In a recent article titled ‘StarCrete: A starch-based biocomposite for off-world construction’ published in Open Engineering, Future BRH Research Fellow Dr Aled Roberts demonstrated that ordinary potato starch can act as a binder when mixed with simulated Mars dust to produce a concrete-like material. This work improves on previous work from the same team where they used astronauts’ blood and urine as a binding agent. While the resulting material had a compressive strength of around 40 MPa, which is better than normal concrete, the process had the drawback of requiring blood on a regular basis. When operating in an environment as hostile as space, this option was seen as less feasible than using potato starch.

The full press release for the article can be read here, which has also been reported in the media including in the Telegraph.


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