JP Concrete says that its arrangement with the Dutch producer makes it the first UK company to offer self-healing concrete.
Basilisk is a company formed by Dutch microbiologist Henk Jonkers, who spent years at the Delft University of Technology developing a form of living concrete that automatically seals its own cracks.
His self-healing concrete uses limestone-producing bacteria. When the bacteria come in contact with oxygen and water they are capable of converting certain nutrients to calcium carbonate (limestone).
The limestone-producing bacteria is inactive until ‘woken’ by air and water, which get in should cracks appear. They then busily begin producing limestone until the crack is sealed – at which point the bacteria go back to sleep.
Henk Jonkers, the inventor, explains: “Concrete becomes unsafe when its reinforcements break down. Concrete is usually reinforced with steel rebar, and this corrodes when water gets to it. By making sure that the concrete seals up any cracks before water reaches the rebar, we can keep the steel safe for longer and prolong the life of the structure.”
He adds: “It’s combining nature with construction materials. It’s asking nature to help us, rather than fighting against nature. It’s very sustainable.”