New Technology Uses Cracked Concrete and Fungus to Preserve the Integrity of Buildings


It sounds like science fiction, but it isn’t. It’s pure science.

Concrete and Cracks 101

Far be it from us to preach about concrete and cracking to a roomful of architects and engineers, but we’d like to take a minute to outline a couple of basics for those readers who are less familiar with the intricacies.

Concrete, the most ubiquitous building material on Earth, has one unavoidable weakness: its tendency to crack. Ironically, cracking is made worse by the very thing that made concrete so popular in the first place: its compatibility with steel, and the ability of reinforced concrete to meet the requirements for an advanced building material. Not all cracks are the same, though, and to the trained eye, they’re as individually identifiable as a fingerprint. Additionally, cracks can be caused by several different factors such as deformation, hydraulic shrinkage, thermal shrinkage, swelling, and corrosion. It’s the latter we’ll be focusing on.

The Champlain Towers South condo building. Major structural issues resulted in tragic loss of life.

An initial failure may have triggered a structural avalanche.

There was something very, very wrong with this situation.

With the technological advances available in the AEC industry today, how could this be prevented in the future?

Structural steel, the very material that is intended to strengthen and reinforce concrete, can inversely weaken it if rust becomes an issue. Bioconcrete may help reduce or prevent this phenomenon.

Everything It’s Cracked Up To Be

Water and oxygen find their way in, which causes the fungal spores to germinate.

The Skin That You’re In

Perhaps the use of bioconcrete should be considered for more frequent application in the AEC industry.

Easing the Load

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