October 30, 2012

Concrete with limestone-producing bacteria...

... self-healing.

17 comments:

Eustace Chilke said...

Frankencrete. I forsee trouble.

Dante said...

Less requirement to do maintenance. Fewer workers needed. The private sector is moving too fast, and improving itself to death.

clint said...

Extremely cool.

Can you imagine what would happen in the aftermath of a bridge collapse in an earthquake? The pile of concrete would grow together into one giant lump, and then continue to grow into a huge mess as long as the river continued to bring more water and nutrients.

Still, very, very cool.

chickelit said...

Concreature

edutcher said...

Somewhere, John Smeaton is smiling.

PT said...

from the article:

"The harmless bacteria - belonging to the Bacillus genus - then feed on the nutrients to produce limestone."

Now if I was a journalist and wanted some sensationalism, I'd mention that Bacillus anthracis belongs to that same family of bacteria.

In other words, TERRORIST CONCRETE.

David said...

It's alive!

Rusty said...

Fact
Concrete never quits 'curing'. The older it gets the harder it gets.

Fact
Instead of structural steel, bridges will soon be made from carbon fiber composites.

My BIL is a civil engineer and a technology geek.

chickelit said...

Instead of structural steel, bridges will soon be made from carbon fiber composites.

We may burn that bridge when we come to it.

Skyler said...

Amazing!

Hagar said...

Well, that is not quite how Portland cement concrete works; the author evidently skipped his high school science classes.
However, self-healing cracks is good. You can also ameliorate the cracking by substituting flyash for 20-25% of the cement.

Still, for reinforced concrete, the concrete has to crack for the reinforcement to work!

Carnifex said...

It brings to mind the song "2525". How far into the future after the death of man will his technology reach? Anyone read the Berserker series by Saberhagen? Will we be the authors of ancient technology that is mystifying and deadly to alien cultures?

Or Nivens ARM universe where Earth was actually a farming planet millions of years in the past to a far ranging species that died out in a interstellar war? Earth had been seeded with algae to feed giant single cell meat animals called bandersnatchi. After the fall of the seeding civilization, the algae eventually mutated into us.

Peter said...

"Concrete is the world's most widely used building material. But it is prone to cracks, which means that structures need to be substantially reinforced with steel."

The reason why concrete is reinforced with steel is to increase the material's tensile strength.

BUT the rebar then destroys the material's durability when it inevitably rusts, as the expansion of the steel as it rusts breaks up the concrete and destroys the cohesion between the rebar and the concrete.

Concrete without rebar is very durable indeed (e.g., the dome of the Pantheon in Rome). Whereas all too many fifty year old reinforced concrete bridges are crumbling.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

David said...

It's alive!

Damn-it Jim, I'm a doctor, not a bricklayer.

Mitch H. said...

I see two possibilities:
1) the bacteria, engineered to do something not particularly bent towards their own survival, are quickly out-competed by other, more self-interested biota and end up being fodder for more destructive critters.
2) the bacteria end up producing limestone deposits in such a way that they split apart the seams, and cause heaves which produce rubble, instead of nice neat remodelled surfaces.

Michael in ArchDen said...

This is Phase I of history: "What could it hurt?"

Phase II: "How were we supposed to know?" comes later...

Dust Bunny Queen said...

What could go wrong?

It is like these guys never heard of the term mutation or evolution.