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Old Posted Apr 27, 2017, 7:07 PM
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Five Super Materials With The Power To Change Our World

From Superheroes To SuperMaterials: Five Super Materials With The Power To Change Our World

26 April, 2017

By John O'Reilly

Read More: http://www.archdaily.com/869661/from...ange-our-world


1. Bio-receptive concrete

We know how badly polluted our cities are – but actually do we really? In 2017 it took only five days for London to exceed its annual air pollution limit. Created by BiotA Lab, at The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London, their concrete enables the hosting of microorganisms and nurtures bio-colonisation.

Superpower: The organisms growing in the concrete produce oxygen and absorb CO2 and pollution.

2. Coconut Husk Boar

The great thing about the SuperMaterial exhibition is that it demonstrates that superpowers can emerge like the tortoise who wins the race. Take the humble coconut husk, 60 billion of them are discarded by the food industry each year – what an environmentally expensive waste. Not any more.

Superpower: The husk's high lignin content means it can be bound into incredibly strong hard board (made by GoodHout, Delft) without the damaging glue. The lack of glue means it can be fully recycled and less demand for wood and destruction of forests.

3. Cellulose Nanofibres

That step-counter on your phone? In the not-too distant future you could be step-counting the electricity generated round the house.

Superpower: Invented by Xudong Wang and Chunhua Yao at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, this floorboard made from cellulose layers generates electricity from footsteps.

4. Aluminium Foam

“Is it a sponge? Is it foam? No it’s aluminium made by injecting air into molten metal!” The process means it has a high weight to strength ratio and has been used as external and internal cladding in major projects such as Fondazione Prada Museum/Gallery in Milan.

Superpower: Made by Cymat Technologies, the metal is fully recyclable and is itself made from 50% recycled materials.

5. Microalgae

All that microalgae in our canals and waterways were waiting for and the Urban Morphogenesis Lab, at The Bartlett, UCL. The algae is harvested and grown, the microbial cellulose derived from the algae can be spun in a fermentation process which metabolises organic waste and air pollutants, into layered structures. The harvested alga can also be used to grow bioplastic.

Superpower: Imagine you care about the environment and didn't have to wait, tapping your fingers on the desk for 200 years while your conventional petroleum-based plastic biodegrades. This bioplastic degrades speedily in six months.

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