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Our homes are pretty much built with wood, steel and concrete. But as years pass (or just months), cracks begin to appear on our concrete walls. We patch it up but in time, other cracks appear or the old ones become bigger.
Cracks on your concrete walls look downright ugly. It could also lead to a weakened house structural integrity. Even a dude like me don’t like cracks in my home.
It’s a chore to keep doing it every year or every time a crack appears but patching up concrete wall cracks may soon change. Researchers from Delft University of Technology have come up with self-healing concrete.
Sorry, you can’ t just put any kind of bacteria into it. They created the self-healing concrete by embedding calcite-precipitating bacteria in the concrete mixture.
The Delft researchers have found a form of bacteria that can survive the pH value of concrete.
When the self-healing concrete gets exposed to the elements, it will replicate calcites. This will fill in any gaps in the concrete.
“Currently, our research focuses on creating the right conditions for the bacteria to produce as much calcite as possible and on optimizing the distribution of food for the bacteria. In addition, we are also looking at the self-healing ability of bacterial concrete and how this is affected by the various deterioration mechanisms involved, such as sulfate attacks or temperature fluctuations. All of our research is done at the TU Delft’s Microlab, where fracture testing equipment as well as numerical tools for structure information and fracture modeling are available.”
This is a fine example of Biotechnology used for buildings and reinforcement.
While it’s still in development, we could see self-healing concrete within our lifetime. Perhaps in a few years. This and Smart Dust which we featured here as well, will be the future of Smart Homes.
For more information on this new Smart Home development, click here.