Exploring the Latest Trends in Innovative Building Materials


The world is changing and growing, and with it, the construction industry is thriving with newer projects in every corner of the world. This growth is a problem, as the construction industry contributes the most to environmental degradation. To improve this aspect of the field, newer technologies in the form of new building materials are emerging to make amends and improve the state of the architecture and construction industries. These innovative building materials support the concept of a sustainable built environment that sustains and nurtures nature rather than degrading it.

The Need for New and Improved Revolutionary Building Materials

With the need for better and more innovative building materials growing day by day, introducing new building materials that can drastically change the face of sustainable construction is necessary. These revolutionary building materials will not only be futuristic but will also be sustainable. They require less energy and will have benefits like tackling pollution and promoting a healthy environment.

It is the stepping stone to a future where buildings are self-sustaining, and the environment is improving. With the inclusion of important properties, these materials are also aesthetically unique and stylish, defining what the futuristic face of architecture will look like. Introducing new building materials will be a comprehensive approach to tackling some high-stakes problems the world faces today.

Innovative Building Materials that are the Buzz of Today’s Construction World

Let’s understand these innovative new building materials in detail.

01. Self-healing Concrete

Innovative Building Materials

This relatively new building material has the property of healing the cracks that occur due to problems that arise in concrete. This revolutionary building material works just like a human body, where wounds heal by dispersing a liquid that then joins the tissues and dries. There are special fibers in the self-healing concrete that discharge an adhesive to join and close the crack, which dries off to create a healing effect. This is a quick way to fix one of the problems with concrete. But with it comes the concern of possibly damaging the reinforcement due to the discharge of this adhesive.

02. Translucent Wood

Translucent Wood

According to ‘Yuanyuan Li’ et. al (Optically Transparent Wood: Recent Progress, Opportunities, and Challenges), one of the innovative building materials is the result of replacing the lignin in wood with polymers. It is a material that can change the phase of building construction, as it becomes an efficient replacement for glass and plastic. The process of conversion includes the treatment and compression of wooden strips. It has a similar strength to lumber while being lightweight. Its use in houses can be key to bringing more light into the space without exposing it to the harsh climate. Thus, in a way, it reduces the need for electricity, saving energy in the meantime.

If you want to know more detail about translucent wood, then refer the following article:

Transparent Wood: Its Properties | Application | Pros and Cons

03. Hydro Ceramic

Hydro Ceramic

Hydro Ceramic, the brainchild of the Institute of Advanced Architecture of Catalonia, is one of the budding revolutionary building materials aimed at providing a cooler interior space. The project includes three distinct phases. Hydrogel is a smart material that absorbs and retains 500 times its weight in water. The method combines the evaporative properties of hydrogels with the humidity control properties of ceramic and fabric. This created a composite material that was responsive to heat and generated cooling. This product lowers the temperature of a room by 5 degrees Celsius. A material like this could change the way we view indoor environments for the better. 

04. CABKOMA Strand Rod

CABKOMA Strand Rod

A thermoplastic Carbon fiber composite that has features such as being lightweight and rust-free with high tensile strength, durability, and a low change in temperature. A Japanese company named Komatsu Matere developed it. It consists of a carbon-fiber core along with an outer layer covered with inorganic fiber. This outer skin is saturated in thermoplastic resin as well. It is available in the form of sheets as well as rods for flexibility in usage. A rod that is as thin as 9mm has the same strength as a reinforcement bar that is multiple times bigger. Being smaller and lighter enables anyone to carry a bundle of the same easily, compared to the heavy reinforcement rods used today. This carbon-stranded rod is corrosion-resistant and has high tensile strength, apart from being durable and lighter. It can be used for the construction of earthquake-resistant buildings and as a replacement for standard steel reinforcement or rebar.

05. Microbial Cellulose

Microbial Cellulose

Also known as Bacterial Cellulose, it is one of the more advanced construction materials that comes from a compound produced by different types of bacteria. This material is known to have high strength, moldability, and increased water-holding capacity. Research is going on to produce and enhance cellulose growth on a larger scale. If successful, one can modify this cellulose and add specific properties to it. This can also be the beginning of its use in various industries, such as textiles, cosmetics, and other commercial applications. It can be used in potential applications for signage and contemporary building facades.

06. Pollution-Absorbing Brick

Pollution-Absorbing Brick

Pollution is one of the biggest problems we face today, and a material to eliminate it brings us hope. These brickworks are one of the modern building materials, with inspiration from theories such as “photocatalytic”’ facades, where there is a reaction and process with the pollution in the presence of light. Taking a step forward in eliminating pollution in the atmosphere, the Breathe Brick plays a part in a building’s ventilation system. To achieve this, provide the facade with these bricks, while the indoor temperature is regulated by another.

These bricks work on the basic principle of filtration, which comprises filtering the air, separating the pollutants and dust, and throwing them into a removable hopper at the base of the wall. Basically, it follows the concept of ‘cyclone filtration’ used in vacuum cleaners.

07. Wool Brick

Wool Brick

It is possible to produce stronger and eco-friendlier bricks using a combination of wool fibre and alginate. The aim here is to increase the durability of bricks using these additions, in a sustainable and eco-friendly manner. This modern construction material is the result of a collaboration between Spanish and UK universities. According to the article published on Phys.Org, this material exhibits strength that is 37% greater when compared to unfired stabilised earth bricks. It also has an impact on reducing the number of fissures and deformations with increased resistance to flexion. As this brick doesn’t need to be fired, it saves a lot more energy than the usual bricks.

