Idea #7: Stick It to the Pine Beetle

Idea #7: Stick It to the Pine Beetle
by: Rob Annandale

For those seeking an alternative to drywall in their home or wanting to protect their office from that clumsy intern who breaks all the flowerpots, Sorin Pasca may have just the thing.

A recent graduate of the University of Northern British Columbia, Pasca has come up with a way to make the most out of the province's mountain pine beetle infestation: concrete made from dead trees.

His tests show that pine concrete is far more water resistant than drywall or gypsum board, and because it can be moulded rather than pressed, Pasca says he can make just about anything with it. Plus, it looks a whole lot better than regular concrete.

"I'm not sure if people are willing to put concrete slabs into their homes," he said. "But in this case, you have half wood, half cement so it's a little bit friendlier."

Although mixing wood and cement is not a new idea -- people first started doing it in Europe decades ago -- cement tends to bind better with sand or gravel aggregate than organic material.

But Pasca says lodgepole pine is probably the best-suited species in North America, and specimens killed by the mountain pine beetle are better yet, probably because they've lost a lot of their sugars and resin.

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