Well at least the cracks in your concrete, not sure if this is certified for use on human faces though.

Concrete is one of the most widely used building components and is seen in every aspect of our surroundings, from skyscrapers and nuclear plants to roads and runways.  What you probably didn’t know, well you might ‘cause you’re probably smarter than us, but anyway, did you know that concrete is only second to water when it comes to production and consumption goes.

What you also probably didn’t know is that its carbon footprint has a fairly significant adverse on the environment. And it fairly significant, it accounts for about 8% of the total emissions on the planet which is why the scientific and engineering communities are look to curb its use as well as look for alternatives.

In light of this, scientist Hendrik Jonkers’ innovative development of a bacteria which helps increase the durability of concrete, which reduced the volume required and making it stronger at the same time is incredibly important.  The world now knows Jonkers’ innovation as the ‘self-healing concrete’.   The active ingredient in this special formula is actually a bacteria that produces limestone.

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So how does all of this work?  Well the curing of concrete depends on several factors and no matter how specific and rigid the curing process may be, cracks and other structural anomalies are almost always bound to appear at one point.   But when Bacillus pseudofirmus and Sporosarcina pasteurii (bacteria that naturally repair cracks once they come in contact with water) are mixed with calcium lactate and water. The bacteris then becomes active and feeding on calcium lactate, it begins to produce limestone and boom, cracks of even up to 1.8 millimeters in width start to disappear.

Jonkers offers the formula in a spray form; a mortar form that undertakes some of the repair work; and the innovative concrete itself.  The concrete can be mixed with the usual blend of concrete to make it stronger and more durable than it was before.

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The spray is used to repair minor cracks that run along structures that have already been built. The mortar comes in handy for more serious structural impediments, and the self-healing concrete is used to strengthen existing concrete mixes. And while this is an extra cost that needs to be added to the budgets of developers and builders the long term savings seem to prove out that the investment is worth it.

The big question is if it will gain the traction it needs to become a mainstream product.  It’s worth noting that Jonkers did receive a nod from the scientific community in the form of a nomination for the European Inventor Award in 2015.  So here’s hoping that we get some ‘Jonkin’ good concrete soon … we’ve dying to use that line somewhere in here!