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Elon Musk Plans to Make Bricks

Monday, May 14, 2018

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Billionaire Elon Musk's Boring Company’s boring activities are slated to have an additional benefit—dredging up dirt to be used for bricks for lost-cost housing.  

A company spokesperson confirmed these plans with Bloomberg, noting that the material would come from “excavated muck,” and that there will be an “insane” number of bricks. (An actual total has not otherwise been specified.)

Brick by Boring Brick

Musk both plans to sell the bricks and use them to build future Boring Company offices. Paired with his focus on low-cost housing, Musk’s intentions are constructive, but according to Juan Matute, a lecturer at the University of California, Los Angeles, and associate director of UCLA's Institute of Transportation Studies, the billionaire assumes that housing costs are driven by construction materials, and that construction materials that can be replaced with bricks.

In short, neither of those things are the case.

Heisenberg Media, CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Billionaire Elon Musk's Boring Company’s boring activities are slated to have an additional benefit—dredging up dirt to be used for bricks for lost-cost housing.  

The cost of labor and land are among the primary forces that determine the cost of housing construction. Bricks also tend to be expensive and are not the most useful material in earthquake-prone areas such as California, which usually requires buttresses such as reinforced steel and rebar when brick is used.

Chemicals that have seeped into the ground under Los Angeles may also prove to be problematic for the Boring bricks—these same materials would show up again in the completed construction material.

Additionally, though, The Boring Company has noted that the dirt bricks may be used to replace concrete in some of its tunnel linings.

In parallel plans, Musk also announced in March that The Boring Company will sell "life-size LEGO-like interlocking bricks made from tunneling rock that you can use to create sculptures and buildings. Rated for California seismic loads, so super strong." These bricks would be strong but bored in the center, to make them both light and earthquake-proof. The first kit is rumored to be based around ancient Egypt.


Tagged categories: Bio-based materials; Brick; Good Technical Practice; Housing; North America

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