As Wikipedia describes it : "Translucent concrete (also: light-transmitting concrete) is a concrete based building material with light-transmissive properties due to embedded light optical elements — usually optical fibers. "
It may seem as simple as that but translucent concrete has been first mentioned in a 1935 Canadian patent. But since the development of optical glass fibers and polymer based optical fibers the rate of inventions and developments in this field has drastically increased.
Light is conducted through the stone from one end to the other. Therefore the fibers have to go through the whole object. This results into a certain light pattern on the other surface, depending on the fiber structure. Shadows cast onto one side appear as silhouettes through the material. Translucent concrete is used in fine architecture as a façade material and for cladding of interior walls. Light-transmitting concrete has also been applied to various design products.
Materials used for the making of transparent concrete are:
Cement is described as a material with adhesive and cohesive properties which make it
capable of bonding. Mineral fragments into a compact whole. It embraces large variety of cementing materials. The principal constituents of this type of cement compounds of lime, so that in building and civil engineering we are connected with calcareous cement. The cements have property of setting in under water by chemical reaction releasing heat of hydration. So called as hydraulic cement.
Is the key ingredient, which when mixed with cement, forms a paste that binds the aggregate together. The waterneeds to be pure in order to prevent side reactions from occurring which may weaken the concrete, the role of water is important because the water to cement ratio is the most critical factor in the production of "perfect" concrete.
Sand is naturally available material which is composed rock and mineral particles. It is found in different sizes but the size of sand should pass through 1.18mm sieve. It should be free from impurities such as vegetation and gravels. Some inert material such as sand, surkhi or cinder and lubricating material water, a paste is formed which is plastic in nature; this paste is known as mortar.
Flexible, transparent fiber made up of glass or plastic. It transmits light between two ends of the fiber. Optical fiber transmits light so effectively that there is almost no loss of light conducted through the fibers. For light transmission the thickness of optical fiber should be varied from 2m and 2 mm nearly equal to diameter of human hair. Concrete is produced by adding 4% to 5% optical fiber by volume in concrete mix
If we could sum up the pros and cons that would lead to the following:
_on large scale objects the texture is still visible while texture of finer translucent concrete becomes indistinct at distance.
_if a solid wall is imbued with the ability to transmit light, a home can use fewer lights in their house during daylight hours
_good architectural properties for giving good aesthetical view to the building
_where light is not able to come properly at that place transparent concrete can be used
_energy saving can be done by utilization of transparent concrete in building
_totally environment friendly because of its light transmitting characteristics, so energy consumption can be reduced
_speed bumps in parking lots and driveways could be illuminated from below, making them more visible
_translucent concrete walls on restaurants, clubs, and other establishment to reveal how many patrons are inside.
_casting of translucent concrete block is difficult for the labour so special skilled person is required
_costing of this material is difficult as the techniques are just start to develop
_it is precision material and the correct procedure need to be followed
_it is extremely important to ensure the integrity of optic strands if they break within the product property would almost be neglected
what do you think?