Inspired by the nesting behavior of sandcastle worms in nature, a research team from the Institute of Chemical Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, has created a new type of biomimetics building material with excellent mechanical performance under low temperature and normal pressure conditions, providing a new approach to energy conservation and emission reduction in the building sector. Wang Shu Tao, the paper’s lead author and a researcher at the institute, said, “Conventional cement building materials consume a large amount of energy in the production process and emit a large amount of carbon at the same time. The development of new low-carbon building materials is of great significance.
The research team employed biomimetics to design a new type of natural biomimetic low-carbon building material. Sandcastle worms secrete a mucus that is a mixture of positive and negative proteins, which connects sand together to make a sturdy nest. Taking a cue from this, the team used positive quaternized chitosan and negative sodium alginate to create a biomimetic adhesive that firmly connects all solid particles. This new low-carbon, naturally derived biomimetic building material has a compressive strength of 17 megapascals per hour (MPA), which meets the standard for ordinary building materials. The material also has excellent aging resistance, water resistance, and unique recycling performance, and has high application potential in the low-carbon building field.