Inspired by the ability of the body to heal itself, Congrui Jin, Guangwen Zhou and David Davies from Binghamton University in New York, along with Ning Zhang from Rutgers University, have been working on making the concrete that combines the spores of Trichoderma reesei mushroom, along with the nutrients, placed in the concrete mixture to create the ability to self-fill if there are cracks.
Once the concrete has hardened, the spores remain dormant until the first small cracks appear. When concrete cracks, water, and oxygen will go inside the structure. This causes the spores to germinate, grow and precipitate Calcium Carbonate (CaCO3), which in turn cracks quickly to fill up over time.
Assistant Professor Jin said: “When the cracks are completely filled, there is no more water and oxygen inside. At this point, the fungus continues to form a backup spore. When conditions are met favorably as concrete appears cracks, fungal spores in concrete quickly wake up “.
Research is still in the early stages, and in the meantime, scientists from Newcastle University and the University of Bath have developed self-healing concrete that combines calcium carbonate-producing bacteria.
This research is published in the journal Construction and Building Materials.