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  • Daniela Jiménez

Wood Based Concrete: The New Normal

Wood has always been part of life for humans, its uses have become essential for the development of society and while in the beginning, everything seemed to be made out of wood, society has now migrated towards concrete and steel to build houses and buildings. Considering today’s problem of global warming, that is directly affected by deforestation, it is important to take into account that wood concrete doesn’t not mean that logging will be encouraged. What wood concrete is trying to achieve is to find a solution that is a more advanced version than the actual and traditional mixture of concrete and wood mostly used for insulation in habitable structures.

The Swiss National Science Foundation is funding Daia Zwicky’s investigation. Zwicky is the director of theInstitute of Construction and Environmental Technologies of the School of Engineering and Architecture of Friborg, she began wondering if the radical idea of creating a strong mixture of wood based concrete was possible and if the mixture would be strong enough to sustain walls and columns. This concrete has more than 50% of wood in it, this means that the result is a lighter concrete that possible has a longer lifespan. The main difference with traditional concrete used in XXI century constructions is that the content of gravel and sand is replaced with sawdust, by doing this it was discovered that the material works perfectly as a fire retardant and thermal insulation.

Besides, in a world where ecologic awareness is one of the biggest worries, the fact that the concrete is mainly made on reusable materials is incredibly important. It offers the advantage that once the structure has been dismantled, the materials can be used as a source of heat and energy. This is completely new and different to the concrete we use today since once a structure is demolished, rubble is not reused and doesn’t have any real purpose. Now a days when we’re trying to reuse materials and conserve the environment, this advantage is pretty interesting.

Based on several tests that have been made, it has been discovered that the new wood based concrete is perfect for slabs and that it can provide a load-bearing function in the construction. While this concrete is still in its research stages, investigators are trying to find out which kind of wood based concrete is better for different applications and purposes, as well as trying to define the most effective way of producing it.

While the possibility of reusable concrete is exciting, it will also be interesting to see how the material develops through out the investigation.

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