Glowing Roads?

Will this world ever come to see the implementation of a glass roadway system? Personally, I think this is a very intriguing question. Following today’s discussion on the blog post concerning roads someday becoming a complex illuminating glass system pushed me to further explore this topic. Although there could be benefits to illuminating arrows on the ground to direct traffic in certain areas, I do not think this is a realistic option for our society. However, one tangent solution to this topic could be the implementation of “liquid stone,” or translucent concrete to light up the roadway system.

Light-transmitting concrete has surfaced as an emerging material within the past couple of years and has made its way into numerous different applications, ranging from interior designs to kitchen countertops. Thousands of optical fiber strands are embedded into the concrete to transmit light throughout the panel. And although the mixture does not contain any coarse aggregates, the compressive strength of the concrete is still maintained. This technology has the potential to expand out of the building and into other aspects of our society. One of the first demonstration projects given in Stockholm, Sweden was illuminated sidewalks to help direct walkers during the dark parts of the night. Going back to the earlier discussion of illuminating roadways, instead of using a glass system, why can’t we use translucent concrete to light up road signs in the ground to direct traffic? This strategy could be a lot more efficient and sustainable since concrete is already the primary use of roadways and sidewalks and for lighting up cautionary areas, such as speed bumps in the road.

Other concerns for the application of light-transmitting concrete are in areas near fire escapes in case of power failures so inhabitants of the building would still be able to find their way out in case of emergency. The subway system is also a potential client for the use of the material since terminals are typically dark and creepy. I am very excited to see this material incorporated in many different aspects of design throughout our everyday lives. Translucent concrete has great potential and will without a doubt make a greater appearance around us. Where else will we be noticed the luminous solid?




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