Can Concrete Repair Itself?

Dr Chan-Moon Chung of Yonsei University in South Korea has completed numerous tests and done much research to prove that it is possible for concrete to repair itself. In this article we will discuss that research.

Concrete is the world’s most used building material; however there are some drawbacks to concrete and this is that sometimes the concrete needs repairing as it is not as weather-proof. For example, salt and ice has the ability to turn tiny fractures on the cement into larger cracks or holes.

However, there is a new invention on the market that allows concrete to repair itself!

Over the last few centuries people have tried to make concrete last longer and decrease the requirement for concrete repairs. For example, the Romans mixed horse hair into their concrete mix so the shrinkage was reduced during the hardening process.

However, an alternative approach has been created after much research and testing by Dr Chung. Dr Chung found that when methacryloxypropyl-terminated, polydimethylsiloxane and benzoin isobutyl ether are mixed together in sunlight they would turn into a protective and waterproof polymer that has the ability to stick to concrete. The idea that Dr Chung had was to seal the two chemicals into tiny capsules in the urea and then mix the tiny capsules into the liquid polymer and spray this onto the concrete wall.

This idea was tested by Dr Chung on two small blocks of concrete, one was treated and one was untreated. It was then cracked and then placed in water for one day. After this experiment took place, the blocks were taken out of the water and it was shown that the untreated block of concrete took in 3.5g more water than the treated block (which took in just 0.4g of water).