A team of researchers from the Michoacan University of San Nicolás de Hidalgo in Mexico has designed a new type of cement that might be able to keep cities safer and cleaner thanks to phosphorescence. Without electricity, the new cement would provide a type of low lighting.
The team added certain things to the cement and modified its optical properties in order to make glow - kind of like those stars that we all used to have attached to our ceilings.
Phosphorescent materials absorb energy from radiation and then emit it as a light, which can be seen once it gets dark.
The hope is that once people see how it lights up the area, crime rates will start to drop and people will feel safer walking around.
Carmen Andrade who works at the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) Institute of Building Sciences in Madrid said, “It’s an application that can be worth developing in countries and areas with poor access to electricity in communities with poor life levels, as it doesn’t consume electricity
Scientific American outlines how the process works:
"By using additives, scientists are able to prevent the formation of crystals that occur normally during the production of cement, creating a material with a noncrystalline structure - similar to glass - that allows passage of light inside. Varying the proportion of additives added while manufacturing the cement regulates both its luminescent intensity and color."
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The team believes that the cement will be able to absorb enough energy during the day, even when it is cloudy, to stay illuminated for up to 12 hours. They are still working out ways to fix the cement should it be damaged.