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  1. #1
    Utopian Expat Chittychangchang's Avatar
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    Sticky rice mortar

    Scientists have discovered the secret behind an ancient Chinese super-strong mortar made from sticky rice, the delicious “sweet rice” that is a modern mainstay in Asian dishes. They also concluded that the mortar ― a paste used to bind and fill gaps between bricks, stone blocks and other construction materials ― remains the best available material for restoring ancient buildings. Their article appears in the American Chemical Society (ACS) monthly journal, Accounts of Chemical Research.



    Bingjian Zhang, Ph.D., and colleagues note that construction workers in ancient China developed sticky rice mortar about 1,500 years ago by mixing sticky rice soup with the standard mortar ingredient. That ingredient is slaked lime, limestone that has been calcined, or heated to a high temperature, and then exposed to water. Sticky rice mortar probably was the world’s first composite mortar, made with both organic and inorganic materials.


    The mortar was stronger and more resistant to water than pure lime mortar, and what Zhang termed one of the greatest technological innovations of the time. Builders used the material to construct important buildings like tombs, pagodas, and city walls, some of which still exist today. Some of the structures were strong enough to shrug off the effects of modern bulldozers and powerful earthquakes.

    Their research identified amylopectin, a type of polysaccharide, or complex carbohydrate, found in rice and other starchy foods, as the “secret ingredient” that appears to be responsible for the mortar’s legendary strength.

    “Analytical study shows that the ancient masonry mortar is a kind of special organic-inorganic composite material,” the scientists explained. ”The inorganic component is calcium carbonate, and the organic component is amylopectin, which comes from the sticky rice soup added to the mortar. Moreover, we found that amylopectin in the mortar acted as an inhibitor: The growth of the calcium carbonate crystal was controlled, and a compact microstructure was produced, which should be the cause of the good performance of this kind of organic-organic mortar.”

    To determine whether sticky rice can aid in building repair, the scientists prepared lime mortars with varying amounts of sticky rice and tested their performance compared to traditional lime mortar.



    “The test results of the modeling mortars shows that sticky rice-lime mortar has more stable physical properties, has greater mechanical strength, and is more compatible, which make it a suitable restoration mortar for ancient masonry,” the article notes.

    https://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/p...ce-mortar.html

  2. #2
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    runker's Avatar
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    that is so cool,

  3. #3
    Utopian Expat Chittychangchang's Avatar
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    There was a rumour that the white mortar was the ground up bones of the thousands of dead construction slaves.

    The sticky rice provides a flexibility to withstand earthquakes making the wall extra strong.

    Wonder if anyone has used this method in Thailand?
    Probably would eat it before it set

  4. #4
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    Since when was sticky rice "sweet"? It can be but sweetness is hardly the default. Also, "modern" mainstay?

  5. #5
    Love Thailand Carnwadrick's Avatar
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    Now we know the cause of constipation that many Thais suffer from

  6. #6
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    I've been waiting for this. Many years ago I read about an ancient wall in Taiwan that has endured the ravages of time, and it was suspected that sticky rice was an ingredient to the mortar but the recipe for the mortar eluded scientists.

    This is great.
    I wonder if it signals a need to invest in khao niao?

  7. #7
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    Loy Toy's Avatar
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    I have always respected your posts and contributions Chitty.

    If I wake up in the morning with constipation and the great wall of Pattaya I will need to blame somebody.

    But promise it will not be you!

    Keep up the good work mate,

  8. #8
    disturbance in the Turnip baldrick's Avatar
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    Manda Fort at foul pointe was built with egg whites as a mortar












    The ruins of this 19th-century Merina fort, built for Radama I, are about 500m north of Foulpointe. Its walls, which are 8m high and 6m thick in places, are made from coral, sand and eggs.

  9. #9
    Thailand Expat

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    That's a hell of a lot of eggs!
    That's a hell of a lot of left over yolks!

  10. #10
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    ^the outer walls and inner buildings of Anping Fort (Fort Zeelandia) and Chihkan Tower in Tainan city, plus other old forts/buildings in Taiwan, were made of cement consisting of sticky rice, sugared water & crushed oyster shells. I think I mentioned it in my Taiwan thread.

    @baldrick - thnx for the pix, assuming they are yours...

  11. #11
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    Also in Europe is alleged that the mortar at some stone bridges (14th cent.?) was enhanced by eggs.

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