Blood Bricks Are on the Bleeding Edge of Construction Tech

Like it or not, the world’s population consumes a whole lot of meat, and the by-products have to go somewhere. Blood is one of the most abundant waste materials on the planet. After a cow is drained of its approximately eight gallons of it, the blood is usually just discarded. An impressive project from architecture graduate Jack Munro shows how we could put that blood to good use as a sturdy, dependable building material.

In Munro’s concept, blood and sand take the place of water and mud, respectively, in a type of mud brick. When the blood is mixed with the sand and a preservative is added, and the whole mixture is baked at 160 degrees F for an hour, something kind of magical (and disgusting) happens. That mish-mash of ingredients become structurally stable waterproof bricks.

Another possible method using the cow blood involves placing protective objects all over a sand dune and then pouring tons of cow blood over the dune. The protective objects would essentially form holes in the bloody exterior as the blood coagulates. After a shell has formed over the dune, the wind is allowed to blow away the sand on the inside, leaving only a hollow shell of blood and sand. In this way, Munro postulates that huge structures could be built in hot, dry climates for next to no money at all.

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See more in New Materials or under Science. October, 2012.