Researchers add bacteria to concrete to give it self-healing capabilities

Even after being the world’s most used building material which is known for its robustness and durability, concrete has its share of drawbacks too. Apart from not being an entirely eco friendly building material, concrete is also susceptible to tension and the expansion and contraction that is goes through with changing seasons. This tension causes concrete to crack, leaving the steel reinforcement inside under heavy risk. Researchers at Delft University of Technology have now come up with a way to make concrete self-healing so that it can repair all cracks with no human intervention.

The research team here has added harmless bacteria, called Bacillus Genus, to concrete, which remains dormant inside it until water enters through the cracks. Along with bacteria, the research team also added nutrients which the bacteria feed on. Once water enters through any cracks, the bacteria spring into action and use the nutrient (calcium lactate) to form calcite, one of the primary components of limestone, which fills in the cracks.

During tests, the researchers found the bacteria to fill cracks up to 0.5 millimeters wide. Now the team is upscaling and trying to produce the healing agent in huge quantities. Moreover, they’ll also be testing the new blend in a variety of environmental conditions and concrete types, before rolling out the product on the market.

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