08. Carbon Concrete

Carbon Concrete

As the name suggests, this revolutionary building material is an amalgamation of Carbon fibers and concrete. One can follow three processes to produce this material. Mix carbon fibers with concrete and spread them across the component. Mesh made from carbon can act as a reinforcement material in between layers of concrete. It can also be sprayed on the concrete in a specific manner using a nozzle, creating extreme tensile strength in the process. With advantages that give great results in strength, the material has a price tag that might be less affordable. It provides us with six times the strength and a longer lifetime compared to normal concrete.

09. Aerographite


This material is a synthetic form that uses carbon as its core component. Being of the lowest density, it becomes one of the lightest and most easily manageable revolutionary building materials in the range. Its structure looks like a series of seamless, interconnected networks of carbon tubes with diameters that are micron-scaled and a wall thickness of 15mm. It also possesses great endurance to mechanical shocks during loading and unloading cycles, which can be useful in the construction of buildings. Being hydrophobic, this modern building material becomes sensitive to electrostatic effects and suddenly jumps to charge objects. It is used for aviation materials, satellites, and purification systems.

10. Spider Silk

Spider Silk

Produced from the special organs of spiders, these are silks made of large proteins with a tensile strength comparable to that of steel and the elasticity of rubber. With this property combination, it exhibits toughness two or three times greater than nylon or Kevlar. It is an innovative construction material that is also antimicrobial, hypoallergenic, and biodegradable. Because it has so many useful properties, progress in its use should be active. This is also because replicating the structural gene of the string is a difficult task. 

11. Nanocrystals


With at least one dimension smaller than 1000 nanometers, this material comprises dots in the form of a single or polycrystalline arrangement. Nanoparticles, with melting patterns that are intriguing and attached to the structure of a solid can form a special class of solids on their own. Some areas in which these particles can be helpful are oil filtering, solar panels, and camera manufacturing. Other areas that can see the use of nanocrystals are Magneto-optical memory chips, flat panel displays, pollutant and toxin removal, etc.

12. See-through Aluminum

See-through Aluminium

Transparent aluminium is a form of polycrystalline ceramic made of nitrogen, oxygen, and aluminium. This material is 85% harder than Sapphire, 15% harder than magnesium, and four times harder than silica glass. With a temperature resistance up to 1200 degrees Celsius, it is three times harder compared to steel of the same thickness. It exhibits properties such as corrosion resistance and radiation and oxidation resistance as well. It can be used as a recce sensor for windows, insulators and heat radiator plates, high-temperature materials, heat sinks, etc.

13. Cross-laminated Timber

Cross Laminated Timber

With layers of alternatively aligned laminated wood, this material stands out for its strength, appearance, versatility, and sustainability. The composition of the material is planks of wood that are placed in cross alignment and joined with glue or other joinery to achieve a final cross-laminated wood. The strength of this material comes from the alternating layers of perpendicularly placed wooden planks. It can be used as a base for tractors to commute through unstable terrain. It also serves as the formwork for bridges and is used in the construction of dams. Furthermore, it is also currently being used to build skyscrapers that are completely made of wood.

14. Light-generating Concrete

Light Generating Concrete

Made along the lines of green construction materials, this type of concrete is useful on highways and roads. It absorbs solar energy during the day and uses it to provide light when night falls. Cement as a material is a solid block that doesn’t allow the penetration of solar energy in any form. When mixed with water, it forms crystal flakes that block it. The main aim of this project was to eliminate these crystals and make the cement concrete absorb the solar energy. Thus, light-emitting concrete, which is devoid of this crystal, was born to function as a storage device during the day and a light-emitting device during the night.

15. Liquid Granite

Liquid granite is made of 30–70% recycled materials and uses less than one-third of the cement used in precast concrete. So, it can significantly reduce carbon footprints, and liquid granite is also fireproof. It can withstand temperatures up to 1,100 degrees Celsius without losing its shape. It doesn’t explode at high temperatures as concrete does.

16. Biochar

Biochar, similar to charcoal, is produced by heating organic matter to high temperatures without oxygen. Chemicals are added to the soil before biochar is packaged to increase its ability to absorb water and store moisture. To a much greater extent than concrete or plastic, biochar provides a greener alternative to using these materials in construction.

17. Bendable Concrete

Bendable concrete is an engineered cementitious composite (ECC) with ductile material properties instead of the brittle nature of regular concrete. Changes are made to the materials that make regular concrete more flexible. Prof. Victor Li at the University of Michigan developed bendable concrete.


With these innovative building materials, the face of the construction industry is slowly improving. These revolutionary building materials have brought to light many important problems in the world and provided us with a solution to tackle them. Although they are yet to be fully realised and put into use, they will be a staple in the industry in the coming one or two decades. But before that, information becomes key to knowing they exist; thus, keep up with the trends and the latest inventions to pave a path to a brighter future.

You may also love to read the following blog:

14 Factors That Affect the Selection of Construction Material

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Author Bio

Saili Sawantt – She is an Architect and Interior Designer by profession. Writing is what she treats as her passion. She has worked as an Architectural Writer, Editor, and Journalist for various design as well as digital portals, both national and international. Formerly she has also worked with Godrej Properties Limited (GPL) Design Studio, Mumbai, due to her keen interested in learning about Sustainability and Green buildings. Apart from this, she runs her blog ‘The Reader’s Express’ and is a practicing Architect & Interior Designer.

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