In achieving a milestone in the scientific advancement in construction materials, a Light transmitting concrete called LiTraCon has been developed. It is also known as translucent concrete. It is one of the newest, most functional, revolutionary and brightest building material developed in recent years
A Hungarian architect by name Aron Losonczi developed LiTraCon in 2001.
4% to 5% of optical glass fibers in the volume are embedded into the concrete mixture. The material permits light to pass through.
The fibers which are of small size blend into concrete and become a component of the material that is similar to small pieces of aggregate. Compressive strength of up to 50 MPa is achieved in Light-transmitting concrete.
Besides the architectural and interior design purposes, light-transmitting concrete is used in floors, pavements, heat insulation, and load-bearing structures.
In the near future, Light transmitting concrete will hopefully find its potential applications as follows:
- Translucent concrete inserts on front doors of homes, allowing the resident to see when there is a person standing outside.
- In restaurants, clubs, resorts, and other entertainment establishments translucent concrete can be used to reveal how many patrons are inside.
- Ceilings in a commercial structure or any large office building or commercial structure can incorporate translucent concrete which would reduce lighting costs during daylight hours.
- Various colors could be incorporated in the translucent concrete in lane markers for roadways, which allows dynamic adjustments when required by traffic fluctuations.
- Translucent concrete can be poured in Sidewalks with lighting underneath, so that the walkways will be lit to enhance safety, and also help foot travel was previously avoided at night.
- When translucent concrete is used in an outer wall of an indoor stairwell, it can be illuminated in a power outage, which provided enhanced safety.
- Driveways and Speed bump in parking lots and could be illuminated from below, which will increase its visibility and effectiveness.
- Subways could be illuminated with daylight using this material.
As “LiTraCon” enables better daylighting electrical lighting is considerably reduced. If the consumed energy use is less, the cost and energy-related emissions will be less.
The structural behavior of “LiTraCon” is similar to that of conventional concrete in terms of strength, insulation, and sustainability.
Some of the drawbacks:
Since the raw material used in the production of LiTraCon is costly the product’s high cost due to expensive raw material and unavailability for in situ casting, represent some of the main drawbacks. The manufacturing process of this product is very complicated that the possibility of using it on site is not feasible. The alignment of fibers affects the transmission of light. It will result in an ordinary concrete if there is any deviation from the application technique.
Countries such as Sweden, Hungary, Germany, France, USA, and China have adopted this technology. In Hungary partition walls in a private Villa, a cinema new logo plate, and an open-air statue were constructed using this technology.
As this technology advances, more people will come to see its potential and more new exciting applications will appear in everyday use.
Finney H Wilson
Department of Civil Engineering