Concrete cracks are a big deal. Little concrete cracks lead to big concrete cracks. Big concrete cracks lead to lots of money being spent for repairs and rebuilding things like bridges and overpasses. That’s not to mention you can break your mother’s back if you step on a sidewalk crack (or something like that). It would be great if there were an easy way to fix them. As it turns out, there is a special kind of concrete called bio-concrete that repairs its own cracks using the sunlight. What a great idea!
This isn’t the first attempt at creating a more environmentally friendly, less labor-intensive way to repair concrete cracks. A few years ago, this video about bio-concrete (below) was posted and ever since then, people have been fascinated with this new type of concrete that could solve a lot of problems and repair a lot of cracks. Bio-concrete uses bacterial spores, which are added to the concrete mix. They are activated by water (rain). They basically fill the concrete cracks.
Just recently there has been more concrete repair innovation, and you can read about it in this recent article on Applied Materials & Interfaces. It is an inexpensive microcapsule-type protective coating that covers the concrete itself. When the concrete gets a crack in it, the sunlight will help to repair the crack (the crack will really be in the coating since the coating lays on top of the concrete).
I’ve read several articles today about the pros and cons of both, and the best comparison can be found here on MIT Technology Review. It seems the sunlight approach makes the most sense for several different reasons (including cost which is a big one), but I can see why some people would prefer the bio-concrete solution. We could scrap both of those ideas and repair concrete cracks with LEGO. I know…not very practical, but it’s still kinda neat and very geeky (picture below).