A new type of biological concrete has been created that encourages the natural and rapid growth of pigmented organisms in the concrete. The material was designed with the idea of being used as a façade for buildings located in Mediterranean-like climates, offering great advantages in thermal comfort and helping to reduce atmospheric CO2. The material could, of course, be very useful for a wide range of other purposes also.
The prime innovation of this new concrete is that it works very well as a support for the naturally occurring “growth and development of certain biological organisms, to be specific, certain families of microalgae, fungi, lichens and mosses,” the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya notes in a press release about the concrete.
Currently the researchers are working to accelerate the natural colonization that occurs on the concrete by these organisms. Their goal is to have it set up so that the surface is very well covered in less than a year.
“A further aim is that the appearance of the façades constructed with the new material should evolve over time, showing changes of colour according to the time of year and the predominant families of organisms. On these kinds of buildings, other types of vegetation are prevented from appearing, lest their roots damage construction elements.”
The key qualities of the material are its specific pH, porosity, surface roughness, and it’s sandwich-like structure. The structure is composed of three layers: the first is a waterproofing layer, the second is the biological layer that allows water to accumulate in it, and the third is a ‘discontinuous coating layer’ with a reverse waterproofing function.
The new concrete material works well as an absorber of atmospheric CO2, and also at capturing solar heat and providing insulation.
The researchers think that the material could function very well fulfilling some of the same functions that vertical gardens and turf walls do.
Source: Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC)
Image Credit: UPC
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