Self-healing concrete slows down effects of deterioration

A new self-healing concrete aims to reduce the requirement for maintenance of structures over the long term by slowing down the effects of deterioration due to ageing or damage.

A trial installation for the self-healing concrete panels is now being constructed on a road project in South Wales. Source: Costain -

It aims to achieve this through introducing several materials – shape memory polymers, microcapsules and microbial healing – into the concrete mix.

Material undergoes testing on a road improvement project

The new material is being developed under an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council-funded research programme involving Cardiff, Cambridge and Bath universities. Costain Civil Engineer, Oliver Teall, is on secondment to Cardiff University, where he is completing a PhD as part of the project. He is co-ordinating site tests of the concrete and developing the shape memory polymer system within it. Currently, the material is about to undergo testing on the A465 Heads of the Valleys road improvement project in South Wales.

Trial structure consists of a replica retaining wall

“We’ve designed a trial structure that consists of a replica retaining wall including a number of trial panels,” said Oliver. “These panels will be loaded and stressed to artificially induce damage and will then be monitored to see how well the self-healing concrete repairs or resists the degradation.” The hope is that the durability of such structures can be increased, reducing the need for maintenance or repairs. This is potentially a major long-term money-saver, given the fact that the UK spends around EUR63.9 billion on repair and maintenance annually.

Nominated for Sustainable Business of the Year 2015

Costain Group PLC, which has pioneered the self-healing concrete experiment in Wales, has been nominated for Sustainable Business of the Year 2015. The award is part of the Sustain Wales Awards, which recognize individuals and organisations that are achieving sustainable development. The winners will be announced on 19 November

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