Beetlecrete – MPBWC
- story by MaterialDistrict
Mountain Pine Beetle Wood Concrete (MPBWC), formaly known as Beetlecrete, is a wood concrete composite, combining the characteristics. It is a blend of wood chips, cement and water. The result is a hybrid material that, like concrete, can be made into shapes using forms or molds. The concrete gives it moisture resistance so it won’t swell. It’s also fire resistant because of the cement matrix covering the wood chips, and it weighs half of ordinary concrete. Furthermore, Beetlecrete can be worked just like particle board, that can take a nail or screw without pre-drilling and can be cut with regular woodworking tools.
Sorin Pasca developed the material at UNBC (University of Northern British Columbia) which creates a use for the trees killed by the mountain pine beetle. Testing showed this dead wood was even better than with ‘fresh’ Lodgepole pine or other woods. “Weathering of these dead trees which stand in the forest for so many years possibly extracts or volatilize whatever inhibits cement. It’s almost like a mineralization process.”