Future buildings could be made of artificial human bone, hemp, bacterial byproducts or concrete that absorbs greenhouse gas emissions and lasts thousands of years. Innovations in building materials have led to synthetic creations that are stronger, lighter and more sustainable than those we already use, potentially leading to architecture unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.
Litracon is a combination of optical fibers and fine concrete, produced as prefabricated building blocks for a translucent glass-like look with surprising strength. It’s handmade, so each block has its own individual pattern of light.
Bacteria Building Blocks
Will bacteria build the walls of our housesin the future? Scientists have directed the creation of bioplastics, cellulose and other materials by feeding certain materials to specific varieties of bacteria. The resulting metabolic process produces solid, surprisingly durable byproducts that could be used for all kinds of processes. Bacteria might even create bricks that could be used for building on Mars.
Concrete That Lasts 16,000 Years
Not only would the new concrete being developed at MIT drastically reduce the carbon emissions currently associated with the manufacturing of this material, it would also result in an astonishing reduction in the amount needed in the first place. That’s because it’s strong enough to last for an incredible 16,000 years. This concrete will not only be stronger, but also lighter and thinner, so large-scale, lightweight structures require far less material.
Hempcrete: Hemp Biocomposite
A new bio-composite, thermal wall material made of hemp, lime and water is not only eco-friendly but actually carbon-negative thanks to the amount of CO2 stored during the process of growing and harvesting hemp. It’s 100% recyclable, waterproof and fireproof and could be used for everything from walls and insulation to flooring. Once demolished, the material can be used as fertilizer.
A new type of concrete can not only bend under 5% tensile strain, it does so by self-healing. The material forms micro-cracks when bent, which then seal themselves after being exposed to water and carbon dioxide.
So light you can’t even feel it in your hand, aerogel has the lowest bulk density of any known porous solid, and it’s a powerful insulating material. Made up of a gel that has had its liquid component replaced by air, it’s thin, breathable, fireproof, strong and won’t absorb water. Manufacturers are now producing it in sheets as insulation, but it’s still pretty expensive.
Novacem Carbon-Eating Cement
2.9 billion tons of cement is produced every year, and it’s responsible for up to 5% of the world’s annual production of CO2. Novacem, a cement substitute made of magnesium silicate, actually absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere. It could potentially achieve one of the single largest reductions in CO2 emissions in construction, cutting out 800kg of carbon emissions per ton of poured concrete and absorbing another 50kg.
Made from drinking straws, a disposable product, ‘flexicomb‘ is a flexible material that form a translucent honeycomb matrix that could potentially be used to make lighting fixtures and other items.
A new material called ‘living glass’ could monitor CO2 levels in the air, automatically opening and closing its ‘gills’ in response to the breathing of humans in the room. It’s made of silicone embedded with wires that contract due to electrical stimulus, allowing the gills to regulate air quality when carbon dioxide levels are high.
Source: Web Urbanist