Concrete is the world's most widely used building material, but there haven't been any fundamental changes in the material, and because of that it is prone to cracks - which means that most structures be substantially reinforced with steel.
This is all about to hopefully change with experimental concrete that self heals - yes, self, heals. The experimental concrete contains limestone-producing bacteria, which are activated by corrosive rainwater working its way into the structure. The new concrete is about to enter outdoor testing, and if successful, we could see new structures made with the concrete that could provide better service life with the concrete, and huge cost savings, too.
The work is being done at Delft Technical University in the Netherlands and is the brainchild of microbiologist Henk Jonkers and concrete technologist Eric Schlangen. If the testing is positive, Dr Jonkers says that they could start the process of commercializing it as soon as 2-3 years from now.