The bricks of

In the famous novel by Mary Shelley “Frankenstein, or the Modern Prometheus” the main character defied the laws of nature and science. In his dark laboratory scientist revived dead flesh.

the laboratory Staff will Srubar (Wil Srubar) of the University of Colorado in boulder do the same. However, in a much lighter and more comfortable conditions and much less monstrous results.

In their experiments, scientists have developed a highly unusual alternative to the classic building materials. Deciding to combine the beneficial properties of living and nonliving, they settled a colony of cyanobacteria in a solution of sand and hydrogel (it retains water and nutrients for the tiny “builders”).

Inorganic solution was allowed bacteria support (that is, in fact, served as “scaffolding”). Microorganisms actively multiply and produce calcium carbonate. He cemented sand and hydrogel, turning them into a very solid mass. By the way, about the way sea creatures grow their shells strong.

Next, the resulting mixture, the researchers produced a small brick. The resulting after drying, the material is not inferior to the strength of conventional cement, specialists say.

Cyanobacteria were mineralisable a mixture of sand and hydrogel, creating a durable bricks.Photos the CU Boulder College of Engineering and Applied Science.

on further investigation, the engineers found out that it’s not all the advantages they have created a hybrid. It turned out that the bricks have the capacity to reproduce.

This unusual as a building material the authors found, dividing the brick in half. Scientists added to each half a bit more sand, hydrogel and nutrients. Cyanobacteria that was enough to turn the debris into two full-size brick.

Testing the approach a few times, engineers have successfully “raised”three generations of “living bricks.” They warn about this in great detail in scientific work, published in the edition Matter.

“Bacteria multiply exponentially, so instead of having to make bricks one by one, you can make one brick and divide it into two, then four and so on. This would represent a revolution in modern knowledge construction materials and methods for their production,” says wil Srubar in a press release from the University.

Head of research will Srubar with a colleague studying self-replicating bricks.Photos the CU Boulder College of Engineering and Applied Science.

“Living material” has infinite potential, the authors of the invention. Buildings made of these bricks are capable of self-repair after various injuries. This property will certainly interest the military.

moreover, Srubar hopes that his team invented technology will help a person faster to colonize Mars. Using cultures of bacteria delivered to the Red planet, the astronauts would have produced the necessary building materials from the Martian components right on the spot.

“We first review the paradigm [of production] the cement materials. Which is amazing because technology changed in the last 100 years. It will be years before our method will be widely used, but we now feel that we are creating a new discipline,” adds the head of research.

By the way, this is not the first case when the properties of living beings inspire professionals to create new materials. The Authors “Conduct.Science” ( previously talked about the heavy-duty substance, obtained through cancer the mantis, and about the “superglue”, the formula of which suggested worms. We also wrote about the wonder-material that samolikvidirovalsja if it is not time to “feed”.

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Text: To.Science