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Are Composite Construction Materials Better for the Environment?

HomeEducationalAre Composite Construction Materials Better for the Environment?

Building with composite construction materials involves utilizing components that are made of two or more different substances that structurally support one another. For example, concrete can become brittle across a span, but when paired with steel mesh or rebar, concrete structures can be nearly indestructible. The strength of the concrete is enhanced by the inclusion of a steel skeleton.

Recycling Woes

Composite materials can be hard to recycle, though, particularly when they’re combined under pressure. Low-density polyethylene lumbers are a good option for a home deck, but this material can include wood shavings. By melting down the plastic, the recycler may be risking a fire caused by the wood fibers. Plastics have different melting points, so high-density polyethylene may need to be shredded before it can be melted down for reuse. Finally, reusing some composites may mean cutting them down into shred or straw for easy melting into new forms. Each form of cutting will require energy to make it possible to fully break down the material.

They Are Tough

On the other hand, composite materials are strong enough to use more than once without needing to be totally discarded. There are other advantages as well. A 100 percent steel building would be quite heavy and suffer a high risk of corrosion. Concrete supported by steel rebar is lighter, much easier to work with and likely to stand for generations. Fiberglass was once a revolutionary combination of plastic fiber and resin. Now, it is used to create boats, car bodies and aircraft. It’s flexible, lightweight and very strong. There are clear advantages of using composite materials around heavy machinery as well. New composites are currently being used to create replacement joints for people with worn-out knees and hips. The industry of composite construction is opening up many opportunities for those who were once without hope.

New Home and Building Construction

In the design and construction of new buildings, composite materials offer owners a wide variety of design options. These new structures will be more durable than their stick-and-brick counterparts. While composite construction technology may include bonding products and glues that can be environmentally hazardous, these structures will last long into the future. In addition, composite construction technology can be used to build windows, doors and other exterior barriers with a much higher R-value, making new homes easier to heat and cool.

New composites offer designers the chance to create unique constructions. In addition, plastic composites can be shaped or formed into nearly any design. Whether you are looking for a new hip joint or composite lumber for your backyard deck, the options with composites are endless.

Here’s another article you might like: Fact Checking: Things You Should Avoid in Drafting a Construction Contract

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