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Light Emitting Concrete: A Reality

Eight young budding student researchers in Chennai have developed light –transmitting concrete by combining the principles of optics and concrete technology, as part of their research project.
To create the light transmitting characteristics, fibre optics and glass chips were embedded in concrete, using natural sunlight as a light source.
“We integrated the merits of concrete and optic fibre by arranging Plastic Optic Fibre or POF into concrete. Traditional concrete is greyish in colour, and its high density prevents the passage of light, making it impossible to distinguish bodies, colours and shapes through it”, said Soumyajit Paul who carried out the study with his classmates, Palash Nigam, Saket Kumar, Karsh Patel,  Ankit Palia,  Aakash Srivastava, Avik Dutta, Magraj Gehlot, all students of Civil Engineering under the guidance of  Asst. Professor Mr. A Vijay  in the Chennai based SRM Institute of Science and Technology (formerly known as SRM University).

The concrete was built on the principle of “Nano-optics”.  The optical fibres were carefully placed one on top of each other in a staggered pattern during the concreting process, mimicking slits through which natural light is transmitted throughout the concrete. While the idea of light emitting concrete has been known for some time, this is the first instance of its potential use in a load bearing capacity, as for example, in a reinforced building slab. 

“The product has a niche application as decorative illuminating walls, roofs, pavements desks and the like. The limitations to more widespread use are its high cost and ability to withstand higher stress loads in buildings”, Soumyajit said. “We are excited by this innovative product that combines two very divergent principles of optics and concrete technology. This is a small start in our quest to find sustainable “green” models of engineering products. We hope one day all our light energy needs will be met through nature.” he went on to add.

A pinnacle in the advancement of concrete technology, offering hope for an energy starved country like India.