persevere in disrupting that industry “until everyone is able to afford a place to live.” Their revolutionary mobile 3D-printer is small enough to be transported, so assembly and transportation costs can be slashed. Although their mobile printer only needs a day to print a home from a concrete mixture, the company says their buildings will last up to 175 years. Not only is their process speedy, but environmentally friendly and affordable too. Related: New 3D house printer cranks out 1,000 square feet a day https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xktwDfasPGQ The Russian house offers a promising beginning. Located at the Apis Cor test facility in Stupino, around 60 miles south of Moscow, the home was printed as a whole rather than assembled with pre-printed pieces. Apis Cor printed components like the building envelope, self-bearing walls, and partitions right on location. Winter couldn’t even stand in the little mobile printer’s way. Apis Cor printed the home last December, which was no big deal for their printer because it can function in temperatures down to negative 31 degrees Fahrenheit. The concrete mixture does require temperatures above 41 degrees Fahrenheit, however, so Apis Cor erected a tent over the tiny house site to plunge forward in cold weather. White decorative plaster finished the tiny home’s exterior, allowing the team to paint it in bright colors. The interior is bright and furnished with modern appliances from Samsung. In total, the house cost $10,134, or around $275 per square foot. + Apis Cor Via Curbed Images via Apis Cor

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A 10K tiny house 3D-printed in 24 hours

The trials and triumphs of offshore wind

March 1, 2017 by  
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Offshore wind is making big waves in Europe. Why is the U.S. staying on dry land?

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The trials and triumphs of offshore wind

Terrifying sinkhole swallows five-lane street in Japan

November 8, 2016 by  
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Traffic today is not following normal patterns in the bustling urban center of Fukuoka, Japan after a terrifying sinkhole claimed five lanes of city streets . The sinkhole, which left the surrounding buildings intact, measured 98-feet-long, 88-feet-wide, and nearly 50-feet-deep, exposing underground pipes and electrical infrastructure. No injuries have been reported and local authorities have responded quickly to assess the damage and begin to plan a solution. Fukuoka city officials reported that the sinkhole may be attributed to ongoing construction on the city’s subway lines. A project is underway to expand the subway network beneath the city streets, but it’s safe to say this side effect was not part of the plan. The collapse, which occurred shortly after 5 a.m. local time, caused power outages and kicked off a massive evacuation of the immediate area, in an attempt to keep the public safe from other ramifications, such as additional sinkholes or explosions from gas leaks. No serious injuries were reported, though. Related: Sinkhole releases over 200 million gallons of toxic waste into Florida’s drinking water Fukuoka, located in southern Japan, is the nation’s fifth largest city with 5.6 million residents. As part of the city’s growth, which has been booming in recent years, the local government is in the process of expanding the subway system to better serve its residents and commuting workers. Those plans backfired when construction allegedly kicked off the sinkhole, which began before dawn and grew until it had consumed all five lanes of the city street by mid-morning. Locals report hearing “a loud boom” when the sinkhole opened up directly in front of the main railway station serving the city. Via Business Insider Images via Kinkakuji09/Twitter

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Terrifying sinkhole swallows five-lane street in Japan

The worlds tallest timber building was just topped off ahead of schedule

August 26, 2016 by  
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In Vancouver, the towering timber Brock Commons just had its final panel installed , making the dream of the world’s tallest timber building a reality. In just 66 days – ahead of the original scheduled timeframe – the exterior of the  Acton Ostry Architects ‘ record-breaking design has come to fruition, which could possibly bump up the projected fall 2017 completion date to next year’s spring semester. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYwI6wHcRVc The final panel of the University of British Columbia student housing structure was lifted and installed earlier this month. John Metras, managing director of UBC Infrastructure, stated, “Construction just went really smoothly. It was well designed and the construction sequence went smoothly.” Construction began last November, followed by the erection of the building’s freestanding concrete cores earlier this year. Related: Construction of world’s tallest timber building is underway in Vancouver To ease fire safety fears of an 18-story timber structure, Brock Commons is outfitted with a sprinkler system and the wood is encapsulated in drywall and concrete. The lighter weight of the building also allows for better energy dissipation during an earthquake , making it proficient at withstanding all kinds of disasters. Students will be able to move in next year, quite possibly in the spring semester. +Acton Ostry Architects Via Treehugger Images via Acton Ostry Architects ( 1 , 2 )

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The worlds tallest timber building was just topped off ahead of schedule

4 megatrends transforming construction industry

July 5, 2016 by  
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Facing greater challenges such as natural disasters and market volatility, the construction industry is looking to reshape their business.

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4 megatrends transforming construction industry

4 megatrends transforming the construction industry

July 5, 2016 by  
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Facing greater challenges such as natural disasters and market volatility, the sector is looking to reshape itself.

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4 megatrends transforming the construction industry

5 emerging trends in climate resilience

July 5, 2016 by  
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Connecting the dots on climate adaptation and global development never has been more important.

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5 emerging trends in climate resilience

INFOGRAPHIC: How engineering is keeping us safe from earthquakes

April 8, 2016 by  
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Engineering is saving lives and protecting cities from the impacts of earthquakes. Earthquakes can be incredibly devastating, and throughout history, there have been countless examples of entire cities being brought low, with damage even causing fires and flooding afterwards. Less than a century ago, a strong earthquake could sometimes result in the deaths of many thousands of people. Thanks to advances in civil engineering, the construction of buildings, bridges, roads and highways has progressed resulting in safer structures for our society. To learn more, checkout this infographic created by Norwich University’s Online Master of Civil Engineering Program . Read the rest of INFOGRAPHIC: How engineering is keeping us safe from earthquakes

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INFOGRAPHIC: How engineering is keeping us safe from earthquakes

Studio Muda turns wood pallets into modular furniture to minimize waste

September 22, 2015 by  
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Studio Muda has designed modular wood pallet furniture that generates zero waste during the construction process. Many current wood pallet solutions use entire pallets just be stacking them with very low flexibility to dismantle them to build a new object, thus generating some waste in the process. Studio Muda’s final concept creates a module that is flexible for multiple uses and stacking purposes, while still utilizing the whole pallet without creating any waste. + Studio Muda The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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Studio Muda turns wood pallets into modular furniture to minimize waste

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