Concrete has existed for more than 2,000 years and yet it has been one of the most used materials. In the early 1300 BC, builders realized that when they coated the outsides of their pounded-clay fortresses and home walls with a thin, damp coating of burned limestone, it would react chemically with gases in the air to form a hard layer, causing it to become a protective surface.
Is there a downside to using concrete so much and for so long? Yes, concrete is an easy target for cracks to form that can compromise the entire structure of a building. If cracks are not stopped in time and filled while they're small, it can lead to catastrophic damages.
These small damages can develop into worse scenarios likes cracks in roads, cracks in bridges, etc. Over time they can lead to big damages, even hurting loved ones around you. For example, some of these cracks on the road could end up leading to big potholes, which may lead to doing some damage to your vehicle or even causing an accident.
But have you ever heard of self-healing concrete that can prevent that?
A professor at Delft University of Technology has found a solution to stop this cracking from continuing by experimenting and looked at concrete from a different perspective. He came up with self-healing concrete. This took about 3 years for Professor Henk Jonkers to perfect.
Unlike regular concrete, which is made from a mixture of rocks, paste, and water, self-healing concrete has a special ingredient that helps this be possible: bacteria.
How is this possible you may ask?
Bacillus is found mainly in soil and water which has the ability to make enzymes. Bacillus helps a process called carbonation that takes place when the calcium bearing phases present in concrete which are attacked by carbon dioxide of the atmosphere in the presence of moisture and are turned into calcium carbonate.
Of course, just like everything, there is both pros and cons to this concrete. Some of the advantages are the following:
1: It was mainly created to last many years but so far, it can last up to 2 centuries or maybe even more. This means that you will not have to worry about any cracks or about having to fill and seal.
2: In the long run, this will help you save money in your pocket.
3: Upgraded strength in concrete.