Developed by Hungarian architect Aron Losonczi, LiTraCon (Light Transmitting Concrete) is the world’s first commercially available transparent concrete. The translucent material is created by combining concrete and thousands of optical fiber strands that act like aggregate. The optical fibers form a matrix between the two main surfaces of concrete block, connecting and directing light between the two block faces.
The fibers are oriented in a parallel pattern which produces a brighter side and a darker side of the block. The darker side reveals dramatic shadows and silhouettes. Making up just 4% of the total volume of the block, the optic fibers give the material a striated texture. The product is handmade, resulting in a unique pattern of light in each piece.
Since the optical fibers don't suffer loss of light, the LiTraCon blocks can theoretically transmit light up to a thickness of 65 feet. The blocks of thicker dimensions could be used in load bearing structures since the glass fibers do not negatively affect the compressive strength of concrete.
The material has been used in projects around the world including the Museum Cella Septichora in Hungary, the Hungarian Embassy in Paris, and the Iberville Parish Veterans Memorial in Louisiana.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com