Self Healing Material Effective For Construction
The powerful healing properties of our bodies have inspired scientists to develop synthetic materials that can heal themselves. Before long, we will see self healing bridges, cars, coatings, and buildings! So how these materials work? Let’s have a look. According to the Professor Christian Grosse from the Technical University of Munich, there are three main self healing agents: bacteria, hudrogels, and epoxy resin used in construction.
Fix leaks And Cracks In Construction With Self Healing Material
Scientists used bacteria that can produce calcium to deliver self healing properties to concrete. They injected bacteria into balls of clay and then mixed these with concrete. The result was that the bacteria released calcium that closed cracks in calcium within several days. Nowadays, it only works with very small cracks, but scientists are enthusiastic about this idea.
Many of us have already used products that contain hydrogels (for example, diapers). These polymers can absorb moisture and then expand in size. When hydrogels penetrate concrete, it gets into cracks and prevents water from expanding them and thus avoiding the leakage problem in buildings.
Epoxy resin, also known as polyurethane, can be injected into concrete cracks to seal them. Epoxy resin is also proved to improve the structure of concrete and increase its lifespan.
Professor Grosse continues to study concrete and each of these three agents to see how they work separately. They use the method of radiation of acoustic waves to deal damage to the concrete structure. When it cracks, they inject one of the agents. Then they collect and analyze data to see if the healing was successful. If not, they use this method again but with a different agent.
However, this method can only be used in laboratories. In order to experiment in the real world, scientists use ultrasound.
-Ultrasound And Concrete Research:
Unlike the previous method that is limited by poor controllability and penetrating ability, ultrasound works best when used to inspect concrete. In future, scientists expect it to be included in mass-production and regular maintenance procedures.
Ultrasound can reach through concrete faster if the material doesn’t have any cracks. Therefore, scientists measure the time that ultrasound needs to get through concrete with cracks, use one of the agents that should heal the cracks and then take measurements again. If ultrasound gets through concrete faster, cracks have been filled.
This can not only help researchers analyze self healing properties of three agents, but also decide whether the item is a good or bad quality (depending on how many cracks it has). In future, the number of concrete repairs can be significantly reduced by using ultrasound as an inspection technique.
Newest research shows promising results regarding self healing properties. Composite materials have already made almost 20% lighter than 10 years ago. Future materials will be even lighter, more durable, cheaper, profitable for longer periods and highly efficient. And if you combine these with self healing properties, you will get a dream material. That is why scientists don’t give up on experimenting with different agents and materials. We are promised to get self healing roads, bridges, buildings, and even smartphones and TVs.