Structurally Sound

19929959_SWhat are the similarities between concrete and the human body?

When thinking on the fly, it’s hard to think of any, what could a common construction material have to do with biology?

To Henk Jonkers, microbiologist at Delft University of Technology, the two become more similar every day. Take for example your bones. If you break a bone, it begins to repair itself unprovoked until they are completely healed – a brand new structure formed all on its own. Concrete now has the ability to do the same.

Jonkers “embeds the concrete with capsules of limestone-producing bacteria…along with calcium lactate. When the concrete cracks, air and moisture trigger the bacteria to begin munching on the calcium lactate. They convert the calcium lactate to calcite, an ingredient in limestone, thus sealing off the cracks.”

Seems simple right? The concrete heals itself and infrastructure, buildings, and paths remain in new condition for years to come. Water damage and yearly repairs would vanquish! With this immediate seal technology on the market, why doesn’t everyone use it? The answer is a simple cost, as it’s far too expensive a material rolling in at around $33-44 per square meter. But Jonker’s is confident that going forward there will be alternatives to the pricey calcium lactate.

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