Using living microorganisms, the research team has created a new building material from sand and gelatin that can grow, repair damage and absorb carbon dioxide..
Most modern building materials are harmful and quickly deteriorate after cracking occurs. Although there are now additives for concrete that make it self-healing, the survival rate of living cultures in them is less than 1%.
Scientists at the University of Colorado at Boulder decided to go further and make microorganisms one of the key building blocks. They experimented with cyanobacteria of the genus Synechococcus, whose colonies were added to a solution of sand and gelatin..
In the process of their vital activity, these bacteria absorb carbon dioxide and produce calcium carbonite, which mineralizes the gelatin by binding it to the sand. like cement. When the correct ratio of ingredients in the result is a solid material that has the same strength as ordinary modern brick.
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Studies have also shown that the material can be reproduced many times, and when destroyed, it self-repairs, since even 30 days after curing, 9-14% of cyanobacterial colonies remain alive.
However, the microorganisms used by scientists need moisture, so so far the technology does not work in arid regions. therefore the team is already breeding more resistant Synechococcus strains.
According to the developers, in the future, builders will be able to simply add water to the finished dry mixture and form the necessary elements or entire structures from it, in fact, growing them..
In addition to developing new types of materials, researchers in parallel improve and existing. We recently reported on the invention durable water-repellent concrete.
text: Ilya Bauer, photo: University of Colorado at Boulder