Self-healing concrete ‘most likely to change the world’

A project that aims to create construction materials with an inbuilt ‘self-healing system’ was voted the most likely research to have the biggest global impact at this year's British Science Festival.

A team from the Materials for Life (M4L) project, funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), presented their findings at a 'You Heard it Here First' session at the festival in Newcastle.

The audience of science enthusiast attendees voted for the M4L project after listening to five-minute presentations from academics working across a wide scientific spectrum, from the effects of gravitational waves to the role of quantum physics in metrology to using high precision lasers in imaging.

Dr Diane Gardner, Co-Director BRE Institute in Sustainable Engineering at Cardiff University School of Engineering, explained how the M4L project is exploring ways of producing construction materials that will repair themselves when their integrity is threatened through cracking and other forms of damage.

Dr Gardner said: “To win an award about research that has the potential to have the biggest global impact is truly exciting. It demonstrates that others share our vision for creating resilient infrastructure that can adapt, sense and respond to damage, which has the potential to reduce or eliminate both environmentally and economically costly repair and maintenance activities.

“My colleagues and I at Cardiff, Cambridge and Bath Universities are working hard to make this vision a reality. I hope that in the next 2-3 years we will be reporting on field trials of self-healing concrete and that there is sufficient support from the Construction Industry to further develop and embed these new materials in their projects.”

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