Researchers discussed examining three different self-healing mechanisms for concrete and to test the results at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) conference this month. Professor Christian Grosse, who is the chair of non-destructive testing (NDT) at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), was among the speakers who discussed materials for sustainable infrastructure.
The other speakers at the conference session were Mo Li of the University of Houston, who spoke about sustainable infrastructure materials with repeatable self-healing capacity, and Erik Schlangen, Delft University of Technology whose presentation was on self-healing concrete (with bacteria) and self-healing asphalt (with steel wool).
Grosse explained that the cracks do not usually pose any direct threat to the stability of structures: "However, water and salts can penetrate the concrete and damage the affected components. In the EU research project HealCON, an international team of researchers is working toward the development of concrete that can repair itself. The scientists are examining three different self-healing mechanisms.
Promising results have already been obtained from experiments carried out under laboratory conditions. The next stage will involve the use of the self-healing material in actual building components for sections of bridges or tunnel. After this, the technologies will have to be adapted for use in standard concrete production and construction methods.