carrotsNow a newly discovered use for the orange veggie may help farmers and/or food processing companies find a new source of revenue. That’s because carrots can make concrete stronger – and so do sugar beets.

Engineers at Lancaster University in the United Kingdom are infusing nano platelets from discarded carrots and root vegetable peels into concrete. This strengthens the material in an environmentally friendly way. Durability + Design reported:

“These vegetable-composite concretes were also found to out-perform all commercially available cement additives, such as graphene and carbon nanotubes and at a much lower cost…The root vegetable nano platelets work both to increase the amount of calcium silicate hydrate – the main substance that controls the performance of concrete – and stop any cracks that appear in the concrete.”

The Economist reported adding 500 grams of platelets reduced the amount of cement required to make a cubic foot of concrete by 10 percent. In addition to reducing the amount of building material needed for a project, carrot concrete also reduces CO2 emissions.

Another natural material is getting a makeover, too. Researchers at the University of Maryland are refining processes that make wood stronger than steel, reported Scientific American. It may compete with titanium alloys and have applications beyond building:

“A five-layer, plywood-like sandwich of densified wood stopped simulated bullets fired into the material – a result Hu and his colleagues suggest could lead to low-cost armor. The material does not protect quite as well as a Kevlar sheet of the same thickness, but it only costs about 5 percent as much, he notes.”

If demand for carrots (and sugar beets and wood) increases and supply remains constant then we may see prices for those goods increase.

Weekly Focus – Think About It

“A person with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”
Twain, American author and humorist

Sources:

https://www.durabilityanddesign.com/news/?fuseaction=view&id=19235
https://www.economist.com/science-and-technology/2018/06/14/making-buildings-cars-and-planes-from-materials-based-on-plant-fibres (or go to https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/peakcontent/+Peak+Commentary/06-25-18_TheEconomist-Making_Buildings_Cars_and_Planes_from_Materials_Based_on_Plant_Fibres-Footnote_6.pdf
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/stronger-than-steel-able-to-stop-a-speeding-bullet-mdash-it-rsquo-s-super-wood/
https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/mark_twain_121629