Self-healing fungi concrete may be a sustainable solution for America’s crumbling infrastructure

A team of researchers from Binghamton University has developed a self-healing fungi concrete. In collaboration with scientists from the State University of New York, the team hopes that their creation can save America’s infrastructure by permanently repairing cracks.

  • The researchers used Trichoderma reesei, a fungus which they mixed with concrete.
  • They discovered that the fungi concrete would remain in a dormant state until the concrete sustains its first crack.
  • Once this happens, water and oxygen will enter the crack and mix in with the fungal spores.
  • The fungal spores grow and form calcium carbonate that seals in the crack.
  • With the crack filled, oxygen and water will no longer be able to infiltrate the concrete, leading the fungi to become dormant once again.
  • These spores can be awakened once again when the conditions allow it.
  • The biggest challenge facing the researchers is the survivability of the self-healing fungi concrete in more severe environments.

Based on their findings, however, the researchers believe that their creation has potential as bio-based self-healing concrete used in sustainable infrastructure.

Journal reference:

Jing Luo, Xiaobo Chen, Jada Crump, Hui Zhou, David G. Davies, Guangwen Zhou, Ning Zhang, Congrui Jin. INTERACTIONS OF FUNGI WITH CONCRETE: SIGNIFICANT IMPORTANCE FOR BIO-BASED SELF-HEALING CONCRETE. Construction and Building Materials, 2018; 164: 275 DOI: 10.1016/j.conbuildmat.2017.12.233

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