The Chinese claim that these worms create perfect “concrete”.  What is it exactly?

A team of researchers from the Technical Institute of Physics and Chemistry of the Chinese Academy of Sciences split into the journal Theme Research results on a building material inspired by the activities of sea worms that build residential structures resembling sand castles.

Read also: These worms can survive on an unusual diet. They feed on Styrofoam

This concerns polychaete species Phragmatopoma californicaWhich reaches a length of 7.5 cm and inhabits the California coast. They build sandcastle-like residential structures from sand grains and shell fragments. Its surface may also resemble a honeycomb structure.

Worm skeleton exposed at low tide / Source: Wikimedia Commons, public domain CC0

Worms that build sand castles have become a source of inspiration for scientists

What could be the relationship between sea worms and the construction industry? It turned out to be very large. It is mainly related to the organic glue produced by polychaetes. They use it to bind grains together. The secret of the substance is that it contains cationic and anionic proteins – the authors of the study explained in the statement Eurekalert.

Read also: They added coffee to concrete! The effects are amazing

Using a similar compound, Chinese researchers have developed a prototype building material. At low temperatures and atmospheric pressure, they showed that the bonding adhesive still has good mechanical properties and can be used to create any materials from interconnected sand grains or concrete block residues.

Why do we need building materials bonded with polymer glue at all? First of all, the scientists wanted to offer an alternative to classic concrete and cement, the production of which leads to huge costs to the environment. Not only are large amounts of water used, but they also emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Read also: Eco-concrete, a solution that almost no one will disdain

If we want to stop climate change, we must transform not only the energy industry, but also the construction industry. Unfortunately, as we see in many examples (also from Poland), any changes in this area are still a long way off. The discovery by Chinese scientists may be a herald of a whole new spring.

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