Now construction-grade concrete can transmit light. Though not totally transparent, the optical fibres embedded within it allow the concrete to transmit sufficient light to allow for some interesting (and useful) applications.
Litracon™ presents the phenomenon of light transmitting concrete in the form of an innovative, widely applicable building material. Litracon™ is a combination of optical fibres and fine concrete. It can be produced as prefabricated building blocks and panels. The proportion of the fibres is very small (4%) compared to the total volume of the blocks. Moreover, these fibres integrate with the concrete because of their insignificant size; they become a structural component, a kind of modest aggregate and the surface of the blocks remains homogeneous concrete.
The glass fibres conduct light via points on the two sides of the blocks. Because of their parallel position, the light-information on the brighter side appears unchanged on the darker side. The most interesting form of this phenomenon is probably the sharp display of shadows on the opposing side of the wall. Moreover, the colour of the light also remains the same.
Thousands of optical glass fibres form a matrix and run parallel to each other between the two main surfaces of each block. In theory, a wall structure built from light-transmitting concrete can be several meters thick, because the fibres work without almost any loss in light up to 20m. Load-bearing structures can be also built of these blocks, since glass fibres do not have a negative effect on the well-known high compressive strength of concrete. The blocks can be produced in various sizes and with embedded heat-isolation.
Translucent concrete blocks are produced depending on the aesthetical wishes and structural needs of the architect's project. Basically, all sizes of pre-cast concrete are possible: from small bricks, to façade plates or passable paving stones – all illuminated from beneath. Since the amount of optical fibre is only 4%, translucent concrete blocks have the same technical data as the concrete used for them. Currently, the diameter of the fibre can be chosen from 2micro- to 2mm. Also, the technique of making translucent concrete blocks can differ according to the needs of the project: from a slight ‘diffuse’ aesthetic to a certain grid or even a logo.
Moreover translucent concrete is a high density concrete– according to the extremely fine diameter of the fibres the other aggregates need to be chosen carefully. Translucent concrete elements are joined together through splicing or agglutinating or in conjunction with any common framework.
Hungarian architect Áron LOSONCZI invented Litracon™ in 2001. Litracon™ is protected by Swedish patent and other patents are also pending in other jurist regions.
Inventor and patent holder Áron LOSONCZI founded his own company, LiTraCon Bt., in spring 2004.
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