Termite mounds reveal secret to creating ‘living and breathing’ buildings that use less energy

Part of the egress complex of a mound of Macrotermes michaelseni termites from Namibia. Credit: D. Andréen

Among the approximately 2,000 known species of termites, some are ecosystem engineers. The mounds built by some genera—for example Amitermes, Macrotermes, Nasutitermes, and Odontotermes—reach up to eight meters high, making them some of the world’s largest biological structures. Natural selection has been at work improving the ‘design’ of their mounds over tens of millions of years. What might human architects and engineers learn if they go to the termites and consider their ways?

In a new study in Frontiers in Materials, researchers …

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