His team has developed a three-pronged approach that includes a concrete mix that, when used to build a structure, will autonomously mend small cracks that form; a mixture that can induce self-healing in larger cracks or holes; and a process that can be applied to traditional concrete to mend cracks.
To mend a bigger crack or hole, calcium and CO2 can be applied to spur autonomous healing. The same mixture can be used, but with a different application process, to initiate healing in already-set traditional concrete.
“Healing traditional concrete that’s already in use is critically beneficial, too, and will help reduce the need to produce and ship additional concrete, which has a huge environmental impact,” says Rahbar.
He asserts that self-healing concrete – like the one developed by his team – could help extend the life of a structure from 20 years to an impressive 80 years.
Image and content: Worcester Polytechnic Institute