Cosmic Concrete made from Martian Soil is twice as strong as Regular Concrete | StarCrete

A new material called StarCrete has been reportedly developed by Manchester scientists. Made from extra-terrestrial dust, potato starch and a pinch of salt, StarCrete is reportedly said to be used to build homes on Mars. Here is a detailed report on SURFACES REPORTER (SR).

At present, building infrastructure in space is prohibitively expensive and difficult to achieve. Therefore, space construction is expected to heavily rely on simple materials that will be easily available to astronauts. Created by Dr Aled Roberts, Research Fellow at the Future Biomanufacturing Research Hub, and lead researcher for this project, StarCrete uses simulated Martian soil mixed with potato starch and a pinch of salt. The mixture creates a material that is twice as strong as ordinary concrete and is perfectly suited for construction work in extra-terrestrial environments.

Published in the journal Open Engineering, the paper, ‘StarCrete: A starch-based biocomposite for off-world construction’ elaborates how ordinary potato starch can act as a binder when mixed with simulated Mars dust to produce a concrete-like material. Upon testing, StarCrete had a compressive strength of 72 Megapascals (MPa), which is over twice as strong as the 32 MPa seen in ordinary concrete. Additionally, Starcrete made from moon dust is reportedly even stronger at over 91 MPa.

This research is an improvement on previous work from the same team where they used astronauts’ blood and urine as a binding agent. While the resulting material had a compressive strength of around 40 MPa, which is better than normal concrete, the process had the drawback of requiring blood regularly. “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. Also, current building technologies still need many years of development and require considerable energy and additional heavy processing equipment which all add 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. And anyway, astronauts probably don’t want to be living in houses made from scabs and urine,” exclaims Dr Roberts.

Furthermore, the team calculate that a sack (25kg) of dehydrated potatoes (crisps) contains enough starch to produce almost half a tonne of StarCrete, which is equivalent to over 213 bricks worth of material. For comparison, a 3-BHK takes roughly 7,500 bricks to build. Additionally, they discovered that a common salt, magnesium chloride, obtainable from the Martian surface or from the tears of astronauts, significantly improved the strength of StarCrete.

That being said, StarCrete if used on Earth, could offer a greener alternative to traditional concrete. Reportedly, it can be made in an ordinary oven or microwave at normal home baking temperatures, therefore offering reduced energy costs for production.

Image credit: University of Manchester


Post Your Comment

"Content that powers your Business. News that keeps you informed."

Surfaces Reporter is one of India's leading media in Print & Digital Telecast for News on Interiors & Architecture Projects, Products, Building Materials, and the Business of Design! Since 2011, it serves as a referral for designers & architects to know about inspiring projects and source new products. If you have a Product or Project worth publishing in Surfaces Reporter, please email us or you can also submit your project online.

Like Surfaces Reporter on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter and Instagram | Subscribe to our magazine | Sign Up for the FREE Surfaces Reporter Magazine Newsletter

Modernity, Minimalism, and Luxury Came Together in This Residence | Camellias | Nitin Kohli Home

Designed by Nitin Kohli Home, CAMELLIAS began with furnishing, accessorizing, and styling. Working closely with the architects, we achieved a modern, minimalist design that seamlessly combines luxury.

Read more

Trade Promotion Council of India signs MoU with FederlegnoArredo, Italy | Salone del Mobile, Milano

Today at Salone del Mobile, Milano, the Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with FederlegnoArredo (FLA), Italy, signifying a noteworthy advancement in mutual collaboration to nurture furniture and associated clusters in India.

Read more

Electrolux Group Wins Best of the Best Red Dot Award, Plus Four More Awards for Product Design | SR News Update

Electrolux Group has won five Red Dot design awards this year, with the SaphirMatt induction hob earning the top honor, Red Dot: Best of the Best, for its innovative scratch-resistant matt glass.

Read more

Developers incorporating water conservation in the projects to make them more saleable | SURFACES REPORTER Real Estate Update

Taking cue from the shortage of water in metro cities, developers are incorporating water conservation features in their latest launches in order to make them lucrative to the prospective buyers. A report by SURFACES REPORTER.

Read more

This is alt