Scientists in Holland have developed a building material that can regenerate itself. The material is mixed with bacteria and nutrients, and acts like any other sturdy concrete. However, when a small crack appears, the special concrete can repair itself.
The concrete mixture is composed of small ceramic pods filled with spores of bacteria and nutrients (calcium lactate). When the concrete slab is solid and intact, these spores remain inactive. However when a crack appears in the concrete, water will seep in to the ceramic pods and activate the bacteria. The calcium lactate will then be converted in to calcite by the active bacteria, which is one of the two primary components in limestone. In the lab, this method has been used to fill cracks up to 0.5 millimeters wide.
Although there is still additional testing to be done, the team behind the invention say it could be on the market in as little as two years.