Self-Repairing Construction Materials - What Are They?
If you have been a part of the construction business for a while now, you already know about self-healing concrete. This material also works in a similar way. While it does not require any kind of human intervention to fix cracks or scratches on the surface, it still does need some external input like UV light, heat or chemical treatment as a catalyst.
What Are Self-Repairing Materials?
With research and development, chemical engineers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have come up with new material that can strengthen, grow, and also repair itself. It uses the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere the same way plants do.
Before this, there was no other material that could mimic these aspects of a live object, even though it’s not reproducing. Such developments have taken the construction industry ahead for several years.
How Does It Look?
Without any mixes or combinations, this material has a more gel-like appearance. However, when implemented, it reacts with the carbon dioxide in the air, changing its appearance. As per the theory, the material can get prepared and transported as a lightweight gel.
Eventually, it will grow into its final form, which is more practical, but a lot heavier as well. In short, they are easy to handle and distribute in their original state. Only when they come into contact with the atmosphere and sunlight is when it hardens and solidifies.
Hence it can save a lot of money and energy while being transported. This approach is directly inspired by plants and can transform carbon dioxide from the air to solid, with the help of only sunlight.
How Do I Use Self-Repairing Construction Materials?
Earlier, recurring roadway maintenance used to be a resource-heavy task. It required a lot of extra time, labour and money. However, with this new material, that is not the case anymore. In addition to saving money and time, this material also has a number of environmental benefits.
You can use this firm as an additive or coating, lending its self-healing properties to the pre-existing material. This will help increase the frequency of maintenance work while also enhancing the durability of the structure.
How Does It Help?
The name self-healing material already explains its main advantages. For starters, it improves logistic capabilities as it is light. Its self-repairing capabilities also reduce the requirement for construction maintenance. This way, it can help save money, time and effort required.
However, that is not where the list ends. There are many other environmental benefits that you can enjoy with this material. For one, it actively helps remove carbon dioxide from the air.
In addition, its manufacturing does not require any use of fossil fuels which makes it more eco-friendly and sustainable. It uses a polymer of Aminopropyl Methacrylamide with glucose, chloroplast derived from spinach leaves and glucose oxidase.
Why Is The Material Gaining Rapid Popularity?
The sheer usability and practicality of the material ensure that it will have several positive implications in the construction business. The scientists at MIT have found an alternate way to utilise the abundant carbon available. Their main approach was to make a material that is not just carbon neutral but carbon negative.
With this information, it is quite clear how this material will soon rise in popularity. This will surely change the whole construction industry. However, there are much more research and development going on in building material in order to make them even better and more useful.
As of now, the developed material takes self-healing properties to another level. With only ambient light, it can capture carbon dioxide and changes the gas into a solid form.