Composite building materials have been used from the earliest times, from wood which is a naturally occurring composite of lignin and cellulose, through straw reinforced clay bricks to reinforced concrete.
In the 20th century, a new breed of composite materials was developed using polymer matrices with high performance reinforcement fibres.
The effect and uncompromising properties of advance composite materials has enabled the emergence of composites that can be used across all fields of applications.
For example composites can now be found in aeronautic engineering, automobile engineering, military and of course construction.
With emphasis on building materials and construction could composite material play a vital role in today’s contemporary building construction method, by presenting itself as an alternative building construction material?
Its application has made the contemporary building construction much more flexible and achievable compared to traditional building materials and its methods of construction.
It further offers the building construction industry the technical know-how of having new possibilities of design styles, shapes and forms, therefore composite building material proves itself to be a better and new alternative building construction material that remains construction friendly and flexible based on its properties.
Examples of composites used in construction
What is a Composite Building Material?
A general description is that a composite is made from two or more materials and put together to create a better material.
Composites are created worldwide by manufacturers ranging from small entrepreneurs to major industries.
They may also provide many benefits that depend on the application. For transportation and infrastructure you can use composites that make products lighter and stronger and more resilient.
For example when we look at wind energy, we make it lightweight and strong.
We would not be able to create wind energy the way we do today with any other material but a composite.
In utility structures, it is lightweight and resilient and the fact that it does not shed toxins into the ground water or into the ground is a massive advantage.
Normally we associate composites with resins and glass or even carbon fibres which began in the first half of the 20th century for military components.
It has evolved to a very wide variety of materials and applications. However, composites began in architecture more than 4000 years ago with the mixture of straw and mud.
Later on the concrete used on Pantheon in Rome (see image above) appears about 2000 years old which was also a composite based on volcanic ash and limestone.
Can we Build Smarter?
In infrastructure, composites can help shorten construction times and save money.
For example they can help build smaller and lighter-weight bridges. Many infrastructure problems are associated with rebar-reinforced concrete which is porous with the steel prone to corrosion.
Composites eliminate degradation of the rebar resulting in infrastructure that lasts longer and is more resilient.
Composite decking and cladding are now well used products in the construction industry.
The mixture of recycled timber and plastics has changed how we view homes and commercial properties, reducing maintenance to the minimum and even the option of a fire rated option.
The chemicals used in the treatment process of traditional pressure treated decking and cladding may be harmful to the environment.
Composite materials, or composites, are revolutionizing all sectors of industry and the innovation, creation and evolution of new materials of this type has meant that their presence has increased exponentially in recent decades.
In virtually every application composites make our world a better place.
Is There Room for Growth?
Everybody appears to be using composites to one degree or another and the possibilities for growth are huge.
It appears areas likely that the growth will be in automotive, construction, architecture and aerospace industries.
The key is educating architects and engineers on the benefits of composites giving them the tools to design with composites, educating asset owners so that they demand the advantages composites give them in terms of lifecycle costs of the assets they are building.
That will really drive the 21st century to be the composite century, in the same way that the 20th century was the steel century.
Composites have also presented themselves as being more dynamic allowing well made contemporary buildings to be more attractive and unimaginable than before.
Based on some of the outstanding attributes advance composite material portray, the use and application of traditional building material and their construction method may decline with time in the near future
The acceleration in advancements in technology and the more innovative ideas of today will lead to the creation of more imaginative building materials.
These technological advancements majorly cut across the construction industry, by influencing its building material types as well as its methods of construction.
This advancement further brought about a dynamic change in the building industry by producing innovative building materials (composite material) that offer unique properties as well as a wide variety of functions, structural performance qualities that are sustainable and environmentally friendly, and are as well impossible to archive with normal traditional building materials.
New composite decking and cladding products will be able to offer:-
- New aesthetic possibilities and ability to mould complex fluid and create design of different forms and styles
- It could provide specially integrated surface finishes and effects
- To have superior durability with little degradation through life
- Quicker installation and cost reductions on site
- Unlock the possibilities of structural and architectural design
- Offer a greater resistance to temperature and chemicals
- Have a greater dimensional stability and flexural performance
Contemporary Buildings and Structures
Contemporary buildings and structures built using composite materials has revealed and proven its flexibility by allowing forms, shape and style of aesthetics to be achievable with high durability composite decking and cladding. Designs will advance using composite materials because they are innovative and can be used in contemporary building façades and aesthetic systems because they offer excellent performance and cost effectiveness in aesthetic and complex designs.
Contemporary building materials are challenged with new ideas as well as new knowledge and understanding of the nature of these new materials and as their physical and chemical properties, their structural properties, their characteristics especially in relation to fire.
The interaction with other building materials as well as their anticipated durability for any given situation, cost, maintenance requirement and potential for recycling and other environmental issues make composites the perfect solution.
It is impossible to emphasize the importance of composite materials especially in construction due to the improvement in benefits that general composite present against traditional methods.
Future manufacturing technologies will provide lighter products allowing for more advances in building design and reducing installation time on site.
At Teckwood we work with the best designers and engineers to give you the best advanced composite decking and cladding available.
The qualities allow us to provide you with applications that provide advantages in present day building technology which are far greater than traditional timber methods.
Teckwood for architects, designers, engineers and contractors. For more information please email email@example.com or call 0800 799 9082 where one of our friendly sales team will be able to help you.