Biological Concrete

August 20, 2017
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Bio receptive concrete panels

The Structural Technology Group at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) has developed a new type of concrete that supports the growth of small mosses, fungi, lichens, and microalgae. The multilayered material is composed of two types of cement: standard portland cement and magnesium phosphate cement, which is slightly more acidic and thus conducive to biological growth. These materials are encapsulated by additional layers to make a vertically oriented panel for building facades: a waterproofing layer that protects the cementitious materials from damage, a biological layer that absorbs water and supports plant colonization and growth, and a reverse waterproofing coating that facilitates the collection and storage of rainwater in the organic stratum.

The aim of biological concrete is to support natural, comprehensive colonization within a year. The growth of pigmented organisms that change their color and texture over time brings a fresh, transformative character to conventionally homogeneous and static building facades.

Contact: Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya Structural Technology Group, Barcelona, Spain.

For more information, see Transmaterial Next: A Catalog of Materials that Redefine Our Future