A living concrete
Researchers at the Technical University of Catalonia in Spain are studying a living concrete that uses organic organisms that can perform photosynthesis, such as moss, lichen and other microorganisms, to grow on the material to form a layered structure.
Organic organisms not only make concrete more ornamental, but also recover carbon dioxide emitted in the air. Organic organisms are attached to the building, which helps to adjust the thermal conductivity of the concrete and reduce the energy requirements of the building.
Researchers envision that such living concrete panels could be attached to the surface of a building's concrete structure. Although this means that the panels are not sufficient to build a supporting structure, they can be used as an accessory to existing structures.
Green roofs are expensive to build and maintain. In contrast, concrete panels can be more easily installed and removed as needed. There are three layers of this breathable concrete, which add up to a thickness of about 3 ~ 5cm: the innermost waterproof layer is to prevent the underlying structural layer from seeping out, and the porous middle layer is used to store and provide moisture. The layer keeps it hydrated by keeping it in and out.
Researchers' experimental tests show that magnesium phosphate cement is the best choice for panel, and its pH is higher than traditional cement and acid Portland cement. The pH value of magnesium phosphate cement is equal to 8, which can better promote the growth of organisms.
According to Sandra Manso Blanco, a researcher on the project, the team has determined the scientific feasibility of the concept. At present, they have completed the first phase to make it more market-oriented. Now they are preparing to start the next phase of the project-prototype boards will be manufactured and their performance researched. As for the service life of concrete slabs, scientists are also conducting pilot tests to study its long-term behavior .