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    Self-healing concrete: sci-fi or possibility?

    Cracked concrete, a thing of the past?

    Cracked concrete, a thing of the past?

    Latest research suggests that cracked buildings and pavements could eventually become an eyesore of the past. A team of scientists at Northumbria University are working on a new ‘self-healing’ concrete which prevents ‘concrete cancer’. This phenomenon causes thousands of pounds of building damage every year, and shows itself in unsightly swelling and breakages, which damage the integrity of the structure over time and can become dangerous.

    So how does this new concrete work? Well, the team have used a ground-borne bacterium to manufacture calcite, which is a crystalline form of calcium carbonate. Calcite can be used to ‘block’ concrete pores, which keeps water and other problem substances out of the concrete’s structure. This prevents structural damage and visible signs of bulging and cracking.

    The team and industry observers are certainly hugely excited about the potential of the project, and the vision of creating buildings in the future that can look after themselves. Certainly, if the product developed to a commercial reality, the implications for future building work – both in homes, and for industry, would be immense. Could future pattern imprinted concrete driveways last even longer than 20 years? Could this new form of concrete become popular as a home construction material? We await further news with great interest!

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