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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
AbstractWhen exposed to varying temperatures, water, and stress, concrete develops tiny undetectable cracks that can spread and threaten its integrity until eventually it must be replaced. Self-healing concrete offers significant economic and environmental benefits. The goal of this project is to investigate the feasibility of using bacteria as a self-healing additive, and to design a plant for producing self-healing concrete. The concrete designed by the team includes dormant bacteria that are reactivated by water entering a crack. The bacteria naturally produce calcium carbonate, which seals the cracks resulting in a stronger, longer-lasting concrete. The team designed a system of bioreactors to cultivate the bacteria, Bacillus subtilis, which is added to lightweight aggregate, a component of concrete. The team also designed a plant to produce the cement necessary to make concrete. This design involves balancing the energy needs of several large crushers and grinders, a heating and cooling system, and a large kiln. The cement and aggregate are combined with water to form self-healing concrete.