Your next home may have bricks made with human urine.

A group of three scientists from the University of Cape Town, South Africa, are drawing attention on the Internet because of a very unusual invention: bricks made with human urine. No, you didn't read it wrong: Scientists have turned ordinary pee into blocks that can normally be used for construction. Best of all, they are rigid like traditional limestone bricks and do not harm the environment.

Inspired by coral formation in the oceans, Africans employed a process called microbial carbonate precipitation. Basically, bacteria are used to produce an enzyme that separates urea from the urine, which results in the formation of calcium carbonate. Sand is added to the mixture, which naturally solidifies at room temperature, forming high strength gray bricks. Each “biotijolo”, as such items were called, needs 25 to 30 liters to be created.

“When we started this process last year, we achieved the same stiffness as a brick made of 40% limestone, ” explains Dyllon Randall, research supervisor. “A few months later, we doubled its rigidity. Now we are changing the material we put into the mold and allowing bacteria to cement the particles longer - with no (artificial) heat at room temperature, ”he says. This means that the bricks can be molded according to the user's need.

And if you are wondering if such blocks do not give off an unpleasant odor, Randall is sincere and claims that while the manufacturing process is somewhat smelly, the final product does not smell at all after 48 hours. In addition, bricks pose no risk to human health. "The process we use in the first step eliminates all pathogens and bacteria because it occurs at a very high pH that kills almost anything, " the scientist concludes.

Saving the planet with pee

At this point in the championship, we know what your main question should be: what for? Come on: To make the common bricks that support your home, you need to cook them in ovens at around 1, 400 ° C using carbon dioxide-emitting methods - which, as we all know, are harmful to the planet. As such, scientists around the world have long been looking for more sustainable ways to create materials rigid enough to support a building.

The concept used by Randall and his class had already been tested years ago in the US, but with a synthetic material that simulated the properties of urine - Africans were the first to effectively collect human pee (in the college bathroom itself) to build the blocks. . Since an average person produces between 200 ml and 300 ml of urine each trip to the toilet, this mission must have been somewhat challenging.

In addition, it takes 4 to 6 days to produce a single block - if it needs to be tightened, this wait time can be extended even longer. Is that you? Would you dare to use urine bricks to build your home?


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