An experimental concrete that repairs itself when cracking is undergoing tests, according to the BBC. This is the most widely used building material in the world, but the action of water and chemicals tends to corrode it over time.
The material is being tested at the Technical University of Delft (Netherlands) and uses bacteria to “heal” the cracks. The spores of the bacteria – added to the concrete formula – are stopped until they are hit by rainwater. When it comes into contact with water, it produces limestone that will repair cracks.
“We saw in the laboratory the repair of cracks of 0.5 mm wide”, explains microbiologist Henk Jonkers, author of the project.
If the idea works, Jonkers hopes to commercialize the product in two or three years, after external tests and in different types of concrete. The main challenge is to ensure that the “curing” agent is strong enough to survive the concrete mixing process. . For that, I need to apply a covering to the particles – something that makes the process more expensive.
Even if the agent increases the cost of concrete by 50%, it still represents only 1% to 2% of the total construction costs. Maintenance of deteriorated concrete would cost more, according to Jonkers.