Researchers at Delft University have discovered a way to use calcite-precipitating bacteria to allow concrete to heal itself and will be suitable for use in pavements, buildings, and one day, maybe even roads.
The use of bacterial concrete can in theory lead to substantial savings, especially in steel reinforced concrete. It will also mean durability issues can be tackled in a new and more economical way when designing concrete structures. Bacterial concrete is ideal for constructing underground retainers for hazardous waste, as no humans would have to go near it to repair any occurring cracks. For residential buildings, however, it does seem the traditional repairing of cracks will remain the most economically attractive solution for now.
This new technology could seriously bring down the cost of building as well as the on going maintenance costs of having to fix and repair concrete, meaning if it works as well as researchers thing it will – then combined with 3D printing, this could be a game changer.