Concrete Cracks Fix Themselves

  • Author: Nancy McGuire
  • Published: 27 December 2015
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
  • Source / Publisher: ACS Central Science/American Chemical Society (ACS)
  • Associated Societies: American Chemical Society (ACS), USA
thumbnail image: Concrete Cracks Fix Themselves

Self-healing concrete could save substantial amounts of money for structural maintenance and repair, as well as reducing CO2 emissions from the manufacture of new concrete, wrote Prachi Patel, freelance writer, in a recent review article.

Exposure of unreacted cement particles to water and air triggers a slow self-healing process for small cracks in ordinary concrete. Recent research focuses on speeding up this process and preventing large cracks from forming. Polymer sealants work quickly, but many monomers have a limited shelf life and they react with their encapsulating materials. Hydrogels, which don't require encapsulation, provide water to unreacted cement particles, stimulating crack healing. One type of concrete under development combines chemical agents for healing small cracks and shape-memory polymers for larger cracks.

Another type, currently being commercialized, contains polyvinyl alcohol fibers that promote the formation of many small cracks instead of a few large ones. One product slated for commercialization in 2016 incorporates bacteria that germinate on contact with moisture. The bacteria convert calcium lactate in the concrete to limestone that seals the cracks.


Article Views: 2547

Sign in Area

Please sign in below

Additional Sign In options

Please note that to comment on an article you must be registered and logged in.
Registration is for free, you may already be registered to receive, e.g., the newsletter. When you register on this website, please ensure you view our terms and conditions. All comments are subject to moderation.

Article Comments - To add a comment please sign in

If you would like to reuse any content, in print or online, from, please contact us first for permission. more

Follow on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on YouTube Follow on LinkedIn Follow on Instagram RSS Sign up for newsletters

Magazine of Chemistry Europe (16 European Chemical Societies) published by Wiley-VCH