Light up your Life with Concrete that Glows

Light up your Life with Concrete that Glows

20th October 2015

If you’re a regular reader of our blog you won’t have failed to notice that we’ve done a series of articles on concrete over the past couple of months.  While we thought we’d come to the end of our series on concrete that hasn’t been the case.  Just as concrete is one of the most widely used and versatile substances on the planet, we’re now discovering that concrete seem to be the gift that just keeps on giving!  We’ve been coming across news reports recently on concrete that glows in the dark.  No, this is not a spoof posting in the run up to Halloween, it’s actually true.

The Al Aziz Mosque in Abu Dhabi makes use of “light transmitting concrete” which features optical fibres that transmit light through the stone – a technology developed by a German company called Lucem.  The Mosque is a modern building with a contemporary design built using concrete blocks.  On the outside of the Mosque’s walls there are Arabic inscriptions carved into the bricks that shine brightly at night.  The façade of the Mosque transmits light via LEDs and this light is transmitted to the external surface of the carvings.  The concrete panels used to build the Mosque are weatherproof and designed to match various natural stone elements used on other parts of the structure.  This means that the colour of the Mosque undergoes subtle changes throughout the day depending on the light quality at any given time.

Not to be outdone, the City of Barcelona in Spain has its own glow in the dark bridge.  The Sarajevo Bridge is undergoing renovation work to provide the city with an eco-friendly landmark.   In a bid to ensure energy self-sufficiency, the bridge will be lit by solar powered LEDs and have photo-luminescent elements embedded within the concrete of the structure.  The bridge’s pavements are being replaced with photocatalytic concrete which is self-cleaning and helps to purify the surrounding air by oxidising pollutants.  

Dutch scientists have developed a “smog eating” concrete paving block that is able to reduce smog by up to 45% under ideal conditions (averaging a 19% reduction on a daily basis).  The paving blocks are coated with titanium oxide which pulls nitrogen oxides out of the air and converts them into less harmful chemicals.  Although the surface becomes less effective with the passage of time and costs about 10% more than normal blocks, this does have the potential to reduce a significant amount of vehicle and industrial transmissions in areas that have poor air quality.

Glow in the dark roads are on the increase too.  The first glow in the dark road was installed in the Netherlands as part of Roosegaarde’s Smart Highway concept.  This makes roads safer, more environmentally friendly and more interactive.  The roads are treated with a light-absorbing luminescent paint that can glow for up to 10 hours during the night time.

It seems that cool new developments in materials and techniques will be changing our towns, cities and highways in the coming years.   Here at Safety Fabrications we find all of these new developments quite exciting and we’re committed to making sure that we’re up to date with new advancements within the construction industry so we can bring you all the latest news.