March 9, 2022 – University of Southern California (USC) Viterbi School of Engineering researchers created a new method for developing self-healing concrete that replaces the natural aggregates in concrete with engineered aggregates that contain healing agents within them. Unlike other methods pursued over the past two decades, their method prioritizes keeping costs low and maintaining other properties of concrete, particularly strength and production method. The researchers, which include Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Bora Gencturk and Ph.D. candidate Xiaoying Pan, identified the prevailing methods of self-healing concrete such as adding bacteria, which is activated by chemical reactions resulting from a crack to heal the space. This could also include placing microcapsules containing healing agents inside the concrete, which are activated once the concrete is stressed. These methods, Pan said, are prohibitively expensive, making them impractical in real-world applications.
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