Motivation: “In order to foster sustainable development, we can get inspired by nature. One of the natural examples is automatic repair, like in our bones, which we could bring to the construction industry by using self-healing concrete. With specific bacteria it is possible to protect the structures: in case of cracks ingress water will penetrate the concrete, the bacteria will awake and automatically produce minerals that will block the water leakage.
Self-healing increases the resilience by retaining the functionality of the infrastructure in case of unforeseen events. Temperature differences, subsidence of the soil or earthquakes can cause crack formation that may lead to leakage issues. When the leakages are automatically healed, the loss of resources, such as water, is reduced and the structure can keep operating.
Additionally, self-healing can reduce the environmental and economical impact of a construction over its life cycle. Minimizing the repair and maintenance also reduces the use of material and labour involved, with the corresponding expenses and environmental burden. Furthermore, the self-healing material can be developed using residues, which can foster the development of a circular economy.
Sustainable and innovative building methods and materials should be adopted by the construction sector. The current and future necessities, possibilities and benefits can be explored from the interaction between the involved stakeholders, such as regulators, researchers and industry. The exchange of knowledge could indicate the necessary actions and potential to develop projects and research in the local and global context.”