Sticky rice – you could build houses with it!

Posted by jerry on March 1st, 2005 — Posted in History, Journal, Technology, Travel

What an amazing find! Apparently some archeologists became curious at the longevity of China’s ancient walls – especially as the country is somewhat prone to earthquakes. It seems that the answer lay in the glutinous starch in rice porridge which was added to the mortar according to a report by Xinhua news agency. During recent maintenance work on the city wall of the Shaanxi provincial capital Xi’an in the north-west of mainland China, workers found that plaster remnants on ancient bricks were quite hard to remove… and tests showed the mortar reacted to reagents consistent with the reaction of rice, and the molecular structure was consistent with the presence of rice starch. At the molecular level, sticky rice displays good adhesion and flexibility due to the length and quantity of molecular filaments – the very thing that makes rice (and rice glue) sticky.


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