Lausanne – On a chip the size of a credit card, all novel mixtures for biocement can be tested for their properties. It contains a 1-meter hairline flow channel in which the behavior of biocement can be observed over several hours.
A chip from Lausanne researchers can significantly accelerate the development of innovative mixtures for biocement. This material has the potential to replace conventional cement binders in certain construction applications. With the help of their chip, which is the size of a credit card, the behavior of novel and more sustainable mixtures can be observed relatively easily.
This is helpful, among other things, because sand, for example, is becoming increasingly difficult to obtain. This chip can be used to check the use of other ingredients such as recycled glass, plastic or crushed concrete. Thus, biocements could help to reduce the carbon footprint of the construction industry.
The chip was developed by civil engineers from the Laboratory of Soil Mechanics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) together with researchers from the Faculty of Earth Sciences and Environment at the University of Lausanne, according to a media release. On its surface is engraved a flow channel, 1 meter long from one end to the other and as fine as a human hair.
The solution to be studied is injected at one end and can then be studied for several hours. “For example, we were able to see where minerals formed and which mixtures could lead to better mechanical properties over a long flow path,” explains doctoral student Ariadni Elmaloglou. The results have just been published in the journal Scientific Reports. In order to bring new biocements developed at EPFL to the market, the two professors Dimitrios Terzis and Lyesse Laloui founded the start-up MeduSoil back in 2018. The company has already conducted field trials in Switzerland and abroad. mm