4th year student with the Department of Engineering.
Concrete, the most widely used man-made material, is susceptible to cracking. Cracks allow corrosive substances to enter the concrete which corrode the steel reinforcement. In extreme cases, this can lead to catastrophic structural failure. For this reason, continual inspection, maintenance and repair is required to close cracks in order to maintain acceptable levels of structural performance.
In self-healing concrete, microcapsules are added into the concrete that disperse throughout the material. When a crack forms, it propagates and ruptures the capsule thereby releasing its contents. The encapsulated material subsequently reacts with the environment to create sealing or healing of the crack.