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Disruptive improvements to look forward to


By Rohit Katyal, Executive Director & CFO, Capacit’e Infraprojects


We   have   all   experienced   the   impact   of   disruptive technology  in  our  everyday  life,  be  it  internet  search based  decisions  or  on-line  shopping  or  mobile  app based services. What  possible  disruptive  improvements  can  we  look forward to in the construction industry?


Carbon-neutral Cement

Cement    production    process    the    world    over    is responsible   for   7%   of   the   world’s   carbon   dioxide emissions. A team  of scientists led by  Gaurav  Sant  in UCLA, USA have  shown  that  the  carbon  dioxide  given  off  during calcination   can   be   captured   and   recombined   with calcium hydroxide to recreate limestone  — creating a cycle  in  which  no  carbon  dioxide  is  released  into  the air.  In  addition,  about  50  percent  less  heat  is  needed throughout  the  production  cycle,  since  no  additional heat is required to ensure the formation of tricalcium silicate. The  process  entails  less  energy  requirement  and  also less time, in addition to making the cement production process    carbon-neutral.    This    method    of    cement production  when  scaled  up  from  a  lab  experiment stage   to   factory   production   stage   will   disrupt   the established method, benefitting the environment.


Self-healing Concrete

Cracks  occur  in  concrete  structures  for  a  variety  of reasons. Research    on    concrete    infused    with    organic    and inorganic healing agents is at an advanced stage in the UK.  When  cracks  appear,  the  agents  get  triggered  to react by way of cementing the cracks through organic or inorganic processes. This technology will contribute positively to the safety and  durability  of  concrete  structures,  particularly  in critical areas and in vulnerable zones. Self-healing   concrete   once   commercialised   will   cut down  the  repair  and  maintenance  cost  drastically  in case  of  both  concrete  roads  in  cities  and  concrete highways. It would also address the vast maintenance requirement of old buildings. The   benefits   of   precast   piers,   pier   caps,   elevated corridor    box    segments    and    slabs    have    already quickened the metro rail projects. China   has   shown   the   fast   pace   of   multi-storeyed construction   possible   in   amazingly   quick   time,   by adopting precast technology. The  increasing  thrust  now  on  affordable  housing  and the  mission  of  providing  housing  for  all  necessitate wide  adoption  of  precast  concrete  technology  in  a standardised manner.

Precasting  factories   could  come  together   to  bench mark   the   requirements,   formalize   the   design   and acceptance  criteria,  and  adopt  uniform  grades,  sizes and   component   specifications   for   precast   buildings including  the  composite  elements  of  walls,  columns, beams, slabs, lintels, toilet units etc. This would boost the adoption of precast technology  in a wide manner all  over,  enabling  low  cost  and  quick  construction  of houses on a large scale.


Photovoltaic Wall and Roof Panels

Photovoltaic  glazing  of  building  wall  and  roof  panels will enable solar electricity generation in a sustainable low cost manner. The multifunctional panels could be precast  elements  with  appropriate  cladding  along  the outer walls and roof slabs to convert the solar energy into electricity. The panels could house power banks as well, supplying direct current to  lights and fans inside the buildings.


4D Graphic Information Modelling

As  software  capabilities  improve  and  as  the  adoption of   BIM   /   GIS   modelling   practices   widen   in   the construction  industry,  we  could  see  computer  aided design evolving to generate space-time models. One  would  be  able  to  see  the  entire  construction process   in   3D   motion   picture   visualization   from different angles at each stage of construction. This will enable     better     understanding     of     the     technical requirements  to  achieve  results  on  ground  in  a  lean manner, cutting down on waste. This  would  assist  resolution  of  engineering  conflicts besides    enable    quantity    take-offs    and    progress monitoring, leading to better management of projects for timely completion within budgeted costs.

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June 2020
10 Jun 2020