Transparent concrete is also called as translucent concrete. The bonding material in transparent concrete may be capable to transmit light by utilizing clear resins the concrete mix. Utilize of optical fibers and fine concrete also utilized as transparent concrete.
Transparent concrete was initially developed in 2001 by a Hungarian architect Aronlosonzi by utilizing glass fibers. Transparent concrete is manufactured by mixing 4% to 5% by volume of optical fibers in the concrete mixture. This concrete has low weight compared to the initial concrete.
Materials for Transparent Concrete
Transparent concrete is manufactured by using a combination of fiber optics and fine concrete. Like any other aggregates, These fibers blend into the concrete. The main reason for using optical fiber in concrete is that it can transmit light even an incident angle is greater than 600.
Optical fiber consists of three layers called core, cladding and buffer coating or jacket. The light is transmitted through the core of the optical fiber.
Transparent concrete is produced by utilizing fine materials only. It does not contain any coarse aggregates. This concrete can have a compressive strength of that of huge strength concrete around 70 MPa ( 10,000 psi).
Cement: As the optical fiber is only responsible for the transmission of light, there is no special cement required. So, normal Portland cement is utilized for transparent concrete.
Sand: Since the transparent concrete is produced only by utilizing fine materials, the size of sand should move through 1.18mm sieve. The sand should be free from impurities such as vegetation, large stones, etc.
Water: Water to be utilized for transparent concrete should be good of drinking water quality and free from other impurities.
Optical fibers: Optical fibers in the range of 4 to 5% by volume is used for transparent concrete. The thickness of the optical fibres can be varied between 2 µm and 2 mm to suit the particular requirements of light transmission.
Advantages of Transparent Concrete:
The major advantage of transparent concrete is that it can transmit light through it. Therefore, it can be utilized to construct green buildings. Since it can transmit light from natural as well as artificial sources, the building can have not as many lights to meet its demand for lighting. Thus saving more energy costs.
Transparent concrete utilized sunlight as a source of light instead of electrical energy and decrease power consumption. This concrete can also be utilized in cold countries to transmit heat with sunlight.