Bricks Made With the Blood of Slaughtered Cattle

Bricks made from cow blood These bricks are made of cow blood mixed with sand and antibacterial preservatives. Image: Jack Munro, University of Westminster

Bricks made with the blood of slaughtered cattle provide a sanguine outlook for a wasted resource.

If the idea of wasting natural resources gets your blood boiling, we’ve got a building material that’s in just the right vein.

London architect Jack Munro has developed a low-cost brick made with discarded animal blood.

Munro’s experimental process combines the blood of slaughtered cattle with sand and antifungal, antibacterial preservatives. The mixture is poured into a mold and baked at moderate temperatures until it hardens.

But why, you ask?

First, the process takes advantage of blood’s natural coagulating properties, producing a tightly bonded brick that’s impervious to moisture.

More importantly for Munro, the experiment makes use of a plentiful material that’s otherwise going to waste.

“Animal blood is one of the most prolific waste materials in the world,” says Munro. “The blood drained from animal carcasses is generally thrown away or incinerated despite being a potentially useful product.” He estimates that a single head of cattle produces about 8 gallons of blood, enough for dozens of bricks.

Munro sees blood bricks being used in remote arid regions, such as northern Africa, where wood and other natural building materials are scarce and cheap solar ovens could be built to bake the bricks.

While it’s a bloody good idea, it’s still in experimental phases. Compression tests show that the bricks, although incredibly tough, still lack the reliable strength needed to build usable structures.

And if the idea of living in a house made with blood bricks makes you squeamish, remember that animal byproducts have been used as building materials, such as glue and plaster, for centuries.

How about you? Would you live in a house made with blood bricks?