Homeowners of the future may h
ave a lot more options when it comes to illuminating their pads. Thanks to the Hungary-based design firm, LiTraCon
, architects and designers can construct entire walls that glow. Incorporating optical glass fibers in the construction design, the fiber-concrete blend creates almost microscopically small see-through patches, making each block of LiTraCon concrete significantly less opaque than traditional building materials.
Since fiber optics only comprise approximately 4 percent of the wall's design, the concrete can bear the same weight as traditional building materials, the only difference is, you can see glimpses of what's on the other side. Because the fiber optics are built into the concrete itself, thickness doesn't matter. LiTraCon walls can be up to 65 feet thick without losing their translucent glow. Luckily DIYers looking to get that effect in their own homes needn't pony up the $1,069 a three foot-by-three foot LitraCon block will cost you. Here's how to create light-emitting concrete yourself:
It starts with craft clay, fiber optic wires, a bit of concrete (naturally) and an idea of what exactly you'd like to make (it helps to start with a small project like
a candle holder until you get the hang of it). Next, create a mold of the shapes you'd like to make. For the sake of practice, this can be almost anything waterproof ranging from a Tupperware container to a plastic bowl. Pour the clay into the mold and stick a few fiber optic wires in (the pros over at Instructables
cut some off of an old toy). Mix cement in a separate container until it's relatively thin and pour over, making sure there are no air bubbles trapped within. Pull off the modeling clay and mold and voila! Light-emitting concrete that's 800 times cheaper than the professional stuff. It should look something like this
. (A very detailed explanation
of the process along with photos is available at Instructables.com).
While the result on the DIY end isn't nearly as homogenous or polished as the LiTraCon material, the at-home alternative is vastly cheaper, fairly easy to make and seems to produce comparable results.
Still trying to decide which is right for you? Here are some AOL Real Estate guides to help you no matter whether you choose to buy or rent:
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