Concrete-healing microbial patch
BacillaFilla is an engineered microbial glue developed to repair cracks in concrete that can cause catastrophic structural failure. The result of a multidisciplinary research effort at Newcastle University, the material is designed to be spray applied near tectonic fissures. Once on the concrete surface, the spores begin to germinate and the cells swarm into the crack. When the cell density increases within the fissure, the cells activate concrete repair in three ways. They form crystals of calcium carbonate, reinforcing in the form of fibrous cells, and a natural binding agent called levan adhesive.
Grown in a batch bioreactor, BacillaFilla is created when cells undergo sporulation, and the spores are then transferred to storage containers. Because the spores do not require nutrition or constant care, they are ideally suited for long-term storage and transportation. Once sprayed on site, the microbial patch is designed to cure at roughly the same strength and pH as conventional concrete and includes a kill switch so the germination process may be terminated.
Contact: Newcastle University Center for Bacterial Cell Biology, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.
For more information, see Transmaterial Next: A Catalog of Materials that Redefine Our Future