Saturday January 07, 2017
Driverless car, meet self repairing road
Most of us pay little attention to the concrete that surrounds us, unless it's falling apart.
And that happens often enough.
That's because concrete is a brittle material -- Canadians are familiar with bridges in Montreal deteriorating, or chunks of the Don Valley Expressway crumbling.
But a Canadian researcher is working on a type of concrete that can essentially 'heal' itself. Dr. Nemkumar Banthia uses tiny fibres to reinforce concrete and to prevent cracks from getting too big. Those fibres also have a hydrophilic nano-coating, which attracts moisture to help produce more silicate material which fills in any cracks that do occur.
It's like using stitches to hold a cut together, and then tissue eventually fills in the gap.
This material is being tested for the first time on a road in Southern India, and this spring, another road will be constructed on the Lubicon Lake First Nations Reserve, north of Edmonton.