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New ‘living’ concrete can repair itself when damaged

Construction industries are seeing technological advances every day as the industry becomes more and more state of the art. One industry that has seen extremely innovative new technologies of late is that of the concreting industry, as it has come to light that there is now a ‘living’ concrete that can repair itself when damaged.

Concrete, though an extremely common and popular material for use in a variety of building projects (take a look at how concrete works), is – like any material – susceptible to cracks and breakages. However, with the invention of bioconcrete, concrete with cracks and breakages will successfully ‘heal’ itself using bacteria.


Why is it important?

The reason this innovation is proving so useful in the construction industry is due to the fact that cracked concrete leads to leakages, which can cause irreversible structural damage. Even without the impact of moisture and damp, cracks in the concrete can grow over time due to high pressure being placed upon the material causing downward or sideways forces, which in turn can cause the eventual collapse of all manner of structures.

By creating this self-healing ‘version’ of this popular material, construction workers are able to work on projects with the assurance that their hard work will not go to waste after a few years have past. As well as this, those having concreting work on their project can be safe in the knowledge that their new structures are of a high quality and are durable and long-lasting in nature.

What is the science behind it?

This material sounds too good to be true, and though it does exist it is not without mind-blowingly clever scientific insight. The bioconcrete is regular concrete, at its core, which simply harbours an extra ingredient. This ingredient – the concrete’s ‘healing agent’ – allows the material to remain intact during mixing, only dissolving and further becoming active should the concrete crack, allowing water in.

Its creator, microbiologist Jonkers, began working on the material in 2006. From this point, it took him a total of three years to solve the problem; three years which were not without serious toil. The central difficulty encountered by the scientist was that in order for the mixture to be made, bacteria was required for this self-healing process, but harbouring bacteria within concrete is extremely difficult on account of the material’s rock-like, dry environment.

The food source that was chosen for the job of being set into capsules with the bacteria was calcium lactate. When cracks form in the concrete, the capsules open allowing water to enter them which in turn causes the bacteria to germinate, multiply and then feed on the lactate. By doing so, the calcium and carbonate ions form limestone which closes the cracks in the concrete, thus completing the self-healing process.

Here at Concrete Drilling Services Ltd, we recognise the importance of high-quality, long-lasting concrete. Serving customers throughout the areas of Bolton, Manchester and Liverpool, we have years of experience providing high-quality concreting services to projects of all sizes. For more information on anything we do, or to arrange for our concrete drilling or cutting service at your project, get in touch with our friendly team of professionals today – we’re happy to help with any enquiry.