New Concrete Gives Glow a Go
Concrete pavers, roads, safety strips and stairs can all stand out in the dark with a new series of products produced by a German partnership.
NighTec's technology is now several years old and has found application in marking paints, resin systems, aggregates, wood lacquers, interior wall paints, stones, and flooring. Its line of "crunchies" and aggregates can be incorporated into engineered stone, terrazzo, concrete slabs and paving blocks, and finishes.
In addition to raw materials, the company produces semi-finished and finished products.
The NighTec Leuchsteine concrete products, designed for industrial and commercial use, are powered by sunlight. Phosphorescent crystals embedded in the concrete capture the sun's energy and glow in the evening for about 10 hours, the company says.
The concrete appears white during the day and can glow in green or blue, depending on the coating chosen.
The blue or green crystals can be embedded into concrete, wall paints, industrial coatings, flooring and other materials for safety or decorative applications.
The glow is adequate to light stairwells, pavement, roads, helicopter pads and emergency exits, the company says. It can also be used as a design feature to brighten decks and walkways in architectural settings.
Concrete and Coatings
In addition to the Leuchsteine concrete products, NighTec offers its own mix for manufacturing noctilucent (glow in the dark) concrete. The grained rough mass is designed for primary use in cement-based concrete products. The mix is formulated for use under the same conditions as normal concrete aggregates, according to NighTec.
The company's marking paint system for concrete, asphalt and bituminous substrates is supplied as a filler paste or as a sprayable glow-in-the-dark paint system. NighTec says the product has high luminosity and high resistance.
NighTec also makes an interior wall paint that is applied like conventional paints.
The company says that the products offer concrete a wholly new advantage—the ability to emit light—without the use of radioactive, phorphorus or toxic materials.
The material can be incorporated into concrete mixes and coatings. The company also makes a glow-in-the-dark acrylic glass.
Such "light cycling” technology could provide significant energy savings, the company says. It estimates, based on future building renovations that use illuminating materials, that photoluminescent concrete could save 212 million megawatt hours annually in Germany.