A team of MIT undergraduate students has developed a new additive for producing stronger, more flexible, fortified concrete. By adding pulverized flakes of recycled plastic that have been exposed to gamma radiation to cement paste, the team has created a material that is up to 20 percent stronger than traditional concrete. This discovery could lead to more environmentally friendly material alternatives for construction. "There is a huge amount of plastic that is landfilled every year,” said MIT nuclear science and engineering assistant professor Michael Short in a press release. “Our technology takes plastic out of the landfill, locks it up in concrete, and also uses less cement to make the concrete, which makes fewer carbon dioxide emissions. This has the potential to pull plastic landfill waste out of the landfill and into buildings, where it could actually help to make them stronger.” [MIT]

In the new report “The Urban Bio-Loop,” global firm Arup proposes a paradigm for developing building materials by upcycling food waste. Rather than continuing to utilize current waste management systems such as landfill, incineration, and composting, the researchers propose isolating certain types of refuse for incorporation into various building products. [ARCHITECT]

Philadelphia-based architectural design, planning, and research firm KieranTimberlake and its affiliate KT Innovations plan to launch Roast, a digital survey app for architects to conduct post-occupancy evaluations. The firm expects the app will be ready for external beta-testing in the next two months. [ARCHITECT]

The U.K.'s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy is expected to greenlight the production of mini nuclear power plants designed and proposed by a Rolls Royce–led consortium of British companies, following a low-carbon power generation competition. [The Telegraph]

A team of engineering researchers from Michigan State University has developed a highly transparent solar material for a variety of applications, including windows, vehicles, and cell phones. Made from organic molecules, the "plastic-like" tiles can be "tuned" to absorb infrared and ultraviolet wavelengths of light and convert them into electricity. [ARCHITECT]