Biomineralization for sustainable construction - A review of processes and applications
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Modern civilization is facing the dichotomy of rapid development of infrastructure that makes concrete as most traded material on the earth other than water. However, the production of cement, key ingredient of concrete, releases roughly a tonne of CO2 into the environment with each tonne of cement production. The environmental concerns and sustainability issues associated with cement and concrete necessitate alternative and better approach in the construction. Nature, on the other hand, has a plethora of examples of sustainable habitats such as coral reefs, silk webs and ant hills. Recent advances in biotechnology have great potential of emulating nature’s way of building in modern days infrastructures at a scale that would sustain increasing population. Further, many of the biological materials of nature, be it ceramics or polymeric composites formed in the process of biomineralization, provides basis for sustainable construction. This paper elaborates nature’s way of construction based on biomineralization and discusses the progress of different biological pathways for sustainable construction. Main milestones achieved have been identified and the effect of biological intervention on the properties of structural materials has been highlighted. Variety of applications of biomineralization based technology in the construction has been reported. The paper briefly documents the future directions of the technology.
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