Self-Healing Concrete


Capsules of limestone-producing bacteria are embedded in the concrete.

Concrete often develops micro-cracks during the construction process, explains Jonkers. These tiny cracks don’t immediately affect the building’s structural integrity, but they can lead to leakage problems. Leakage can eventually corrode the concrete’s steel reinforcements, which can ultimately cause a collapse.

Concrete production accounts for a massive 5 percent of the world’s carbon emissions, and global demand for concrete has doubled over the past decade, largely due to increasing urbanization. So any technology that makes concrete structures longer lasting has the potential not just to cut costs but to reduce our carbon footprint. The future of green building, it seems, may be gray.

Read more:
Give the gift of Smithsonian magazine for only $12!
Follow us: @SmithsonianMag on Twitter

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s