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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!

    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

    Bacteria Healing Cracks In Concrete

    We like to use this blog to share interesting stuff that we’ve discovered. So, let us introduce you to some very interesting bacteria…

    It’s a type of bacteria which feeds off water and other substances, and excretes a form of limestone. By incorporating these bacteria into concrete mix, scientists believe that they could create a concrete which heals itself when it cracks. The idea being that as cracks open up in concrete, the bacteria would become activated, and would quickly seal up the gaps with their natural limestone. This article has a lot more information about the bacteria.

    Cracks in concrete are unavoidable; it’s part of the nature of concrete to crack in certain places. A good pattern imprinted concrete driveway installation firm, like Complete Driveway Designs, know how to position crack control joints in order to minimise cracking. That’s one of the secrets of a high quality, long-lasting pattern imprinted concrete driveway.

    If there are cracks in your driveway, you’re best off contracting a firm who can patch or resurface your drive. Resurfacing is the ideal solution, as a patch will never exactly match the original colour of your pattern imprinted concrete driveway. However, patching is an option, depending on the position of the crack on your driveway.

    Complete Driveway Designs Ltd

    The Yard, Stubbins Lane, Ramsbottom, BL0 0PT
    E:info@northwest-driveways.co.uk
    T: 01706 827180

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