Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Self-Healing Cement

PostedNovember 14, 2010

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Randy Atkins: Concrete is made by mixing cement, water, sand, and rocks.  M.R. Hansen, a South Dakota School of Mines and Technology civil engineering professor, wants to alter that mixture a bit…replacing some of the sand with a porous material that absorbs – and stores -- water…and keeping in bigger particles of cement. 

M.R. Hansen: The main thing is don’t grind it quite as fine. And we can control that.

Randy Atkins: A final touch might be…

M.R. Hansen: …some additive to the water that would make it travel through the cracks more easily.

Randy Atkins: Then, when a crack occurs, the stored water would leak out…activating unused cement in those larger particles to seal the cracks.  It could not only restore structural strength, but save time, money, and materials.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, WTOP News.

  • NAE President Charles Vest discussing another method of self-healing concrete, in the New York Times.