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Light-Transmitting, See-Through ... Concrete?!

This is real, construction-grade concrete. It is not totally transparent, but the optical fibers embedded within it allow the concrete to transmit sufficient light to allow for some interesting (and useful) applications.

The fibers can transmit light up to 50 feet, and because they take up only a small portion of the block, they do not affect the structural integrity of the building material. 

Filled with optical fibers that run from one end of a poured piece of concrete to the other, these prefabricated blocks and panels effectively transmit light from one side to the other. Colors and light remain remarkably consistent from end to end, but with a natural variation from the pouring process that actually softens the effects considerably.

Link - via darkroastedblend

From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by Minnesotastan.


This was on display in an exhibit about new technologies in concrete at the National Building Museum in 2004. There is quite a bit in concrete that is apparently new (or not so new) and amazing. Five years later, I have yet to see any of it work its way into actual buildings here in NYC though.
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The first time I "saw" transparent aluminum, it was a plot point in "Star Trek IV - The Voyage Home" - the one with the whales.

This concrete looks great. It could bring back that cool glass block look of yesteryear (dating back an entire century, in fact) in a whole new fashion.
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actually, there is another transparent concrete, better and cheaper.
It was invented in México (VIVA MEXICO!!!) by a couple of students of CONACYT.

check this website.

http://concretostranslucidos.com/
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Yeah, Star Trek was the first thing that came to my mind when I read Johnny Cat's comment.

This transparent concrete piece sounds familiar, but I couldn't find it in Neatorama's archives.
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This material is really interesting and it has a higher tensile strength than normal concrete, but it is outrageously expensive in comparison which is why you won't be seeing it very often except in buildings where the owner has money to burn.
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