We’re moving one brick at a time towards a more earth friendly building future, and researchers in Europe have just thrown their latest invention into the equation. Teams working together at the Schools of Architecture at the University of Seville in Spain and the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, UK have created a new environmentally friendly building material that is stronger and uses less energy to make than its conventional counterpart. The new blocks, which are reinforced by wool and seaweed, were developed during a push by the two universities to create more environmentally kind building materials that would also mechanically improve upon more traditional ones.
“The objective was to produce bricks reinforced with wool and to obtain a composite that was more sustainable, non-toxic, using abundant local materials, and that would mechanically improve the bricks’ strength,” Carmen Galán and Carlos Rivera, authors of the study and researchers at the universities said about their invention. Wool and an alginate conglomerate from the cell walls of seaweed were mixed with clay to create the bricks. When dried — they don’t need to be fired, which cuts down on energy used in their production — the mixture seemed to make the bricks less prone to cracking and less likely to warp.
The raw materials were sourced locally in Scotland from clay based brick manufacturers and local wool producers who are unable to use all of their product. The authors note that they wished to create a locally sourced material that was, “suitable for adverse climatic conditions, such as the specific ones in the United Kingdom.” They also note that because of the materials used and the non-firing manufacturing process, “this is a more sustainable and healthy alternative to conventional building materials such as baked earth bricks and concrete blocks.” We’re just left wondering if these woolly bricks are more cuddly than their old school ancestors.
Via Science Daily