Engineering professor Rishi Gupta and his team at the University of Victoria in British Columbia are testing material combinations for their ability to both heal cracks and to create crack-free concrete that lasts longer than traditional concrete.
According to Gupta, if researchers can find a way to heal concrete, this discovery could also improve the material's sustainability, greatly reducing potential infrastructure disasters and extending lifespans of buildings and structures.
The team's focus is to come up with a variety of mixtures that allow for crack-free concrete. Gupta's researchers are experimenting with different amounts and types of fibers - such as fly ash and wood cellulose - in an attempt to find the combination that will effectively seal concrete and cracks.
"If (the concrete) does decide to crack we are actually coming up with systems which are smart and have the ability to heal themselves," says Gupta.