A team of scientists has created a new light-emitting cement which is capable of illuminating roads, highways and bicycle lanes during the night time. Researchers say the new light-emitting cement can last for a hundred years. It absorbs solar energy during the day and hence emits light at night. The cement currently exists in blue or green colour only. The intensity of light can also be regulated in order to avoid dazzling drivers.
“The main issue was that cement is an opaque body that doesn’t allow the pass of light to its interior,” said Jose Carlos Rubio, from Michoacan’s University of San Nicolas Hidalgo (UMSNH) in Mexico. Common cement is a dust that when added to water dissolves like an effervescent pill, Rubio explained. (Also read. NASA’s Messenger Mission: Scientists unveils the first global topographic model of Mercury)
“In that moment it starts to become a gel, similar to the one used for hair styling, but much stronger and resistant; at the same time, some crystal flakes are formed, these are unwanted sub-products in hardened cement,” Rubio said.
Researchers laid focus on modifying the micro-structure of the cement. This eliminated crystals and turned it completely into gel form. The gel form helped it to absorb solar energy and returned it to the environment as light. According to researchers, the building, road, highway or structure if made out of this particular cement can absorb solar energy the entire day and emit light during the night for around 12 hours. (Also read. NASA probes find magnetic reconnection in space for the first time ever)
According to Rubio, most of the fluorescent materials are made from plastic and they have an average three years of life span and this is because the UV rays decay them. However, the new cement is sun-resistant and has an estimated lifespan of 100 years, he said.
Sand, dust or clay have been used to make the material which has turned into the gel and the material is made out of sand, dust or clay that becomes the gel and the only residue of its production is water vapour, researchers said. (Also read. Kepler space telescope: NASA announces discovery of 1,284 new planets outside solar system)