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Bio-Bricks, Road to a Sustainable Environment

Air pollution is a severe threat around the world. An enormous amount of pollutants is pumped into the atmosphere every day. These pollutants are not only dangerous to the health of people, plants, and animals, but they have a significant role to play in the climate shifts observed across the globe. The manufacturing of brick releases suspended matters rich in carbon particles and a high concentration of carbon monoxides and oxides of sulphur. As per the study, brick manufacturing contributes to 28.8% of sox and 8.8% of nitrogen oxides. The construction industry contributes 22% of the total annual emission of carbon dioxide in India. To tackle the issue of pollution caused by bricks, Priyabrata and Avik came up with an innovative solution – Bio Brick.

Image Source: Hindustan Times

Bio-brick is an alternative to the traditional clay brick used in the construction process. The USP of the brick is that it is made from sugarcane bagasse – a dry fibrous residue that is left after the cane is crushed for its juices. A single bio-brick needs 900 grams of sugarcane bagasse.

Apart from being an alternative to traditional brick, bio-bricks also help to control pollution in varied ways. It can absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. If a single bio-brick is burnt, it will release 639 grams of carbon dioxide. As per the calculation by the team, a single bio-brick can absorb up to 322.2 grams of carbon dioxide.

Process of manufacturing bio-brick

The first step involves selection of the dry agricultural waste like sugarcane bagasse, wheat straws, paddy straws, and cotton plant. For the pilot model, sugarcane bagasse was used. The bagasse is initially cut to the desired size. A lime-based slurry is prepared. Once it is ready, the agro-waste is added to the slurry and is mixed by hand or a mechanical mixer. It creates a homogenous mixture.

The mixture so formed is poured into moulds. It is packed with a wooden block to make a compact brick. Such frames are left to dry for a day or two. After the moulds are dried, their sides are removed. The slab is allowed to dry for fifteen to twenty days more. These bricks take around one month to attain strength through air drying. That’s how a bio-brick is developed.

The material used in the making of bio-bricks can be used as panel boards or insulation boards. There is a broad scope for designers to explore other applications for this sustainable material.

As far as strength is concerned, bio-bricks are not as strong as burnt clay bricks. As a result, these bricks cannot be used directly to build load-bearing structures. But they can be used in low-cost housing.

Bio bricks are capable of providing proper insulation to heat and sound. This helps in keeping a check on the humidity levels of the buildings, thereby making the houses appropriate for the hot-humid climate.

The team has really come up with an innovative way to control air pollution. Hats off to them! If you also have an idea like them and want to share it with someone, then let us know, we would love to hear you on Bots ‘N Brains.

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