Concrete has fantastic compression strength, but its tensile strength sucks. More to the point, concrete takes 28 days to fully cure, which is no good in an emergency. Now, a new "CO2 Structure" could revolutionise post-disaster rebuilding.
DigInfo TV is reporting that the Japanese company TIS & Partners LTD has announced a new type of building material. They found that by blowing CO2 into silica they could make a structure that is as hard as a brick, in the shape of a brick, in under one minute. To make it stronger than brick (which is very brittle) they then added organic material (like an epoxy or urethane), and found that it had at least 2.5 times the tensile strength.
This could potentially be huge. In areas, like Japan, that have been ravaged by an earthquake, aftershocks (often very large ones) are common. Concrete doesn't dry fast enough for fast rebuilding and traditional brick may be too brittle to withstand aftershocks. This new material, which can easily be shaped and needs little to no metal support, could give us a way to quickly repair damaged buildings before they fall and to build strong shelters.
This short video explains the process, and it's very interesting. They say the material "would give buildings a life of at least 50 years," which is fantastic, but it's notable that doesn't seem to be a permanent, long-term solution. Regardless, I hope this stuff goes mainstream soon, and that cities near seismic hotspots start stock-piling the necessary materials to make a ton of it in a hurry (I'm looking at you, San Francisco). [via DigInfo TV]