The most revolutionary material in architecture may be one we’re already quite familiar with: glue. In a recent article for New Scientist’s New Urbanist column, futurist Geoff Manaugh of BLDG BLOG argues that the typical building’s structural system may soon see an overhaul. Instead of steel held together with bolts and welds, petroleum-based composite materials and carbon fiber panels fixed in place with glue could serve as both a building’s structure and skin. But this isn’t the tacky glue of your model making days. These high-hold adhesives have the ability to set hard in just a few seconds, fusing building components into a monocoque structure, similar to the hull of a boat or a wind turbine blade. The resulting fabrication is lightweight (potentially up to 70% lighter), and fares better than steel when dealing with fluctuating temperatures. Glue also triumphs when comparing construction speed and efficiency, as fewer small pieces such as bolts makes for quicker, easier assembly.
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