Scientists have found a technique with which they can create living bricks that transform carbon dioxide into CaCO3, which is the key ingredient needed in cement.
Researches involving Synechococcus cyanobacteria depicted massive potential for future building projects when utilized alongside sand, carbon dioxide, and a particular range of humidity settings. Cutting the designed bricks ends n self-healing and reproduction.
The process starts with injecting colonies of bacteria into a chemical made of sand and gelatin. This method used in the study absorbs carbon dioxide and produces calcium carbonate, mineralizing the gelatin, which then bonds the sand.
“We use bacteria to help grow the bulk of the material needed for construction,” said assistant professor Wil Srubar of the Department of Civil, Environmental and Architectural Engineering (CEAE) at the University of Colorado Boulder.
It is like the scientists have used water to design a sandcastle, but the ensuing material in this process won’t collapse so easily. These bricks are incredibly rough and tough, similar to the majority of modern mortar utilized in the construction of buildings by workers in every city, every day.
These bricks can reproduce, as well, in a rather natural way. It is similar to growing trees just to use their wood as materials for a building, but in this case, the materials would not be tree trunks, but alive and besides, incredibly useful.
“We know bacteria grow at an exponential rate, so rather than manufacturing bricks one-by-one, you may be able to make one brick and have it split into two, then four, and so on,” said Srubar. “That would revolutionize not only what we think of a structural material, but also how we fabricate structural materials at an exponential scale.”
More information about this research can be found in the paper named “Biomineralization and Successive Regeneration of Engineered Living Building Material,” published in the journal Matter.