During a session at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), international research to examine three different self-healing mechanisms for concrete and test the results was discussed.
Professor Christian Grosse, Technical University of Munich, was among those who spoke at AAAS on sustainable infrastructure materials. Gross explained that it was not cracks that weakened infrastructure but rather the water salt that can penetrate them. One of the self-healing mechanisms proposed to fix this problem is hydrogels as gap fillers:
Hydrogels are polymers that absorb moisture. They are used in nappies, among other things. Materials containing hydrogels can expand to ten or even 100 times their original size. Cracks that form in concrete can be healed by a hydrogel that expands when it comes into contact with moisture, thus preventing the water from penetrating further without expanding the cracks.