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Concrete that never gets a crack!

tech reviews Updated: Apr 19, 2014 10:52 IST
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Imagine a concrete building that never gets any cracks and stands erect for a lifetime!

Scientists have stumbled upon a building material that can produce never-say-die concrete and even if a crack develops, you would get an instant sms or email to fix it.

Researchers at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee are creating concrete with superhydrophobic qualities - stuff that shuns water.

They embedded electrodes in the concrete that monitor stresses to the concrete and can alert the researchers to any developing dangers.

“We have been getting a lot of good results in the lab,” said Scott Muzenski, a graduate student in civil engineering at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

How does it work?

The embedded sensors can measure resistance between electrodes and by monitoring electrical changes, it can tell whether a crack has occurred or whether corrosive chemicals or water is present.

The sensors could text or email via bluetooth or wi-fi if there is a problem, the researchers were quoted as saying.

The new material, called super-hydrophobic engineered cementitious composite, is also more malleable than traditional concrete.

The researchers have added fibres that bond with the concrete.

When cracks appear, the fibres keep them from becoming bigger. The ability to continuously monitor can reduce repairs, media reports added.