Self-healing concrete at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

RICHLAND, WA - The scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have created and worked on a type of concrete that can self heal on its own.  

"The idea here is to introduce some small amount of polymer that have the ability to seal the crack, but at the same time have a strong interaction with the cement," Carlos Fernandez said.  "So it basically combines it well and keeps the fractures closed."

The main idea is that the solution is made with Polymer a plastic material that mixes together with concrete and pours just like the type of concrete you see on construction sites. But this time when a crack forms in the concrete this solution will gravitate the crack and self heal by filling up the gap.  

Most concrete last up to five years before it starts to crack, but with Fernandez's new creation he is expecting his concrete to last up to 30 years.

"Self healing events take place over and over again throughout the lifetime of cement, something that the current cement does not have" Fernandez said. 

This project originally was thought of for underground tunnels and for engineering, but Fernandez believes that in a few years this type of concrete will be in stores ready for people to purchase and make some of their own. 

For clarification purposes, cement is an ingredient of concrete.

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