Bendable, Self-Healing Concrete

Concrete that heals itself has been developed at the University of Michigan. The engineered cement composite is designed to bend; it cracks in narrow hairlines rather than in wide gaps, as does standard concrete. The material was developed in the lab of Victor Li, the E. Benjamin Wylie Collegiate Professor of Civil Engineering and a professor of Materials Science and Engineering.


(Bendable concrete - a self-healing engineered cement composite)

The engineers found that cracks must be kept below 150 micrometers, and preferably below 50, for full healing...

More flexible than traditional concrete, ECC acts more like metal than glass. Traditional concrete is considered a ceramic. Brittle and rigid, it can suffer catastrophic failure when strained in an earthquake or by routine overuse, Li said. But flexible ECC bends without breaking. It is studded with specially-coated reinforcing fibers that hold it together. ECC remains intact and safe to use at tensile strains up to 5 percent. Traditional concrete fractures and canít carry a load at .01 percent tensile strain.

The average crack width in [the] self-healing concrete is below 60 micrometers. Thatís about half the width of a human hair. His recipe ensures that extra dry cement in the concrete exposed on the crack surfaces can react with water and carbon dioxide to heal and form a thin white scar of calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is a strong compound found naturally in seashells. In the lab, the material requires between one and five cycles of wetting and drying to heal.

The first time I read about the idea of a bendable, self-healing material was in the work of science fiction writer J.G. Ballard. In his 1962 short story The Thousand Dreams of Stellavista, he wrote about psychotropic houses with bendable walls that responded to the emotions of visitors. The walls were made of plastex.

It was a beautiful room all right, with opaque plastex walls and white fluo-glass ceiling, but something terrible had happened there. As it responded to me, the ceiling lifting slightly and the walls growing less opaque, reflecting my perspective-seeking eye, I noticed that curious mottled knots were forming, indicating where the room had been strained and healed faultily.
(Read more about plastex)

Update 28-Apr-2012: In his 1951 novel Asteroid of Fear, Raymond Z. Gallun wrote about self-sealing plastic that was used in space to protect against damage by micrometeorites.

...It even had an inter-skin layer of gum that could seal the punctures that grain-of-sand-sized meteors might make.

End update.

If the idea of a self-healing house or structure appeals to you, read about an entirely different approach taken in Nanotech Self-Healing Houses .

From Self-healing concrete for safer, more durable infrastructure - UM News service.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/6/2009)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Material ")

Osmiridium Sounds Like Science Fiction (But It's Not!)
I can't resist science-fictional elements. Especially when they're real.

'Metallic Wood' Strong Like Titanium, Floats In Water
'A metal... light as cork and stronger than steel...' - Edgar Rice Burroughs, 1929.

Self-Healing Material Pulls Carbon Out Of The Air
'... could seal the punctures.' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1951.

Shapeshifting Materials Transform By Light
'Its lines wavered, flowed, and then painfully reformed.'- Philip K. Dick, 1957.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

 

Current News

Road Noise Charges Electric Cars With Peugeot Piezoelectric Billboard
''... major cities of Earth have free electrical power conveniently processed from their own noise.'

Unsinkable Metal Latest Gates Obsession
'A metal... light as cork.'

M-Blocks 2.0 Self-Assembling Robots
'Faster the cubes moved...'

NASA 'Broomstick' Recalls SciFi Ideas
'The appearance was enough like a giant witch's broom to justify the nickname.'

Orbital Display's Low Earth Orbit Advertisements
'A vast circle of scarlet stars came up into the greenish desert dusk.'

Neuromorphic Computing Hardare
'He had constructed an organ, a brain, of metal, entirely inorganic and lifeless...'

Vascularized Human Skin 3D Printed
Hey Fishboy!

Trillionaires Still Earth-Bound
'I shall never forget the sight... when the yellow gleam of the precious metal appeared under the star dust.'

Digit V2 Bipedal Robot From Agility Robotics
Oh, and now I suppose someone will develop the robotic porch pirate.

3D Printed Dubai Building Is World's Largest
'This thing will start at one end of ...a house and build it complete to the other end, following drawings only.'

Grow Plants On Moon Or Mars!
'In contrast to the airless desolation outside, the interior of this five-acre greenhouse was the one most desirable place to be.'

California Gets Shockwave Rider-Style Avoidance Zones
'It was cheaper to pay the refugees to go without up-to-the-minute equipment.'

Microbot Interstellar von Neumann Explorers
'Evidently they have never had a planet of their own...'

Hail SmartCan! Your Trash Bin Takes Itself Out
'...a waste can twenty feet away stirred into life.'

Finally! Microsoft Surface Neo And Surface Duo Implement Excellent Courier Idea
'Runcible, whose pages were thicker and more densely packed with computational machinery...'

Tap Strap 2 Now With Air Mouse
'He waved his hand and the circuit switched abruptly.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.