Builders may someday grow their own cement

In a study published…in the journal Matter, engineer Wil Srubar and his colleagues describe their strategy for using bacteria to develop building materials that live and multiply—and might deliver a lower carbon footprint, to boot.

“We already use biological materials in our buildings, like wood, but those materials are no longer alive,” said Srubar, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering, CU Boulder. “We’re asking: Why can’t we keep them alive and have that biology do something beneficial, too?”…

Such structures could, one day, heal their own cracks, suck up dangerous toxins from the air or even glow on command…

In the new study, the team discovered that under a range of humidity conditions, they have about the same strength as the mortar used by contractors today…You can step on it, and it won’t break…

The researchers also discovered that they could make their materials reproduce. Chop one of these bricks in half, and each of half is capable of growing into a new brick.

Maybe not real soon; but…pretty interesting experiments.

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