May 25, 2023 at 7:02 pm

This New Concrete Is Two Times Stronger Than What We Currently Have

by Trisha Leigh

If you clicked on this because you’re curious but you’re also not sure why we need stronger concrete, listen up: space.

Scientists and engineers are gearing up for a whole new push into the universe, so something like super strong concrete will have applications far beyond the (admittedly convenient) fact that our driveways would never have to be repaired.

The researchers from the University of Manchester are calling their discovery “StarCrete,” and believe it can be a solution to building on Mars.

They published inĀ Open Engineering and revealed that they key was actually potato starch, which they mixed with simulated Mars dust to produce “concrete”that has a compressive strength of 72 megapascals. They say if you use moon dust instead of Mars dust, it can get up to 91 megapascals.

Regular concrete has a compressive strength of 32 megapascals.

It was the potato starch that did the trick, according to research fellow Aled Roberts – and is more palatable than the other options.

“Since we will be producing starch as food for astronauts, it made sense to look at that as a binding agent rather than human blood. And anyway, astronauts probably don’t want to be living in houses made from scabs and urine.”

Potato starch is simple to store, too, which is another point in its favor.

“Current building technologies still need many years of development and require considerable energy and additional heavy processing equipment which all adds cost and complexity to a mission. StarCrete doesn’t need any of this and so it simplifies the mission and makes it cheaper and more feasible.”

Magnesium chloride, which came from the surface of Mars, was a factor in improving the new material as well.

Stay tuned on when this might show up at a home improvement store near you – or when we might start building with it on Mars.

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