Engineers working at the University of Colorado Boulder have just done a really … confusing listening experiment, they mix cyanobacteria into a combination of sand and jelly (gelatin) available in every grocery store. But the results will surprise you: they created a new building material, a breathable life form, and even reproduced.
The cyanobacteria in question is a life form that photosynthesizes and absorbs carbon dioxide for growth. The byproduct of photosynthesis is the substance of calcium carbonate – the main component of cement and also what makes cement as hard as you know.
According to Wil Srubar, the structural engineer who led the new research, “You can stand on the block without breaking it”. Adding live bacteria to the sand and jelly creates a vibrant complex, the bacterial groups grow at a rapid pace. Just cut half of this “brick”, it will proliferate new bricks. This can last up to three “brick generations”, so a brick can be split into 8 bricks.
Agar is what binds sand grains together, making the brick structure more stable than you think. Add bacteria, the whole brick suddenly turned into something as strong as mortar mortar building that we still use. However, these live bricks need moist air to grow – the bacteria inside the bricks do not like hot, dry weather.
To test how long the bricks lived, the researchers placed the blocks in a small mold (about the size of a shoe box), in dry conditions and at room temperature. After a few days, the bacteria in the live bricks began to die. After about 1 month, only about 9 to 14% of the bacterial group is still active.
But as soon as the room temperature became hotter and wetter, the bacteria immediately continued to grow.
Once again, I dream of Mars
Brick technology can reduce the amount of emissions that the construction industry regularly emits, because cyanobacteria are able to absorb carbon dioxide. Less or less, because nearly 40% of the carbon released into the environment comes from the construction industry.
Besides, because these bricks can reproduce on their own, workers can make bricks … right at the construction site, bypassing the expensive and polluted brick processing stage.
If researchers can create another version of bricks that can withstand the dry heat, we can apply live bricks to buildings on Mars, no longer having to worry about using a spacecraft to carry them. building materials on the Red Planet.
That is the distant future, at present scientists are still looking to apply live bricks to buildings on Earth. Bricks mixed with cyanobacteria can heal themselves, so when a cracked brick / wall breaks (due to an earthquake, collision or more), the crack will heal over time.
“We already use biological materials in construction, for example, wood, for example, those materials have long dried.“, Srubar said. “So we asked the question: Why not keep them alive and then make use of their biological abilities to generate benefits?”.
In the future, humanity will witness the emergence of houses that can breathe, absorb carbon; live houses built of live bricks.
Refer to Business Insider