Scientists turn leftover vegetables into a building material that’s more durable than concrete, still edible

Scientists turn leftover vegetables into a building material that’s more durable than concrete, still edible

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2021-05-31 05:22:03

A research team at the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Industrial Sciences has found a way to create durable, strong and still edible building materials… from food.

Mashed cabbage leaves, seaweed and banana peels may not sound appealing, but they can be part of a recipe for sustainable building products.

Yuya Sakai, a sustainable building materials expert and lead author of an upcoming study on the material said.: “Our goal is to use seaweed and leftovers to build materials that are at least as strong as concrete. But since we are using edible food waste, we were also interested in determining whether the recycling process affects the taste of the starting material.”

The team tried a heat pressing technique commonly used to compress wood pulp into a building material. Instead of wood, they vacuum-dried and then ground into a variety of plant-based leftovers, including onion and fruit peels, as well as cabbage.

“The processing technique consists of mixing food powder with water and spices, then pressing the mixture into a mold at high temperature”, the university said. All the products obtained, except for the pumpkin peel, passed the team’s tests for strength.

Researchers have found a solution to the pumpkin problem. Kota Machida, a collaborator on the project said: “We also discovered that Chinese cabbage leaves, which can be made into a material three times stronger than concrete, can be mixed with a weaker pumpkin-based material to enhance the effect.”

The materials are still edible, although the team did not say whether they would be difficult to chew. Even exposing the material to air for four months does not change the taste and there are no problems with rotting or insects.

The development of crushed food building materials is still in its early stages, but perhaps one day you can build a shelter and then use it for food when it’s not needed anymore. .

Remember the candy houses in the old stories? It looks like a more “healthy” version of it will be available in the future.

Reference: CNET

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