Living’ Concrete Could Solve Michigan’s Pothole Problems

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Image credit: CU Boulder College of Engineering & Applied Science

Researchers have created material that could go a long way towards smoothing the surface of pothole-laden freeways like those in Michigan.

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Imagine if the potholes in Michigan’s roads could actually heal themselves?

Or if the state could literally grow new roads?

It might sound like fiction. But it’s based on rock-solid science.

Researchers at the University of Colorado – Boulder are creating what they call “living” bricks infused with microbes that can grow and “heal” the building material. The bricks are comprised of sand and photosynthetic cyanobacteria which takes sunlight, CO2, and some nutrients to make calcium carbonate minerals to biomineralize and impart a binder to the sand particles to give it some structural integrity.

Wil Srubar, assistant professor and the head of the project, tells WDET’s Quinn Klinefelter the bricks could even be cut in half and then grow back. “We’re really toying with this concept of ‘Why do buildings and the materials we build with have to be so static? Why can’t they be alive and functional and interact with the environment?’”

Click on the audio link above to hear more about living concrete.

Quinn Klinefelter, Senior News Editor

Quinn Klinefelter is a Senior News Editor at 101.9 WDET. In 1996, he was literally on top of the news when he interviewed then-Senator Bob Dole about his presidential campaign and stepped on his feet.

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