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Artificial Reefs and coral

Create structures that naturally blend into the habitat and help recover or protect coastal reefs.

Photo of Angel Landeros
21 25

Written by

Grind particulate is colorful and durable, just like coral.  It can be molded into any variety of shaped or added as a filler to existing materials being used to build artificial reefs to add more surface area on which marine life can attach itself and grow.

Nike grind particulate could provide the right size article to create nooks and crannies along the artificial reef's surface to attract new dwellers.  Its flexibility would lend itself to adapt designs to the specific area and purpose it would be used for.  As it does not have heavy metals or other substances that would be a risk of leaking or corroding, the structures would provide a stable and sturdy foundation for new marine life.  

Which Nike Grind materials will your idea utilize?

  • Rubber Outsoles
  • Rubber Flashings
  • Rubber Granulate

How specifically will these materials be incorporated into your solution?

By adding grind materials to the current artificial reef manufacturing process, the structures can be made lighter, and increase the surface area for microorganisms and sub-aquatic life to latch on.

Please include a visual (can be either 2D or 3D) representation/prototype of your concept. (required)

Small and cheap reef prototypes can be made and tested in aquariums. Resistance to strong currents, salt water, and suitability to attract, grow and sustain marine life.

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Research & Early Testing

Describe your target market. Who will benefit from your product?

New and existing marine wildlife preservation groups looking for new options and resources.

How will you scale your idea? Please describe in detail your plan to scale your concept.

With the increased attention and urgency to save our marine life, having the support from Nike could help in developing some web videos of how Nike Grind goes from rubbish to forming part of the foundation of new reefs that help marine life around the world prosper. There could be some concern about how resistant the rubber grind material would be to underwater conditions and how well it will work. By doing initial small scale prototypes the right reef design and % of addition can be polished before scaling up

How is your idea innovative?

Just re purposing existing process to use rubber as filler for concrete in a different use.

What inspired this idea?

The colorful pictures of Nike Grind rubber reminded me of coral reefs

Tell us about yourself and your team. What is your background and experience?

I am a chemical engineer with experience in general industrial manufacturing processes

In what city are you located?

Cincinnati

In what country are you located?

USA

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea will support the growth of your concept.

It would help get people with more experience, design background and common beliefs involved and connected to improve the idea

21 comments

Join the conversation:

Comment
Photo of Steve
Team

Hi Angel,
The density of the available grind material is the obvious challenge here, as some of it will be less dense than water. However, the fibres could be a good reinforcing medium, and also add low cost interesting texture to the surface of the concrete
Reefballs and similar structures have to be heavy enough to avoid being moved around by storm waves

Photo of Dahalia Jackson
Team

This is an interesting and terrific idea. Best wishes and I look forward to learning more.

Photo of ilona
Team

You all should see the documentary Plastic Ocean -it is heart braking, and a serious problem.

Photo of Cristobal Hildebrandt
Team

Hi Angel Landeros 
with the problems related to micro plastics in water (from bottled one to the open sea), would you expect some rejection of using "similar" materials as the base for underwater structures? In other words, which binder could you use that could prevent the release of rubber particles into the ocean (without other side effects, of course) that could also endure the mechanical, chemical and bioogical stress of their environment?

Photo of Angel Landeros
Team

There will surely be some push back, as with everything related with plastic. I cannot say the validity of this concern until bench tests are performed to understand their resistance to marine environments

Photo of José Pedro Correia
Team

Hello Angel,
I saw your project and I was thinking about the possible consequence of the use of grinds mixed with concrete in salt water.

Concrete has, at best ipoteses, a durability of 10/100 years depending on the mixture (chemical) used. When in contact with salty water, the durability should come down steeply.
- https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/19373260.2010.521048

However rubber and other plastics may take 20/1000 years to decompose.
*one reminder, most of the rubber used in the manufacture of soles is not natural but rather synthetic, so it uses above average chemicals

In the short term, I believe it works and is feasible once the corals disappear with each passing day, but in the long term I foresee a series of particles and pieces of these grinding beings dragged by the current serving as food for marine life.

Do not be discouraged, test, have proof that I'm wrong. I really want to follow your project. Good luck.

Photo of Angel Landeros
Team

Thanks, that is a challenge that needs to be tested at bench scale. I would hope that these structures work as foundation for new coral and marine life to latch onto and grow so the rubber and the concrete would be affixed this way.

I appreciate you taking the time to provide your perspective and suggestions!

Photo of Rachel Alexandra
Team

I love your idea the best and I hope this could really work out. Have you tested the safety with the bench scale tests and prototypes? Would it be beneficial to expand your ideas to aquariums, as well?

Photo of Angel Landeros
Team

Rachel Alexandra I would definitely need to do prototyping and test with different water salinity, temperature, currents, and UV exposure to better understand how the rubber will withstand or degrade to avoid making a bigger problem out of a solution.
I really like your idea of aquariums as it could be a first step to see its performance in a controlled and supervised environment where it can be easy to remove, and improve if necessary

Photo of Ira Kassiel
Team

This is a really fascinating idea! I'm not sure I've ever hear of something similar, but I think that this could really make a positive change to our oceans!

Photo of Angel Landeros
Team

Thanks Ira. There will need to be a lot of testing, but I think it could be an option

Photo of Hamish Johnson
Team

Pretty cool, but two big questions:
Is the Nike grind material non-toxic to aquatic life?
Does the material present a danger of contaminating fish as human food?

If yes, I guess the question is whether the benefits of having more permanent coral structures outweighs these issues.

Photo of Angel Landeros
Team

This type of rubber should be inert to fish and aquatic life. This can be proven and tested pretty quickly with bench scale tests and prototypes.

Photo of Lauren Ito
Team

Really key question Hamish Johnson ! What would the prototyping of that process look like, Angel Landeros ? What expertise would be required to effectively test it?

Photo of Lauren Ito
Team

Hi Angel Landeros ,

Great to see you in the Challenge! I'm curious about your concept to use rubber as filler for concrete. Can you describe your process to prototype this and ensure the structural integrity of concrete is maintained?

Two resources that you may find helpful are Find Circular Opportunities (https://www.circulardesignguide.com/post/circular-interventions) and Circular Brainstorming (https://www.circulardesignguide.com/post/brainstorm-circular-solutions). Excited to learn more!

Photo of Angel Landeros
Team

Hi Lauren. To prototype this I would make small scale models, place them in a salt water tank with a connection to a recirculating pump creating a strong current that would hit the composite surface of the prototype to understand how it would erode.
There's some literature on tests done to determine the best ratio to add rubber to concrete to maximize the benefit of provided by each: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2215098616302713

Photo of Lauren Ito
Team

Hi Angel Landeros ,

Interesting! I'm wondering if you have considered applications of the structures beyond coral reef protection?

Photo of Angel Landeros
Team

Yes! Rubber and foam grind material could be used as concrete filler for any non-structural use of concrete and cement if it can be ground to a small enough particle.

Photo of Laura Stucki
Team

Hi Angel,
I really like your idea and would be happy to help you develop it further. Check my OpenIDEO profile and tell me what you think.
Kindly, Laura

Photo of Angel Landeros
Team

Laura, I would love to have your help evolve this idea. Please feel free to share your feedback and thought on how we could make it even better.

Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard
Team

Interesting idea Angel! It's an interesting mix between circular design and biomimicry. I like how you are also trying to address an important issue using Nike Grind. I wonder if you could also look at what people design for fish tanks and aquariums (in terms of materials). It would also be interesting to contact organizations working with marine life in order to get their inputs. Looking forward to seeing your idea evolve?