Costain pioneers self-healing concrete

Aaron Morby 3 years ago
Share

Costain is planning to trial prototype self-healing concrete considered to be the Holy Grail of building materials science.

Ready mixed concrete theme

The contractor will part finance the cutting-edge project contributing £600,000 to research to create an inbuilt concrete immune system that reacts to repair wounds and cracks.

The experimental concrete has several lines of defence. Scientists are developing special bacteria contained within protective microcapsules that can be added to the original mix.

These microbes are sparked into life once water enters a crack to produce limestone deposits plugging cracks before water and oxygen can corrode steel reinforcement.

At the same time the concrete will use specially developed polymer tendons, like conventional steel rods, that can be activated to shrink and close gaps.

The three-year, £1.6m Materials for Life research project is being carried out jointly by Cardiff, Cambridge and Bath Universities.

They will work with Costain and other stakeholders, including BRE, Highways Agency, the Welsh Government and Atkins to test and develop the advances.

The products developed will be trialled at several Costain sites from Spring 2015 once the technology is fine-tuned.

“This is cutting-edge technology and Costain’s involvement once again underlines our commitment to innovation,” said Andrea Green, project manager.

“Self-healing concrete could be a game-changer for the industry, with the potential to enhance durability, improve safety and dramatically reduce maintenance costs.”

Oliver Teall, a Costain graduate civil engineer, who will carry out research leading to a PhD at Cardiff University will be looking at how shape memory polymers can be used to help heal cracks in concrete.

“Polymer tendons are incorporated into the concrete. If a crack occurs, these tendons can currently be activated by either heat or an electrical supply. They then spring back to their original shape, compressing the concrete and closing the crack,” he explained.

“Researchers at Bath and Cambridge are looking at calcite producing bacteria and microcapsules that contain healing agents respectively. The aim is to combine all three areas of research to create multi-scale damage immunity and pave the way for a new generation of construction materials.”

Latest news

Tube maintenance taken away from Amey in bid to save £80m

Transport for London to take work back in-house on Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines
9 hours ago

Brookfield submits plan for 37-storey London city tower

Building work could start in summer 2018 after six-month demolition phase
8 hours ago

Chinese cladding contractor facing HSE asbestos probe

Yuanda UK under spotlight over imported products
16 hours ago

Carillion profit soars to £84m from support services

Blacklisting compensation to cost Carillion £10.5m
14 hours ago

Just one week left to vote for best in construction

More than 10,000 votes in already for Enquirer awards: Book your places now
16 hours ago

Costain profits dented by further losses on waste PFI

£11.4m hit on completing Manchester waste PFI plunges natural resources division into loss again
15 hours ago

Robertson starts work on £333m Aberdeen conference centre

Green light for development by Henry Boot and Aberdeen City Council
15 hours ago

Interserve wins £17m York University project

Piazza learning centre will be built on University's east campus
16 hours ago

Revenue swoops on tax dodging tradesmen

Operation Dobbin catches 17 fraudsters to help level playing field for honest workers
15 hours ago

Lendlease wins £200m contract to build Versace tower

50-storey luxury scheme designed in partnership with famous fashion house
2 days ago

BAM Construct nearly doubles profit to £13m

Mainstream building contracting business margin edges up to 0.6%
1 day ago

Balfour wins £42m London Nine Elms student tower

33-floor student tower kick-starts wider Vauxhall Square scheme
2 days ago

United Living looking for new subbies and suppliers

Meet the Buyer event in Northampton next week: Register now
2 days ago

Former Skanska boss to head Galliford Try’s HS2 team bid

David Blackburn leads Galliford Try/Hochtief/Dragados consortium bidding for major HS2 contracts
2 days ago

HS2 shortlists consultants for phase two

Bechtel, CH2M Hill and Mace/T+T in hunt for seven-year development partner role
2 days ago

No women enter Construction Manager of the Year awards

All 86 of this year's finalists are men: Full list
2 days ago

Kier bags £5bn hat-trick of major construction frameworks

Cambridge University, Procure 22 and Gatwick Airport frameworks promise work boost
2 days ago

Father of seven killed in skylight fall

Two roofing contractors and a director prosecuted following tragedy
2 days ago

Wates signs £64m Norwich food research centre deal

Price agreed for landmark Quadram Institute project
2 days ago

Eurocell enjoys post Brexit sales surge

UPVC products specialist sees 8% underlying increase in sales since EU referendum
2 days ago

Costain jv snaps up last major Crossrail contract

£26m track maintenance facility will be built in Plumstead
2 days ago

Ramboll hires Arcadis infrastructure boss

Mathew Riley takes over as MD of Ramboll UK
2 days ago

Brookfield Multiplex £150m hospital delayed by six months

Collapse of concrete and brickwork firms hits Edinburgh hospital job
3 days ago

Gordon Dunne takes 20% stake in new Keltbray concrete firm

Former Dunne boss appointed managing director at Keltbray Structures
5 days ago

Bulgarian contractor hit with huge safety fine

£500,000 penalty after workers caught balancing on forks of a telehandler: Photos
3 days ago

Skills shortages hitting quality of construction work

Workmanship suffering as budgets are busted by lack of skilled labour
3 days ago

ISG fit-out boss joins Garenne Interiors

Peter Kilby now heads Garenne Interiors & Refurbishment UK
3 days ago

£30m Aberystwyth Innovation and Enterprise Campus out to bid

University research hub project out to bid after funding deal
3 days ago

Vinci wins £35m Cardiff student accommodation job

Developer Fusion Students plans 686-bedroom complex at former Cardiff Metropolitan University Howard Gardens site
3 days ago

12-year-ban for scaffold boss who ripped-off suppliers

Suppliers stung for more than £250,000 in four months
5 days ago

Contractor services