A Mexican Scientist Says He Figured Out How To Make Glow-In-The Dark Highways

Imagine this, but in blue-green. Photo Credit: Philip Lange/Shutterstock
Imagine this, but in blue-green. Photo Credit: Philip Lange/Shutterstock

It’s not cheap, and it wasn’t easy to make, but scientist Dr. José Carlos Rubio has reportedly figured out how to make cement that glows in the dark. This could conceivably be the highway of our future.

It took Dr. Rubio nine years, but last week he made the news for developing a new way to alter the micro-structure of cement to allow it to have phosphorescence. It glows kind of blue-green, as this image Dr. Rubio provided to Fusion shows.

Photo Credit: Jose Carlos Rubio
Photo Credit: Jose Carlos Rubio

The new cement absorbs light in the day, and emits it back out at night. Dr. Rubio described how it all works to Investigación y Desarrollo:

“The main issue was that cement is an opaque body that doesn’t allow the pass of light to its interior”, pointed Dr. Rubio.

He explained that common cement is a dust that when it’s added to water, it dissolves as an effervescent pill. “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”

Because of this, the researcher focused on modifying the micro-structure of the cement in order to eliminate crystals and make it completely gel, helping it to absorb solar energy and then return it to the environment as light.

The big problem is, of course, cost. Curbed notes that Rubio’s glowing gel concrete is more than three times as expensive as ordinary concrete.

Rubio, however, is optimistic, and says that he has patented his work and received recognition from Royal Engineering Academy of London. I personally don’t care how expensive any of this costs. No price is too high for a highway that glows in the dark.


Raphael Orlove is features editor for Jalopnik.

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