Concrete has a high compressive strength and a low tensile strength, which is why it is used commonly for construction and infrastructure. The issue with concrete is that once it cracks, it becomes unstable, and the cracks can spread if not taken care of quickly. There are methods of repairing it can become expensive and it’s more often than not a temporary fix. There are also environmental factors that make concrete inefficient or unusable. A possible solution to these issues is the increased use of self-healing concrete. This type of concrete has a different makeup than that of regular concrete, utilizing bacteria that can survive in high alkaline environments to fill in and repair cracks that occur in concrete, quickly and effectively. The testing procedure of this includes the intentional cracking of concrete and allowing it to heal itself. The tests are to see if the compressive strength is either preserved or improved as a result of the healing.
The results from various tests and research show that there is little to no difference in the performance of concrete that has healed itself than that of regular un-cracked concrete. The bacteria work quickly and effectively, producing a substance that has the qualities of concrete and completely filling in the cracks. This self-healing factor is time and cost efficient, where it would initially cost more than regular cement, but due to it not requiring as much maintenance or replacements, makes this a more sustainable and cost efficient alternative to regular concrete.
Dr. Rui Liu
The main focus of the research is self-healing concrete, which is a material that once damaged is able to repair itself. Through trial and research of self-healing concrete, the point of research is to expand on the many methods that concrete can be considered self-healing, how sustainable it is compared to regular concrete, and then the possible applications to construction that it can provide.