Self-healing building materials

Top 15 Conservation Issues of 2021



The thought of a living building material seemed pretty farfetched a few years ago. It has now become a reality thanks to scientists at the University of Colorado at Boulder. With the help of cyanobacteria and some other materials, the scientist engineered a living building material that can regenerate when fractured. The microbes absorb carbon dioxide gas in order to grow and make calcium carbonate which is found in limestone and cement. To make a living brick, the scientist injects cyanobacteria colonies into a sand and gelatin solution. The calcium carbonate produced by the microbes mineralizes the gelatin causing the sand to bind together. The living materials could absorb dangerous environmental toxins, heal their own cracks, and even glow through bioluminescence. The structural integrity has proven to be as strong as mortar used today by contractors but before living buildings are built more research needs to be done on structural integrity.


Reference: https://www.colorado.edu/today/2020/01/15/building-materials-come-alive