Star Crete: A New Material Developed To Build Houses On Mars | SR Material Update

Star Crete: A New Material Developed To Build Houses On Mars | SR Material Innovation

A team of researchers from the University of Manchester, UK has discovered an intriguing material labelled “StarCrete", which is considered to be apt to construct houses on Mars. The material is composed of potato starch, extra-terrestrial (Mars) dust and a pinch of salt. While it is made of simple materials, it is said to be twice as strong as ordinary concrete. Read SURFACES REPORTER (SR)’s complete report below:

Also Read: Now sample building materials at your doorstep with new sampling van by Mistry.Store in Delhi NCR | SURFACES REPORTER News Update

Twice As Strong As Ordinary Concrete

First published in the journal Open Engineering, the research informs that the innovative material- Star Crete- created by a team of scientists from the UK has concrete-like properties. It boasts compressive strength of 72 Megapascals (MPa), which is two-fold more than that of regular concrete with 32 MPa. 

Furthermore, when the researchers experimented with the material made from simulated moon dust, they found it to be even stronger, having a compressive strength of more than 91 MPa.

The innovative new material will have tremendous implications for potential future construction endeavours Dr Aled Roberts, lead researcher for this project, says, “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,"

Earlier, the same team worked on a binding agent formed from astronauts’ blood and urine. The developed material had a compressive strength of around 40 MPa, which was higher than standard concrete. However, the main drawback of this material is that it requires blood regularly, which seems a less practical option than using potato starch.

An Eco-Friendly Alternative To Traditional Concrete

Traditional concrete making requires heating in very high temperatures that releases a tremendous amount of energy and leads to 8 per cent of global CO2 emissions. In contrast, StarCrete can be made in a regular microwave or oven at normal ‘home baking’ temperatures, resulting in a lesser product of energy. StarCrete is a wonderful ecological alternative to ordinary concrete and can be an effective material to lower the carbon footprint on Earth.

3BHK Home With StarCrete

It is possible to create a wonderful 3BHK home on Mars using the innovative material- StarCrete. According to the team, a sack (25kg) of dehydrated potatoes (crisps) contains enough starch to produce nearly half a tonne of StarCrete, which is equal to more than 213 bricks worth of material. 

Approximately 7,500 bricks are required to construct a 3BHK house. Further, the team also found that the use of magnesium chloride- a common salt- which is obtained from astronaut tears or the Martian surface significantly increases the strength of StarCrete.

Source: University of Manchester

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