Self-Healing Concrete

Ella Wesson

Concrete, a commonly used material in the modern world, now has the potential to possess amazing abilities! New technologies created by microbiologist Henrik Jonkers can lower construction costs by billions of dollars through his new invention.

Conventional concrete is easily-weathered over time which can form cracks in the substance and ultimately lead to the collapse of many buildings and sidewalks, especially in the face of a natural disaster. This issue has recently been addressed and an effective solution found!

The creation known as bio-concrete, or self-healing concrete, contains small pods of bacteria and bacteria food infused within it which break open in the presence of a crack by sensing water seeping through it. This triggers a response in the bacteria to excrete calcium carbonate, mending the crack by filling it with limestone. The bacteria are able to survive in their pods by laying dormant for up to 200 years, but can fill a large crack in less than 3 weeks.

Jonkers, after creating this successful new building material, is now working on a liquid that can be applied to normal, “dead” concrete which can mend cracks without having the bacteria pods originally inside the concrete itself.