Still too expensive for mainstream industry, but an innovation to be watched!
Dutch scientists at Delft University of Technology have designed a new type of “self-healing” concrete. Limestone-producing bacteria allow this bio-concrete to seal itself when cracks appear. Developer Henk Jonkers incorporates capsules of the bacteria, as well as calcium lactate, in the concrete. When cracks occur, the exposure to air and moisture causes the bacteria to consume the calcium lactate, converting it to calcite, which seals the cracks. The bacteria can lay dormant in the concrete for up to 200 years.
It’s common for tiny cracks to develop in concrete as early as the building stage, leading to minor leakage which can impact a building’s stability in the long run. Concrete is the most common material used in construction, and the concrete industry is estimated to be responsible for up to 10% of all carbon emissions. By helping buildings last longer, Jonkers’ self-healing concrete could reduce these emissions.
Unfortunately, the bio-concrete is expensive—about $33-$44 per square meter. Jonkers is currently working on developing a cheaper version containing sugar.https://impactdesignhub.org/2016/03/23/self-healing-concrete-yes-it-exists/?utm_campaign=coschedule&utm_source=facebook_page&utm_medium=Impact%20Design%20Hub&utm_content=Self-Healing%20Concrete%3F%20Yes,%20It%20Exists#