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i.light - Transparent Cement

i.light - Transparent Cement

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Italcementi Group developed a new transparent cement that was used to build the Italian Pavilion for the Shanghai World Expo 2010.

This is an innovative material from Italcementi Group Research, which is committed to making an innovative contribution to building systems, technologies and products. A dedicated team of Italcementi Group researchers has worked over 3,000 hours since June 2008 to finalize the new ‘transparent cement’ development project.

The new i.light transparent cement, by bonding special resins into a newly conceived mix, allows manufacturing solid and insulated yet light-transmitting construction panels. Italcementi Group researchers have identified the right formulation of a dry ready-mixed product that allows inserting these plastic resins in the cementitious material, which is naturally opaque, without creating cracks and jeopardizing the structure.

The challenge of transparency confirms the innovative and creative dimension of Made in Italy and has allowed Italcementi Group to provide the Italian Pavilion for Expo 2010 in Shanghai with know-how and solid business experience. Italcementi Group wanted to take up the challenge posed by the Italian Commissionership and architect Giampaolo Imbrighi to co-operate on an ambitious project: to build the Pavilion with cement walls, but at the same time able to filter the light.

3,774 transparent panels (including the “semi-transparent” ones, i.e. with a 50% lower transparency level due to architectural requirements) have been used to cover a total surface area of 1,887 m², approximately 40% of the total envelope of the Pavilion, creating in the building in Shanghai a sequence of lights and shadows in constant evolution during the day.

The transparent effect is more evident when it is dark and, seen from the outside, the building will allow the interior lights to filter through while, from inside, during the day, it will show the changes in the levels of daylight.

Used for the first time in Shanghai, future applications of this material may encompass its use as an architectural component with diversified, integrable functions, such as, for example, internal lighting (shading/light diffusion techniques).

The possibilities are endless.





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