The RED Letter
RED Engineering & Design
Structural Engineers
          August 2014

Check out the the fourth installment of Engineering in a Box on Last month, footings were highlighted. This month: beams. Or, click on the YouTube button at the bottom of this newsletter and go directly to the videos.  
ATTENTION: Architects, Engineers, Contractors!
New materials are on their way

Self healing concrete. Carbon Nanotubes. Sweating rooftops. Some materials may sound like science fiction, yet all are currently being developed and tested in laboratories throughout the world. Despite their technological complexity, these materials may be on the market sooner, rather than later. Below are brief overviews and links to learn more.


Self-healing concrete

Scientists at the Delft University in the Netherlands are working on bacteria, that when added to concrete mixtures, "repairs" cracking.


A cross-section of self-healing concrete. (TU Delft)


Concrete is mixed with the bacteria and food which the bacteria like to eat. The bacteria is activated by water and begins to eat the food source. The result is a chemical reaction where calcium combines with oxygen and carbon dioxide to form what is, basically, limestone.

Want to learn more? 


Carbon Nanotubes (CNTs)

CNTs are tubular cylinders of carbon atoms that have extraordinary properties ranging from 200 times the strength and 5 times the elasticity of steel to 15 times the thermal conductivity of copper. Better yet, CNTs are highly resistant to environmental and physical degradation.



The Shimizu TRY 2004 Pyramid over Tokyo Bay will most likely need concrete mixed with CNTs. As designed, the structure is 12 times higher than the Great Pyramid at Giza and slated to house 750,000 people. If constructed, it would be the largest man-made structure, ever. (Anarchytects)


For example, when CNTs are added to concrete, there is no need for re-bar. This way, concrete can be formed into different shapes due to the exceptional tensile strength. Imagine the time saved during construction not having to use rebar.

Want to learn more? 


Sweating rooftops

Poly(N-isopropylacrylamide)-referred to as PNIPAM-is a microgel polymer and is known as an intelligent soft nanomaterial. Using PNIPAM, researchers at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich have developed a type of matting that is used on rooftops to extract heat.



PNIPAM roof mat. (Rotzetter ACC)


When it rains, the PNIPAM matting soaks up water like a sponge. In sunshine, the matting releases the moisture on its surface where it evaporates. The matting operates similarly to how people perspire, moisture evaporates in an effort to move heat away from the body. Also, the matting is just millimeters thick and can save up to sixty percent in air-conditioning costs during the summer months.

Want to learn more? 

Feature Articles
Dates & Events
September 10, 2014
Modern Sawmill & Forestry Tour - Charlotte, NC

September 17-19, 2014

ACCFO Conference - Asheville, NC

October 10-11, 2014
NCSEA Conference - Raleigh, NC

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La Sagrada Familia

August is the month known for "holiday" in continental Europe. Recently, a Red staff member went on holiday to Barcelona, Spain, where they had the opportunity to tour the La Sagrada Familia basilica. Begun in 1882, architect Antoni Gaudi's (1852-1926) masterpiece of mixing Gothic and curvilinear Art Nouveau forms is scheduled for completion in 2026--more than 143 years after construction was started. 

























Millennials eschew malls

Following baby boomers, millennials are the second largest generation in the United States (~75 million vs. ~63 million). According to a survey compiled by the Urban Land Institute (ULI), millennials prefer online shopping to trawling malls.  




More than one third surveyed said they rarely or never go to an indoor mall and about half spend an hour or more, per day, browsing and shopping online. When asked why online shopping was preferential, the response most cited was convenience. As one millennial said-who even buys their toothpaste online-"Convenience and free time is something I value. Ordering online just makes more sense." (Source:

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