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SELF HEALING CONCRETE ON ITS WAY

02-11-2015
by 
in 

A new self-healing concrete is being is trialled in Wales t see if the concrete is an option for roads, towns and cities.

In the trials, three different types of technology are being tested as part of the Materials For Life project.

The materials that are to be used would be embedded into the concrete as it was made, and they'd be able to detect and fix issues without much human interference.

Representatives from industry experts, Costain, are working with academics from several UK universities. The test will see six concrete walls cracked and broken as necessary before the self-healing technologies are left to do their work.

The first technique utilise shape-memory polymers – which are special materials that can transform their shape when heated to return to its predetermined state.

The second uses a network of thin tunnels in the concrete to pump through both organic and inorganic healing agents.

And the third involves tiny capsules of bacteria and the healing agents embedded inside the concrete: the capsules produce calcium carbonate, which should theoretically be able to close up cracks.

At the time being those are the three possible plans that will be put to the test to see the materials in action.

 It's estimated that around US 61 billion is spent in the UK annually on structure maintenance, and the majority of these structures are made of concrete.

"Our vision is to create sustainable and resilient systems that continually monitor, regulate, adapt and repair themselves without the need for human intervention," said engineer Bob Lark from the University of Cardiff.

 "These self-healing materials and intelligent structures will significantly enhance durability, improve safety and reduce the extremely high maintenance costs that are spent each year. This major trial, the first of its kind in the UK, will provide us with important insights to help transfer the technologies from the lab into real-world settings."

 

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