Bacteria-Powered Self-Healing Concrete Could Fill Road Potholes in for Good

By Gerald Lynch on at

The bane of drivers along wintry roads, potholes damage cars, cause (sometimes lethal) accidents and cost local councils a pretty penny to repair. But an innovative new concrete blend, developed by UK researchers at the University of Bath, Cardiff University and the University of Cambridge, could resign potholes to the great highway in the sky.

The scientists have developed a new form of concrete that is riddled with bacteria. When water seeps into a crack in a road, ready to form a pothole, the bacteria spring into action, producing limestone to seal the gap before the concrete can cave in.

As well as lowering the number of accidents, the concrete has the potential to vastly reduce roadwork costs and reduce CO2 in the atmosphere, as 7 per cent of all carbon dioxide emissions come from the production of concrete. When used in buildings, the concrete could also increase a construction's durability too.

The breakthrough has been revealed as part of a report from Arup, exploring the future of motorways, and also discussing the potential for self-driving car convoys and solar-powered roads. [Telegraph]

Image Credit: Frost damage on the road from Shutterstock