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  • Writer's picturechaithanya ganesh

New Age Building Materials: Self-Healing Concrete.


New age building material can be defined as a category of building materials that are aimed at replacing the traditional choices of brick, timber, glass, etc.

Some materials are being re-engineered to make them stronger, self-sustaining, more versatile, and easier on the environment.

With the global mission to reduce carbon emissions, scientists and manufacturers are working to develop more environmentally friendly building materials. Some of them are already in production, others are still in the lab.

Environmental concerns are one of the driving force behind the aim of creating new materials along with the other factors of producing the structures which were previously not possible with the available traditional materials.

In this blog, we will be discussing the new age building material, "The self-healing concrete".


Concrete is the most popular manufactured building material. Though it is strong, fire-resistant, and durable, an enormous amount of greenhouse gases are emitted from its production and usage.

And its proximity to cracking is one of its major vulnerable factors that accelerates the structure’s degradation, increasing the maintenance costs and, leading to structural failure in the worst scenario.

That is when self-healing concrete was invented.

In 2006, Henk Jonkers, a microbiologist, and professor at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. Jonkers began developing self-healing concrete. After three years of experimenting, he found the perfect healing agent - "bacillus".

The invention was largely inspired by natural body processes in which bones heal through mineralization, and Jonkers explored the idea of whether this could be replicated in concrete.

In short, self-healing concrete is a product that will biologically produce limestone to heal cracks that appear on the surface of concrete structures and these healing agents can lie dormant within the concrete for up to 200 years.

The working principle of self-healing concrete is as follows:

"When the crack begins in a concrete structure, water enters the crack and activating the bacteria inside. They multiply and germinate in a calcium-based nutrient called calcium lactate and form limestone (CaCo3) or calcite which fills the cracks".


These days self-healing concrete is more in use and widely praised because of the beneficiary factors.

This magic concrete is also known as bio-concrete and is made up of most three complex substances, which is a 95 percent calcium lactate ratio to a five percent ratio of bacterial spores that are encapsulated within two-to four-millimeter wide clay pellets with separate nitrogen, phosphorous, and a nutrient.

Although self-healing concrete is in use and has been a boon since its invention, scientists are still working on perfecting it, marking the ultimatum.