Daily Archives: May 21, 2015

Living Concrete Incorporates Helpful Bacteria

150504125010-bioconcrete-exlarge-169We have invented bioconcrete — that’s concrete that heals itself using bacteria,” says Henk Jonkers of Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands.

We use a lot of concrete in our modern world. Concrete often cracks. “If you have cracks, water comes through – in your basements, in a parking garage. Secondly, if this water gets to the steel reinforcements…if they corrode, the structure collapses.”

“The bioconcrete is mixed just like regular concrete, but with an extra ingredient — the ‘healing agent’. It remains intact during mixing, only…becoming active if…water gets in.”

Now Jonkers hopes his concrete could be the start of a new age of biological buildings.

“It is combining nature with construction materials,” he says. “Nature is supplying us a lot of functionality for free — in this case, limestone-producing bacteria. If we can implement it in materials, we can really benefit from it, so I think it’s a really nice example of tying nature and the built environments together in one new concept.”

Read the article from CNN here.

When Birds Squawk, Other Species Seem to Listen

Robotic Pygmy Owl stirs excitement among other species.

Robotic Pygmy Owl stirs excitement among other species.

“Studies in recent years…have shown that animals such as birds, mammals and even fish recognize the alarm signals of other species. Some can even eavesdrop on one another across classes. Red-breasted nuthatches listen to chickadees. Dozens of birds listen to tufted titmice, who act like the forest’s crossing guards. Squirrels and chipmunks eavesdrop on birds, sometimes adding their own thoughts.”

Read from the New York Times about experiments by Erick Greene, a professor of biology at the University of Montana, here.