From: Institute of Materials
Camouflaging Concrete As Traditional Timber
The days of concrete as a dull grey building material are over thanks to developments in materials science which mean that it can be camouflaged to look like traditional materials - including wood, slate and clay. Home owners will now be able to afford high quality imitations of traditional materials while meeting local planning authorities' regulations. The concrete copies exceed the performance of traditional materials, satisfy any aesthetic requirements and most importantly meet stringent safety laws.
Residents of villages in Cornwall and Norfolk, where planning authorities require home owners to build in the 'traditional' style using slate and clay roofing materials, will soon be able to purchase high quality concrete versions. Concrete technology has also been developed to emulate cedar shake - a popular wooden roofing material in parts of the USA. In highly populated suburban areas wooden roofing materials are not tolerated because of the obvious fire risk. By adding iron oxide pigments to a mix of mortar and 'sharp' sand, it is possible to produce interlocking concrete roofing systems that emulate even cedar shake.
The camouflaged concrete tiles can be produced on an industrial scale, reducing the overall cost for home owners and making it easier for builders to handle and lay. The concrete copies will be valuable in areas where the availability of the traditional materials has been depleted from centuries of building. In tests, the new concrete tiles perform to a much higher standard than the traditional materials and look just as good as the real thing.
PLEASE MENTION MATERIALS WORLD AS THE SOURCE OF THIS ITEM
Notes For Editors
1. This article is due to appear in the February edition of the Materials World (Volume 7, Number 2, p.83).
2. Materials World is the journal of The Institute of Materials, the professional organisation of materials scientists and engineers working throughout the world in areas involving the use and application of plastics, rubber, steel, metals and ceramics. www.materials.org.uk