Self-healing concrete was developed.
One of the most encountered problems on reinforced concrete constructions is the concrete degradation in the course of time. Fixing a construction with decays and fractures requires high cost and labor. Yet, is it possible for us to produce more durable concrete with less cost and labor?
In recent years, there have been numerous studies on self-healing construction materials. Even though every study has a different method, the common goal was to build more durable constructions. The news that causes tremendous excitement in the sector, came from the Binghamton University, in the last days of 2017. Assistant Professor Congrui Jin and her colleagues published the study called “Interactions of fungi with concrete: Significant importance for bio-based self-healing concrete”. The study proved that the concrete’s durability is enhanced when the fungus called Trichoderma reesei, which is frequently used in the industry, owing to the capability of producing cellulase, is mixed with cement.
According to Jin: “When the essential improvements are not made, the fractures become more inclined to increase, and improving them is costly.” And she adds: “When the fractures are not fixed they become threats for the construction.” The fungi make use of the air and water while filling up the fractures on the concrete. Also, it prevents the reinforcement corrosion. By doing this, it creates solutions for more than one problem.
“In the mix of concrete phase, fungus spores are added to mix with enough nutrients. When the fracture occurs on the concrete, fracture takes the air and water in; so the inactive fungus spores evolve, grow and synthesize the calcium carbonate that will be useful for filling the fractures. If the fracture is filled fully, no more air or water can enter. Without air or water, the fungus goes back to spore form and becomes inactive. When the environmental conditions are met, spores can be active again.”
The fungus that is proved to be not pathogenic, seems like becoming a good alternative in the bio-based materials.