New items on the building materials market: transparent concrete (litracon)

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It would seem that there is no more boring building material than concrete, but even its modern technologies have not been spared. Not so long ago, litracon appeared on the market – a transparent type of concrete. We will tell you about its composition, features and applications in our article..

New items on the building materials market: transparent concrete (litracon)

The history of using concrete in construction has more than one thousand years. The pouring mixture, which appeared about 60 centuries ago, is still the basis of both multi-storey projects and private sector development. The only drawback of concrete – its visual unattractiveness – is more than covered by the strength of the composition and a wide range of applications..

As a rule, the grayness of concrete walls is masked in various ways: all kinds of mixtures for decorative plastering, curtain wall systems, sheathing with plastic and metal siding or painting with various tinted impregnations come to the rescue.

Hungarian architect Aron Loskonshi decided to look at the problem more broadly, suggesting a way to transform concrete not from the outside, but from the inside. The result of long experiments with the composition was a novelty that has no analogues – transparent light-conducting concrete. In 2001, Aron patented an innovative composition that received the international name LiTraCon (litracon).

New items on the building materials market: transparent concrete (litracon)

Transparent concrete was developed to “brighten” office premises, but for the first time it was used for its intended purpose only in 2005 during the construction of a mansion in Germany.

What is transparent concrete made of

The light transmittance of the litracon is conditional: in fact, through this material, you can only see the contours or the color of the silhouettes behind it. In this case, the room should be illuminated from the inside. In bad weather or in the evening, transparent concrete outwardly does not differ from the classical version, its amazing properties are manifested by artificial lighting or sunlight.

Litracon contains fine-grained concrete and fiber-optic fiber (glass fiber), which creates a reflective matrix. The diameter of the glass fibers varies from 2 microns to 2 millimeters, and the percentage is about 5% of the total mass of concrete.

New items on the building materials market: transparent concrete (litracon)

Fiber optic does not have a tangible effect on the strength, sound and noise insulation characteristics of the material, therefore, according to all properties, litracon is equal to concrete.

Areas of application. Technical characteristics of light-transmitting concrete

Light-transmitting concrete has become a real discovery for designers and planners. Due to its originality, it can be used for high-tech and modern buildings and premises:

  1. Walling.
  2. Interior partitions.
  3. Cladding the surface of walls and columns.
  4. Architectural forms – fountains, lamps, benches.
  5. Domestic use – countertops, washbasins.
  6. Construction of load-bearing walls.

New items on the building materials market: transparent concrete (litracon)

The only disadvantage of litracon is its exorbitant cost, reaching several thousand euros per square meter. The price category, due to the use of very expensive fiber optic, makes translucent concrete inaccessible for mass development. However, litracon is used more and more often for decorating and zoning various rooms..

The German concern LUCEM currently produces blocks and panels made of light-transmitting material under the trademark of the same name:

Blocks Panels
Size, cm 24×11.5×7.1 49,5×49,5
Possible thickness, cm 2.5; 3; 4
Color spectrum white, gray, black white, gray, black
Density, kg / m3 2300 2300
Thermal conductivity, W / (m? K) 2.1 2.1
Sound insulation Rw, decibel 46 46

The front surface of blocks and panels is polished to a mirror finish.

Installation and operational features

Litracon is immune to temperature extremes and ultraviolet rays, so it can be used for both interior and facade work.

Blocks of light-transmitting concrete are laid out using mortars on a lime or cement basis, or glued with a special compound based on epoxy resins and quartz flour. Litracon masonry meets all safety standards, including firefighters, and can be used for load-bearing walls.

New items on the building materials market: transparent concrete (litracon)

Transparent concrete panels are intended for interior decoration. They can be anchored to walls using frame structures or anchor bolts, and can also be used as floor coverings.

It should be noted that the thickness of the litracon does not in any way affect its light transmittance, the only condition is the presence of a light source.

The high cost of the new item made it inaccessible to a wide range of buyers. Translucent concrete is not yet produced in Russia. Lovers of exclusiveness can pamper themselves with a custom-made “lamp” from abroad. True, this pleasure will cost a pretty penny: a ten-kilogram cube costs about 600 euros excluding delivery.

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