Scientists use food scraps to make construction materials stronger than concrete

WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:

  • A team of scientists in Japan is producing construction materials from food scraps.
  • They found that cabbage leaves can be made into a material that’s three times more durable than concrete.
  • The material is still in its early stages of development. 

Scientists from the Institute of Industrial Science at The University of Tokyo are turning food scraps into durable and still-edible construction materials. 

The team compressed and pulverized cabbage leaves, seaweed, and banana peels using a heat-pressing technique that is usually used to compress wood powder into construction materials.

Yuya Sakai, who specializes in sustainable construction materials, and senior author of an upcoming study on the materials, said in a statement on Tuesday that their goal was to use common food scraps and seaweeds to make construction materials that were as durable as concrete. 

 “But since we were using edible food waste, we were also interested in determining whether the recycling process impacted the flavor of the original materials,” Sakai added.    

The team vacuum-dried and pulverized food waste items, including cabbage, onion, and fruit peels. They then added water and seasonings into the food powder, then heat-pressed the mixture into a mold. 

All except the pumpkin peel passed the team’s strength tests. But the researchers were still able to figure out how to strengthen the pumpkin peel. Kota Machida, a collaborator on the project, explained that the stronger Chinese cabbage leaves could be mixed with the pumpkin-based material to produce a stronger material. 

The molded materials are still edible, but the scientists didn’t tell whether they were hard to chew. Even after being exposed to the air for four months, the taste of the materials didn’t change, and neither did they rot nor had issues with insects.

The production of the materials is still in its early stage but it gives a sneak peek into a future where homes are made from munchable materials, just like the witch’s house in the classic fairytale “Hansel and Gretel”. 

Source: C Net

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