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27 Nov 2023

Scientists have made a breakthrough around bricks within the construction industry

Amy Power
Scientists have made a breakthrough around bricks within the construction industry

Seratech has produced a first-of-its-kind low-carbon brick prototype, which has been under development for 18 months. This groundbreaking development has been designed specifically to reduce the amount carbon dioxide normally produced through the production of regular bricks.

Seratech is a research and development company who specialises in Carbon Capture Mineralisation and Utilisation (CCMU) within the construction industry. The business works with the aim of producing materials which can replace high volume building materials. With this breakthrough, the scientists at Seratech say that their brick prototype is as close to being carbon neutral as it is possible for a brick to be. Although the overnight heating process for these kind of bricks could be electrified, which is not the case for regular bricks, currently the overnight heating process does emit a little amount of carbon. This tiny carbon emission is produced during the chemical reaction, which occurs while the brick is curing. However, the scientists have confirmed that the emissions produced from the brick in this time are nowhere near as harmful to the environment as the amount of emissions produced from clay-fired, calcium silicate, or concrete bricks.

This process which allows reduced Co2 emissions is made possible through the difference in manufacturing processes. Whilst every-day clay bricks need to be fired at over 1,200 degrees Celsius, along with almost 1kg of Co2 being stored within every brick. On the other hand, Seratech’s innovative brick only requires baking at 60 degrees Celsius, then it can be left for two weeks at an ambient temperature to complete the curing process and become as sturdy as possible.

One feature of the brick which makes all this innovative difference possible is that the brick utilises a magnesium carbonate binder. This part of the material is produced through the use of Seratech’s proprietary CCMU process. This system allows carbon dioxide emissions emitted from industries to be captured and stored permanently within the built environment. Seratech also mentioned that the binding agent, magnesium carbonate, is also what allows the brick to be a viable low-carbon solution, which is ideal for use within the construction industry. The magnesium carbonate’s weight is made-up 30% of captured Co2.  

In order to work-on and improve the brick’s performance and circularity, the scientists at Seratech combined forces with AKT II, as well as materials specialist Local Works Studio. These collaborations allowed the scientists to experiment with a variety of aggregate and additive combinations. The next steps for this project will focus on testing the prototypes within the next few months. This research and these experiments will help the company to evaluate the brick’s performance in comparison to building standards.

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