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Abstract

There is a global need for more sustainable and environmentally friendly construction materials. The large, stable mounds that termites build for their homes are inspirational! Termite mounds form when the termites mix soil with their saliva. This mixture contains simple sugars that act like glue and give it stability. Cassava is a starchy root vegetable that also contains simple sugars. To mimic termite mounds, we mixed soil with hot paste made from cassava flour. Then, we made bricks containing different amounts of cassava flour paste, from 0% to 6%. We tested the physical properties of these different bricks. Our aim was to see how suitable they would be in building construction. Bricks made with 1.5% cassava flour paste performed best in tests of strength, durability, shrinkage, and water absorption. They were even better than traditional clay bricks with no cassava flour! Our termite mound-inspired bricks provide an inexpensive, accessible, and safe alternative to current building materials.

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