BIOROCK, 2011-2014 (images)
Metal and limestone coral installation, Indonesia
Overall height approx. 3 m, width 5 m, length 10 m
Public collection of Pemuteran Community
From a A/C to D/C converter there extends two power cables (one + and another -) that are then buried in the beach for protection and taken out to the nearby reef. The negative cable makes its way to a electrically conductive frame, usually made from readily available construction grade rebar or wire mesh, that has been welded together, submerged and anchored on the bottom. The positive cable travels about the same distance and then attaches itself to an anode about 2 to 5 meters from the metal frame. An anode is a positively charged electrode by which electrons leave an electrical device. A cathode is the negatively charged electrode by which electrons enter an electrical device. These plus and minuses are the same that you would see on a battery. Batteries turn chemical energy into electric energy by isolating two different metals and reacting them to cause a flow of electrons. The metal in the anode oxidizes, freeing electrons for energy. The metal of the cathode reduces, receiving the electrons to complete the circuit. Electrons traveling through the circuit provide energy to power the electronic device. This is similar to what I am doing here but you just take out the battery and replace it with saltwater and iron rebar. The electrons travel through the water and create this ionic field which initiates an electrolytic reaction causing mineral crystals naturally dissolved in seawater, mainly calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide, to grow on the structure
The whole point of using this technology is because if you want to make artificial reefs you would need a structure for them to grow on. Metal would be great, it’s strong and durable but not in seawater. Bit by bit it will be eaten away the same way your car is from road salt after a long northern winter. So by doing this you end up creating this protective limestone shield around the metal which in essence will never deteriorate. You are artificially building a rock that in the end if grown slowly will be stronger than concrete. This is cool enough in itself but when coral is introduced into the equation by attachment it begins to grow five times faster and the threshold of temperature it can withstand is increased enough to protect it against bleaching.