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Have researchers developed the 'brick of the future'?

The potential brick of the future has been developed by researchers in Spain, capturing the attention of bricklayers across Britain.

Researchers at the Upper Polytechnic School of Linares, at the University of Jaen, have created the brick from the byproducts of paper manufacturing and from construction ceramic. The substance has up to 40 per cent lower thermal conductivity than conventional bricks, making the new bricks perfect insulators for homes.

One of the lead researchers on the project, Carmen Martinez, said that they used cellulose waste from a paper factory and blended it with ceramic and sludge from water purification. Martinez said that, while the brick material does not yet have the mechanical resistance of traditional bricks, it is still above the legally required minimum and is an area that they are continuing to work on.

Martinez explained, “On the whole, this technique could bring about a saving in energy and raw materials for brick factories along with environmental benefits from the use of waste that is initially discarded.”

The prototype bricks made so far are currently at the more diminutive end of the scale – measuring just three by one by six centimetres, but researchers have said that bigger bricks have been tested and shown similar results to the smaller ones.