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    Self-Repairing Concrete


    Concrete Mixed With Bacterial Spores

    Imagine if your pattern imprinted concrete driveway never needed maintenance, and any weathering, cracks and other damage would heal by itself. It sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but Dutch scientists are nearly ready to begin tests that could make it a reality.

    Microbiologist Henk Jonkers and concrete technologist Eric Schlangen have been working at Delft Technical University in The Netherlands to engineer the new type of concrete. “In the lab we have been able to show healing of cracks with a width of 0.5mm. Now we are upscaling”, explained Dr Jonkers. They are currently trying to reduce the considerable cost of the process, but they believe that they can do this and be ready to begin testing in around 6 months, with a view to commercialising it in 2-3 years.

    The process works by mixing bacterial spores and the nutrients they feed on into the concrete. When the spores come into contact with water, they begin to feed on the nutrients and produce limestone, which begins to fill the cracks through which the water got in.

    Concrete is the most popular building material in the world, and if the lifespan of it can be significantly extended it should lead to reduced costs and better structures for everyone. If it can be incorporated into pattern imprinted concrete, then we should see significant savings on maintenance in the future.

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