Cement and concrete haven’t changed much as technology in over a hundred years, but researchers in Colorado are revolutionizing building materials by literally bringing them to life. The method developed, presented January 15 in the journal Matter, combines sand and bacteria to build a living material that has structural load-bearing and biological function.
The team created a scaffold out of sand and hydrogel for the bacteria to grow in. The hydrogel retains moisture and nutrients for the bacteria to proliferate and mineralize, a process similar to the formation of seashells in the ocean. Combining the three, the researchers created