Luminous concrete: illuminating materials

Background Information / Main Objective

José Carlos Rubio Ávalos, investigator from Mexican Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo(UMSNH), develops in 2016 this cement that is a sustainable light source, with 0 maintenance costs. In order to do so, he modified the microstructure of cement so that it allowed sunlight to be received in its interior and, at the same time, to let it be externalized.


The Project is inspired by common fluorescent plastics (as seen in toys, watches or other devices that shine, or “throw out” the light the receive in the dark once they have been loaded with a light source. When plastics are exposed to solar radiation, their polymeric chains, are cut by the UV rays due to their organic nature. Once the plastic object receives the sunlight, first it becomes rigid, then it cristalizes, and then it breaks.

That is the basis for this commercial concrete, which partially absorbs sunlight to then throw it back. It is made from rocks (inorganic materials), which make It a durable material.

This innovation can be vital and of great help in communities where electric light is scarce or non-existent, as well as in paths/roads/highways where installing luminaires is an issue. This system has already been implemented in Europe and Latin America.