Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Folding Concrete?! Flat-Pack Building Blocks of the Future

Folding Concrete?! Flat-Pack Building Blocks of the Future: [ Filed under New Materials or in the More category ]

This may be the biggest invention since that long-standing, still-universal staple of the construction industry: the red clay brick. A single identical unit, multiplied by four, forms a rigid structural element – stack these and set them side by side, and you have nothing short of a material revolution. Watch the videos to fully see how these function!

Created by Dror Benshetrit after years of toying with related geometries and building methods, this super-simple, gravity-driven block system has as many applications as one can imagine. It could be used for short-term emergency shelters, on the one hand, or to hold up bridges for the long haul on the other.

Think: Buckminster Fuller domes for the 21st Century. Uniform in shape and size, each pair expands outward to provide stability like (and require less space than) a conventional building block – they are symmetrical on both sides, but joined together are beyond tough to topple.

So how high can they go? Up to 86 can be piled, one atop the next, making sizable structures a real possibility on the scale of most masonry equivalents – but with far less mass. Nor is the shape limited to concrete – wood, books, even cardboard can be constructed around this geometrical concept and stand upright without risk of collapse (beyond material capacity). Who knows: these may be the new triangles (or at least as neat as see-through concrete and transparent aluminum!

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