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    Self Healing Concrete

    Avoiding Cracks with Self Healing Concrete

    Avoiding Cracks with Self Healing Concrete

    Another fascinating development in the quest to provide more eco-friendly concrete and other building materials – self-healing concrete is being hailed as the future answer to keeping pavements, structures – and perhaps one day our patios and pattern imprinted concrete driveways – in crack-free and in tip-top condition.

    Developed by Michelle Pelletier, a Masters student at America’s Rhode Island University, Pelletier has devised a concrete paint that helps it to ‘heal’ itself using bacteria containing a self-destruct code gene.

    At the same time, Newcastle university students have worked to create a new type of bacteria that acts as a glue on cracked concrete, effectively healing cracks and fissures, and reducing the need for rebuilds.

    The bacteria begins to germinate when it senses a change in the PH level of the concrete, automatically reproducing to fill the crack, until the bacteria begin to clump at the bottom of the fissure. At this point the cells change into three categories – calcium carbonate providers, filament acting cells that provide fibres to reinforce the concrete, and cells which produce a glue, to bind the materials together. Combined they harden within the crack to knit the structure back together.

    The bacteria’s self destruct gene prevents it from germinating in any place but a concrete structure, and the self-heal solution is being hailed as a way to reduce the need for replacing concrete buildings in the future, ultimately leading to significant benefits in carbon reduction.

    The students won prestigious science prizes for their work and now industry is looking at how their research can apply to everyday situations. Certainly it may be a while before those clever bacteria are burrowing their way into the designs of our pattern imprinted concrete driveways, to keep it in top-notch enduring condition, but it certainly marks an exciting development in the next wave of eco-friendly concrete materials.

    Image by Rik

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