Bacteria used to self-heal concrete

Concrete is one of the most remarkable building materials of the modern age. It’s pourable into an incredible number of shapes, sets like stone, and when combined with iron rebars is immensely strong. Unfortunately, it is much more vulnerable than people think. 

The problem is that concrete, and especially reinforced concrete, is highly vulnerable to water. If it cracks, it can let water into the interior and that’s where the trouble starts. The key is to not let water get into the concrete, and the way to do that is to prevent it from cracking. Cracks can still occur for any number of reasons, however, so in wet climates concrete needs constant maintenance. To cut down on this, researchers are finding ways to use bacteria to heal it.

The goal is to create a concrete mix that contains bacteria in microcapsules that will germinate if water enters through a crack. The bacteria will multiply, producing limestone as they go, sealing the crack before the water can do any harm. Including bacteria in concrete offers a double layer of protection in preventing steel corrosion. Not only do the bacteria work to plug cracks in the concrete, the process of doing so uses oxygen present which would otherwise be involved in the corrosion process of the steel bars.”

Source: gizmag.comAdded: 20 June 2013