by Carie McMichael

New Innovations In Concrete Composition

Many of the recent innovations in the concrete industry have been driven by a desire or mandate to improve sustainability. However, homeowners may be surprised to learn that some of the most impressive innovations in concrete relate to its composition–and more importantly, how it can strengthen their relationship with their home.

Recent integration with technology is also bringing concrete out of the stone age. We’re all familiar with smart devices, but did you know there is such a thing as smart concrete?

Developed at Indiana’s own Purdue University, smart concrete can actually detect structural weaknesses. Sensors embedded in the concrete during the pour send information about stress cracks and weaknesses through a smart phone app, so homeowners can check the strength of their home or structure with just a wave of their finger.

Professionals can even engineer concrete to fix itself. Self-healing concrete is laden with limestone-producing bacteria that actually repair structural weaknesses autonomously. Imagine the reduced anxiety for homeowners knowing that their foundation was poured with self-healing concrete.

Ben Driskell, the owner and operator of FLATMADE CONCRETE CO., knows the makeup of concrete can make a monumental difference in a project.

“Nowadays, we have a lot more options as long as you know what you’re going to be working with that day,” says Driskell. FLATMADE’s knowledge in crafting concrete composition is a science combining new technologies and the experience of three generations of seasoned concrete professionals.

“We have mixtures to put into the concrete to slow it down, and speed it up without increasing the water to cement ratio. We have finishing aids and evaporation retarders to pretty much make the concrete do whatever we want.”

Tradesmen with diverse perspectives complement the latest advances in concrete. Ben Driskell says of his own crew, “I’d say that most of the guys I find are good with their hands. Typically if you’re good with your hands, you’re somewhat a problem solver. You think outside the box. So if you surround yourself with people like that, you find innovation to be a natural evolution in your work.”