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Concrete is a main enabler of modern construction and continues to provide the necessary foundation for resilient built infrastructure. Globally, cement consumption is anticipated to reach 4.42 billion tons in 2021. Factors such as increasing construction activities, rising urbanization and higher disposable income are driving market growth particularly in China, parts of emerging Asia, as well as the Middle East and Africa.

According to CEMBUREAU, the European Cement Association, 70% of the world’s population already live in concrete structures. Looking ahead, it is easy to see this figure increasing as new construction projects and affordable housing initiatives drive even greater demand for concrete across the world.

Concrete provides strength, flexibility and value for the money, and can be cast into virtually any form. Likewise, nVent CADDY fixing and fastening solutions for concrete structures are engineered to give installers reliable options for making jobs easier with more design freedom. To do this, our product development teams closely examine current trends to ensure contractors’ needs can be met in the safest, most efficient way possible.

What innovations are poised to impact concrete construction projects in 2020? Following are four things to know:

1. Ultrahigh-Performance Concrete (UHPC) is in a class all its own

Containing different materials like polyester and stainless steel (while retaining roughly 80% of traditional concrete materials), UHPC is stronger and more durable than conventional concrete. It is also projected to last longer—nearly 50 years longer in many cases (up to 75 years in others).

The compressive strength of UHPC is also impressive—roughly 30,000 psi (200 MPa) compared to 4,000 psi (28 MPa) typical of traditional concrete. And unlike traditional concrete, UHPC shows remarkable resistance to moisture and environmental degradation, while exhibiting enhanced flexibility, ductility and adhesiveness.

UHPC has been available for nearly 20 years, but an increased push for its use means the worldwide market for UHPC is expected to grow at a CAGR of roughly 7.3% over the next five years. Clearly, the pace is accelerating for this technology that offers new opportunities for infrastructure works.

Installers note: By making it easy to lift and lock prefabricated assemblies in place, nVent CADDY Rod Lock Anchor Screw technology offers new opportunities for faster installations.  

2. Self-healing concrete is aiding life cycle costs

Due to normal use stresses, concrete can crack, inviting water damage and general degradation due to exposure to air. Recently, however, a new form of concrete arrived on the market that can heal itself without the need to replace it. This concrete contains bacteria, which produces limestone when introduced to water and air. The limestone then repairs the crack. Its primary use is for new mixtures, as well as repairing mortar in existing structures.

In fact, self-healing concrete technologies are not limited to bacteria alone. Hydrogels (which swell when water comes into contact) and capsules containing various polymers (which break when cracks form) are also being used to self-heal cracks.

As might be expected, self-healing concrete initially costs more than traditional concrete, but the resulting increase in the life cycle of concrete structures could substantially reduce the total cost of upkeep.

Installers note: The nVent CADDY Cat HP J-Hook System is a cabling pathway support solution that typically requires less labor and material than standard cable trays, saving you money over the long run.

3. The future of smart cement is now

How cool would it be to create concrete roads, bridges and bike paths that can light themselves, all without using electricity? Thanks to researchers in Mexico, such a thing is now possible.

During the day, phosphorescent cement absorbs the sun’s energy and can emit light for about 12 hours at night. The researchers accomplished this by eliminating the crystallization in cement to allow the passage of light (which can be either green or blue). The brightness of the light can even be adjusted as to not distract drivers and cyclists.

While the future of smart cement including energy-conducting mixtures is still unknown, there is no shortage of bright ideas in this space. Are self-illuminated buildings and structures coming soon? Only time will tell.

Installers note: We know that what makes you smarter is the confidence to bid competitively no matter the job—contact us anytime for a price list or project quote.

4. Load-Bearing Wall (LBW) systems are speeding construction

As high-rise residential construction continues to increase, many construction companies are beginning to use the Load-Bearing Wall (LBW) system. What makes this system advantageous is that the walls and slab are poured at the same time, while using the tunnel form construction method. Within 24 hours, the forms are removed, allowing construction firms to meet rapid deadlines for repetitive cell layouts.

The National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA) points out how concrete masonry/precast slab buildings provide a fast, economical construction method that has allowed some builders to construct one story each week. Floors are enclosed quickly, so that mechanical, electrical, plumbing and other contractors can begin working on one floor while masonry wall and plank construction can progress on the floors above them.

Installers note: Simplifying routine tasks is where nVent CADDY shines—our complete line of plastic clips for concrete walls and ceilings can reduce installation time up to 60% over standard product options.

There is little doubt that concrete as a building material will endure for many generations to come, with plenty of innovation still in store even after two centuries of widespread use. At nVent CADDY, we bring the same continual improvement approach to fixing and fastening solutions. For more concrete, cost-saving ideas for your next construction project, visit nVent CADDY online.

What difference can nVent CADDY’s products make?

See how we can save you time and money on your next concrete construction project. Click below to download the nVent CADDY Concrete Fastening Solutions Catalog.

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