Today in weird news we didn’t expect to read: Researchers in Colorado have produced Franken-concrete. It’s alive, and it may be the future of green buildings.
Concrete is, quite literally, all around us. It, or versions of it, has been used since 1300 B.C., meaning even a trip to Roman ruins is surrounded by concrete. In the last century, the technology of concrete hasn’t changed, but this new breakthrough has changed that.
The second most consumed material on earth, the production and use of concrete is responsible for 6% of global CO2 emissions—no small thing. Using bacteria, sand, and a hydrogel, the researchers found a way to produce a material that mimics the strength of concrete-based mortar.
How does it work? The power of the bacteria helps to “biomineralize the scaffold, so it actually is really green. It looks like a Frankenstein-type material,” said study senior author Wil Srubar, Ph.D. “That’s exactly what we’re trying to create–something that stays alive.”
And if you thought the idea of living concrete was weird enough, hold on tight: It’s about to get weirder. The material can reproduce, with a little help. If researchers split a brick of the material in half, the bacteria grows the pieces into two complete bricks. They found that this works to end up with eight bricks from the original one in three “generations.”
Continue reading… “Scientists bring concrete to life & it might be the future of construction”