Future buildings could be filled with bacteria, and scientists are developing a hybrid building material made up of microbes that can repair itself and even extract carbon dioxide from the air,media reported. Professor Will Srubar of the University of Colorado at Boulder led an interdisciplinary team that used bacteria to create a durable “live” building material.
Scientists point out that this would be a particularly valuable asset in extreme conditions or in military structures, since bricks made of this material can be repaired on their own after natural disasters or damage from enemy fire.
“We believe this material is particularly suitable for resource-poor environments, such as deserts or the Arctic or even human settlements on other planets,” Srubar said. “
This living building material stems from Srubar’s interest in sustainable buildings.
“Living building materials can be used to improve the efficiency and sustainability of building material production, and also to allow materials to perceive and interact with their surroundings,” said Chelsea Heveran, co-author of the study published last week in Matter. For example, the bricks change color to show the presence of dangerous toxins in their surroundings and may absorb them.
To make bricks, the researchers will mix bacteria into “stents” made of gelatin and sand. Under suitable light and other conditions, microorganisms grow and form calcium carbonate, the main component of cement, by absorbing carbon dioxide. Scientists can mix the bacterial stent into different shapes. The team has shown that they can make bricks like small blocks or brick as much as shoeboxes, or structures that look like strange sandcastles.
“What’s exciting is that while less than 1 percent of bacteria usually survive in concrete self-sealing applications, we found that in our material, the viability of bacteria increased by several orders of magnitude,” Srubar said. “
According to the study, about 9-14% of bacteria survived after 30 days and experienced three generations in brick form. It is said that when the brick is split in half, each piece can grow a new piece.
In addition, the material is very durable. The team found that, at various temperatures and humidity conditions, it was about the same strength as the mortar used by contractors today.
The emergence of such a material is really the right time for an era that is increasingly concerned with electronic waste and increasinginterest in self-healing materials.