Concrete Goes Green with Graphene

graphene concrete

Concrete is the world’s most widely used construction material. Cement production accounts for 5% of man made carbon dioxide emissions produced globally. In the era of climate change, this has got scientists thinking and rethinking concrete.

A team of scientists in the UK have come up with a new concrete formula that can actually trap greenhouse gasses. Additionally, this new formula of concrete can self-seal cracks as they form. The secret to this new concrete that is being developed at the University of Exeter, is the introduction of microscopic flakes of graphene. Graphene is one of the world’s strongest materials. With the added graphene, the concrete compound is actually stronger than regular concrete. Because it is stronger, less material would need to be used, opening up possibilities for new designs, and overall reducing the amount of materials needed for a given structure.

This new “green” concrete is also more elastic and more resistant to water. This makes it ideal for building in earthquake or flood zones. The new compound can conduct electricity, opening the possibility to use it to heat roads or walls to melt snow and ice.

Although the green concrete shows promise in many areas of design and construction, it is at the moment costly to produce. Too costly to become viable replacement for the old stuff. Also, it will likely undergo years more of study to determine the parameters of safe useage, and any potential health risks. This article goes into detail about graphene-concrete.

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Lumber Types and Top Uses

lumber stack

At Channel Lumber, we carry a variety of wood and lumber products for applications in all types of construction. Many of our products are FSC Certified. Here we describe each type of wood and how it is typically used.

Douglas Fir

Douglas Fir has a range of uses, and is very common in structural building. It can be used for concrete forms, plywood, framing lumber, flooring, and cabinets. Douglas Fir is known an mix of strength and workability. Channel Lumber is a supplier for FSC certified Douglas Fir.

What is FSC Certified?

(From the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC): The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo on a wood or wood based product is your assurance that it is made with, or contains, wood that comes from FSC certified forests or from post-consumer waste.

There are three types of FSC label: 100%, FSC Mix or FSC Recycled.  Please click here to learn more.

California Redwood

Redwood is a premium building product. It can used in nearly every application of construction, from structural to finish. It is an excellent use for outdoor construction and siding as it contains a chemical that is resistant to insect infestation, rot and damage from water and other exposures. 

Channel Lumber offers Redwood in four grades: Construction Heart, Clear Heart, Green and Dry.

Western Red Cedar

This varietal grows in British Columbia. It is a large format, soft wood, know for its workability. It is commonly used in joinery, windows and cladding, siding, and external finishes. Western cedar is known for its rich and superb beauty and is a perfect choice for indoor and outdoor features. 

Pine

Pine is versatile and is common in high value items such as furniture. It it also common in cabinetry, flooring, siding, window frames, panelling, and roofing. Pine grows throughout the world, and it is used in cultures everywhere. If you had to choose one wood type for all your building needs, pine would be a good choice. 

Poplar

Poplar is often miscategorized as a soft wood, but it actually is a hard wood. It is seldom used for its appearance on its own, but because it has some characteristics in common with soft woods, it can be stained to look like more expensive varietals like cherry wood or oak. Poplar tends to scratch or dent easily so it is a good match for painted furniture. It is also a good fit for ceiling molding.

Ipe

Brazilian Ipe is a tropical hard wood that works extremely well in outdoor construction like decking, benches, fencing, and trellising. It is twice as dense and five times stronger than comparable hardwoods. It is extremely resistant to rot, water damage, insect infestations. It can often last out doors up to 75 years, 4-7 times as long as treated wood.

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