What if there was an easier way for cities along the East Coast to get rid of all that snow from last weekend's historic blizzard? Researchers from the University of Nebraska, Lincoln (UNL), may have found a solution: Conductive concrete that can be pre-heated to prevent the accumulation of ice and snow while remaining safe to touch. The novel material comprises the typical mix of cement, sand, and water, but with the addition of steel shavings and carbon particles. Steel rods inserted into the slabs are connected to a power source and work with the conductive aggregate to generate heat and warm the concrete. This is best done a day before the storm actually hits, CityLab explains. The researchers are now working with the Federal Aviation Administration to test a 200-square-foot slab with a 120V AC power source, in Omaha, Neb., for potential use on airport tarmacs. As UNL civil engineering professor and research lead Chris Tuan explains: “What they need is the tarmac around the gated areas cleared, because they have so many carts to unload—luggage service, food service, trash service, fuel service—that all need to get into those areas." Heating the tarmac, he says, could lead to fewer weather-related delays. Additional applications include sidewalks, bridges, intersections, exit ramps, steep hills, and other areas that can turn perilous during winter storms. Watch it in action below. [CityLab + UNL]


ICYMI: 4D printing and the designed environment. [ARCHITECT]

Washington, D.C.'s Gallaudet University and the architecture of “DeafSpace" for individuals with hearing impairments. [Washingtonian]

Sawmill operators have long dumped waste sawdust back into the forests to decompose. That may not have been a good idea. [Core77]

IA Interior Architects, in New York, partnered with the Barcelona-based Hyphen Labs to create "Prismatic_NYC," a kinetic sculpture recently installed on the pedestrian bridge connecting New York’s HighLine and the Chelsea Market. [Fast Company’s Co.Design]

Combining features of a smoke detector and fire extinguisher, this home-kitchen device responds to extreme heat, rather than smoke, with a dousing of a non-toxic, dry chemical suppressant. [Gizmag]

Architecture students in the U.K. used a robotic arm to 3D print these mesmerizing concrete furniture pieces (below), joining the shift from component-based to continuous printing. [Dezeen]