Cultivating a cure for concrete cancer

May 01, 2012

'Self-healing' concrete is being developed by researchers at Northumbria University which could see cracks in concrete buildings become a thing of the past.

Dr Alan Richardson, a Senior Lecturer in Construction in the School of the Built and Natural Environment, is using a ground-borne bacteria – bacilli 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 the concrete.

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 breeds and spreads, acting as a filler to seal the and prevent further deterioration.

It is hoped the research could lead to a cost-effective cure for ‘concrete cancer’ and has enormous commercial potential.

While further research is needed, Dr Richardson is hopeful that the repair mortar will also be effective on existing structures.

So-called ‘concrete cancer’ may be caused by the swelling and breaking of and is estimated to cost billions of pounds worth of damage to buildings.

Dr Richardson said: “This project is hugely exciting. The potential is there to have a building that can look after itself.”

Explore further: A spray-on light show on four wheels: Darkside Scientific

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Concrete answers needed for climate change effects

Mar 23, 2011

Understanding how climate change could impact on the deterioration of the basic building block of much of Australia's infrastructure – concrete – is crucial to ensuring major assets such as roads, ...

'BacillaFilla' for concrete cracks

Nov 12, 2010

A bacteria that can knit together cracks in concrete structures by producing a special 'glue' has been developed by a team of students at Newcastle University.

How Solid Is Concrete's Carbon Footprint?

May 18, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Many scientists currently think at least 5 percent of humanity's carbon footprint comes from the concrete industry, both from energy use and the carbon dioxide (CO2) byproduct from the produc ...

Recommended for you

A spray-on light show on four wheels: Darkside Scientific

Sep 14, 2014

Darkside Scientific recently drew a lot of gazes its way in its video release of a car treated to the company's electroluminescent paint called LumiLor. Electroluminescence (EL) is a characteristic of a material ...

Research project on accident-avoiding vehicle concluded

Sep 12, 2014

PRORETA 3 is completed after three and a half years of research work: The comprehensive driver assistance and automated maneuver concept supports the driver in keeping the vehicle in a safe driving corridor- ...

Making drones more customizable

Sep 12, 2014

A first-ever standard "operating system" for drones, developed by a startup with MIT roots, could soon help manufacturers easily design and customize unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for multiple applications.

User comments : 0