Concrete Cancer Cure
30 April 2012
Researchers at Northumbria University are developing 'self-healing' concrete and a repair mortar which can be used on existing buildings. Concrete cancer is caused by the swelling and breaking of concrete and is estimated to cost billions of pounds worth of damage to buildings.
We are sure you all remember the Hammersmith flyover being closed over Christmas and the consequences of the failure. This was a direct consequence of concrete-cancer. The costs are astronomical; not only to traffic diversions,but the costs of ensuring it was 'fit for purpose'.
The Northumbria research team are using a ground-borne bacteria - bacillus megaterium - to create calcite, a crystalline form of natural calcium carbonate. This can then be used to block the concrete's pores, keeping out water and other damaging substances to prolong the life of a building. The bacteria is grown on a nutrient broth of yeast, minerals and urea and is then added to the concrete. With its food source in the concrete, the bacteria breeds and spreads, acting as a filler to seal the cracks and prevent further deterioration.
The benefits of this new product are obvious to the buidling industry. It is great to see new innvovations coming along and we look forward to the future development of the products.