Architect makes bricks using cattle blood

October 26, 2012 by Bob Yirka, report
Credit: Wikipedia

(—A recent graduate from the University of Westminster in London, architect Jack Munro has developed a process that uses cattle blood as a binding ingredient in making bricks for use in building construction.

A single cow produces up to eight gallons of blood at slaughter (which is typically thrown away), and blood naturally coagulates. Given these facts, Munro, while still a student, conceived the idea of using this blood to facilitate the formation and solidification of bricks. He began testing various mixtures, and eventually landed on the current formula—blood, an antibacterial agent, an anticoagulant, sand, and water. The result is a crimson brick that is strong enough to be used as a . It's waterproof, too, which means it could be used in resource-scarce places such as parts of the Middle East that currently rely on mud bricks for constructing homes and other buildings.

For his thesis, Munro described how a brick-making operation might work in the community of Siwa, Egypt. He selected that community because it is typical of those that have been adversely impacted by changes in the Saharan desert—where the arid desert conditions are encroaching on previously arable lands. His idea entails creating a manufacturing building by laying a blood-glue mixture over a sand dune. The dune is then allowed to blow away, leaving a hollow shelter behind. In that shelter, the bricks would be made by mixing the anticoagulant EDTA with a quantity of blood to slow thickening. That would be followed by a dose of sodium azide to stop fungal and bacterial growth, and then the addition of sand and water. The final mixture is stirred and then poured into a form, and baked at 70° C for an hour. The result is a brick suitable for use in erecting simple buildings.

Munro concedes that the bricks are not nearly as strong as traditional bricks made using clay, but suggests they are at least as strong as the mud bricks currently in use. The advantage that bricks made from cattle blood have over mud-based is they require far less water—a definite plus in water-deprived parts of the world.

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1 / 5 (7) Oct 26, 2012
...except that needlessly raising livestock for human consumption is the biggest waste of fresh water on earth.

Cows don't eat corn naturally. They currently use the blood of slaughtered cows in the corn meal fed to cows.
3 / 5 (4) Oct 26, 2012
What DavidW doesn't recognise, evidently, is that not all land is suitable for crops. Areas with only top soil (such as Scotland or Mongolia) or intense weather (such as desert areas) are not suitable for meaningful crops. In fact, lush grasses can spell disaster for many grazing animals, particularly sheep. In these areas, cattle is much more feasible. The other point is that Siwa is an Oasis which means water naturally collects here. These people have been around for many millenia, so clearly keeping cattle there is not an issue.
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 26, 2012
I think giving these people a few recipes for blood is in order, from sausage to pancakes,soups and even solid bricks blood is food in more than a few parts of the world. If you want to make bricks take the half digested food from inside the gut and use that to bind your bricks. This article is about slaughtered cows,if all you want is bricks you can use dung,but this takes away a valuable soil conditioner from your food cycle.
1 / 5 (4) Oct 26, 2012
Ox blood floors have been around forever.

It must be some powerful glue if he has made a strong building block out of sand.
2 / 5 (6) Oct 27, 2012
So if you ever pass a field of anemic looking cows, you know what is going on besides milk production.
3 / 5 (3) Oct 27, 2012
Waste of good food.
3 / 5 (3) Oct 27, 2012
Waste of good food.

when the same nutrition can be derived from elsewhere, using the blood to make a sturdier home hardly seems like a waste.

Furthermore, not everyone likes the taste of blood in food. Good is irrelevant.
2.3 / 5 (3) Oct 28, 2012
I think giving these people a few recipes for blood is in order, from sausage to pancakes,soups and even solid bricks blood is food in more than a few parts of the world.

In Egypt? If they are religious Muslims? Consumption of blood is not permitted by Quran. Unless you want to serve it to the few remaining Coptic Christian, then I think that you ignored some cultural differences.

Munro concedes that the bricks are not nearly as strong as traditional bricks made using clay

So taking in to account amount of effort that has to be put in producing them it seems that someone has to politely explain this architect that his idea is creative, brilliant but not very practical.
not rated yet Nov 02, 2012
After a little more research of the original documentation I found out that the main advantage of these bricks is that they are waterproof.

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