New Construction Materials Proliferate in Japan

by Victor C. Li, Prof.; Civ. Engrg. Dept. C & Envir. Engrg., Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2125,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1995, Vol. 65, Issue 8, Pg. 38-41

Document Type: Feature article


Research and development of new construction materials is extensive in Japan, and many new materials are being used in Japan now. The author analyzes the research environment in Japan, describing the collaboration of the big five Japanese construction firms with government and academia. Today the big five firms dominate the research activities and operate the best laboratories in that nation. Part of their motivation is to find materials that will give each firm a competitive edge in the market, domestically and internationally. Often these new products are the result of joint ventures with manufacturers of components of these products. In addition, quality is more important than price in Japanese construction and many of the new products are very costly to use. However, many are unique and are used where their advantages outweigh the costs. Several examples are given in the categories of advanced concretes and fiber-reinforced composites. Recent applications and material properties are described. Self-placing concrete is one such new material. Fiber-reinforced concretes and fiber-reinforced plastics are used in many new materials, many of them smart, in that their properties allow the materials to adapt to changes and to stresses in the material. Others are fire-resistant, light-weight and have better durability characteristics. A few of these new materials are being evaluated in the U.S.

Subject Headings: Material properties | Fiber reinforced composites | Construction materials | Smart materials | Fiber reinforced concrete | Concrete | Construction management | Japan | Asia

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