Materials Science in Building and Construction Engineering

During the past decade, the needs of the nation and the world have required civil engineers to also focus on the reuse of valuable materials and resources, which in turn has created exciting challenges in understanding how to chemically and mechanically stabilize these materials for reuse. Current challenges require the application of micromechanics, computer-assisted visualization tools, thermodynamics, kinetics, and an appreciation of construction processes to solve problems. Civil engineers have adapted and applied multidisciplinary principles to solve problems and have used similar approaches to those used in solid rocket propellants, adhesives, metals, and ceramics. One of the biggest boosts for the building materials sector is the seemingly endless raising of the bar by various national planning departments on “green” building. According a report on Forbes.com, which cites a research report from Navigant Research, the worldwide market for green construction materials will grow from US$116 billion in 2013 to in excess of US$254 billion by 2020. Europe, with its emphasis on reducing emissions, will probably be the largest regional market, accounting for around 50% of global demand for green building products by 2020. TechNavio produced a report, “Global green building material market 2012–2016,” in which it forecast demand growth globally to be around 17.9% compound annual growth rate.

In history there are trends in building materials from being: natural to becoming more man-made and composite; biodegradable to imperishable; indigenous (local) to being transported globally; repairable to disposable; and chosen for increased levels of fire-safety. These trends tend to increase the initial and long term economic, ecological, energy, and social costs of building materials.

  • Naturally occurring substances
  • Man-made substances
  • Zero-energy building
  • Biocidal natural building material
  • Thermal mass in buildings
  • Prefabrication

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