Magazine article The Futurist

Building Homes with Foam

Magazine article The Futurist

Building Homes with Foam

Article excerpt

Promising new construction materials will make future houses cheaper, easier, and quicker to build, report researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Such materials will offer homeowners fireproof construction and outstanding insulative qualities, as well as low cost and quick assembly.

The MIT researchers are looking at new materials like polymers and cementaceous foams as part of a broad study of innovative housing construction technology.

The scientists are interested in developing new types of panels for use in both walls and roofs. The panels would be made like sandwiches, with polymer, wood, or cementaceous foam as fillings or cores, and wood, metal, and polymer facings. "Cementaceous foam is the front-runner at present," says John Crowley of the department of architecture at MIT. "We are ... studying ways to reduce the brittleness and reinforce the cement with microspheres. We believe it is possible to vary the density of the foam to provide a low-density core between high-density faces of the same material."

Roof panels can be molded to resemble shingles. Outer walls would have channels for electrical conduits, and plumbing and heating pipes and ducts can be placed in the inner walls and floors. …

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