The demand for concrete in the construction industry has nearly doubled from 2002-2012, but even though the versatile building material is in high demand, there is one considerable fault: it cracks. In this SmartBidNet Tech find we’ll take a look at how this building material is evolving to meet the demands of the construction industry through inflatable concrete.
When a concrete structure cracks, water seeps into its crevices and corrodes the steel reinforcements holding up the structure. Once the corrosion is bad enough, the structure can collapse. Imagine a crumbling concrete building or bridge that is able to patch itself back up without any help from human hands. Professor Henk Jonkers at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands has created a way to make this happen and give concrete a longer life.
“To do that, he and his team used calcium lactate, a crystalline salt used as an ingredient in baking powder. They then placed the bacteria and the calcium lactate into biodegradable capsules that went into the wet concrete mix.”
The capsules containing the bacteria, once penetrated by water, open and release the bacteria to germinate, multiply and feed on the lactate. The bacteria also combines with the calcium to form calcite, or limestone, and closes up the cracks.
This concept of self-healing concrete is still a thing of the future for commercial and residential buildings due to the production cost. However, this concrete is currently being looked at for use in building underground containers for hazardous waste. As this technology continues to develop in the future, the self-healing concrete could make a huge impact on the construction industry, as well as the environment.