Science Fiction Dictionary
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

 

Bendable, Self-Healing Concrete

Concrete that heals itself has been developed at the University of Michigan. The engineered cement composite is designed to bend; it cracks in narrow hairlines rather than in wide gaps, as does standard concrete. The material was developed in the lab of Victor Li, the E. Benjamin Wylie Collegiate Professor of Civil Engineering and a professor of Materials Science and Engineering.


(Bendable concrete - a self-healing engineered cement composite)

The engineers found that cracks must be kept below 150 micrometers, and preferably below 50, for full healing...

More flexible than traditional concrete, ECC acts more like metal than glass. Traditional concrete is considered a ceramic. Brittle and rigid, it can suffer catastrophic failure when strained in an earthquake or by routine overuse, Li said. But flexible ECC bends without breaking. It is studded with specially-coated reinforcing fibers that hold it together. ECC remains intact and safe to use at tensile strains up to 5 percent. Traditional concrete fractures and can’t carry a load at .01 percent tensile strain.

The average crack width in [the] self-healing concrete is below 60 micrometers. That’s about half the width of a human hair. His recipe ensures that extra dry cement in the concrete exposed on the crack surfaces can react with water and carbon dioxide to heal and form a thin white scar of calcium carbonate. Calcium carbonate is a strong compound found naturally in seashells. In the lab, the material requires between one and five cycles of wetting and drying to heal.

The first time I read about the idea of a bendable, self-healing material was in the work of science fiction writer J.G. Ballard. In his 1962 short story The Thousand Dreams of Stellavista, he wrote about psychotropic houses with bendable walls that responded to the emotions of visitors. The walls were made of plastex.

It was a beautiful room all right, with opaque plastex walls and white fluo-glass ceiling, but something terrible had happened there. As it responded to me, the ceiling lifting slightly and the walls growing less opaque, reflecting my perspective-seeking eye, I noticed that curious mottled knots were forming, indicating where the room had been strained and healed faultily.
(Read more about plastex)

Update 28-Apr-2012: In his 1951 novel Asteroid of Fear, Raymond Z. Gallun wrote about self-sealing plastic that was used in space to protect against damage by micrometeorites.

...It even had an inter-skin layer of gum that could seal the punctures that grain-of-sand-sized meteors might make.

End update.

If the idea of a self-healing house or structure appeals to you, read about an entirely different approach taken in Nanotech Self-Healing Houses .

From Self-healing concrete for safer, more durable infrastructure - UM News service.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/6/2009)

Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.

| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |

Would you like to contribute a story tip? It's easy:
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add it here.

Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )

Related News Stories - (" Material ")

RUSSE Self-Healing Plastic Works Underwater
'It even had an inter-skin layer of gum that could seal the punctures...' - Raymond Z. Gallun, 1951.

Pyrus, An Alternative Wood Made From Kombucha
Science fiction has just the word you'll need for that real wood from trees you've been using. Until now.

Grow Wood Without Trees
Pretty soon, you'll start seeing this term on very expensive items.

New Material Absorbs and Stores Solar Energy
'The light that is thus trapped can be released by making a small spark near the glass.' - L. Sprague de Camp, 1940.

 

Google
  Web TechNovelgy.com   

Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!) is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for the Invention Category that interests you, the Glossary, the Invention Timeline, or see what's New.

 

 

 

 

Science Fiction Timeline
1600-1899
1900-1939
1940's   1950's
1960's   1970's
1980's   1990's
2000's   2010's

Current News

Omni Hoverboard Envy Of Green Goblin
'I brought it back to the ship, charged it up, reprogrammed the inertia chips and voila!'

Jetson ONE Speeds Through The Forest
'Over there! Two more of them!'

Facebook's Algorithmic News Feed Knows Better Than You Do
'Their playmates were not “real,” but they were a lot realer than, say, a Betsy-Wetsy doll.'

Tselina Spacecraft Platform Destroyed In Russian Anti-Satellite Test
'pirate three-vee satellites sanded out of orbit...'

Burro Robot Follows You And Gets Smarter
'Oh, there you are! the balloon piped at the amorphous mass of living tissue...'

Tiangong Space Station! Exercise Like It's 1953
'He couldn't imitate actual gravity, of course...'

Facebook Unexpectedly Turns Away From Sfnal Face Recognition
'... the imprint of her image on the telephoto cell.'

Taihang Solar Farm Accurately Pictured In 1911
'The entire expanse, twenty kilometers square, was covered ... the photo-electric elements which transformed the solar heat direct into electric energy.'

Galaxy Z Fold 3 Perfect For William Gibson's 'Control-Face'
'Chia recognized the square as the control-face of the computer she'd seen in his room.'

Amazon Automatic Packaging Catches Up With Gernsback's 1911 Book
'The automatic packing machine could pack anything from a small package a few inches square up to a box two feet high by three feet long.'

Your Car Will Be Watching You!
'Mr. Garden, you are in no condition to drive...'

Orbital Reef: Bezos' High Orbit Archipelago
'Tessier-Ashpool ascended to high orbit's archipelago to find the ecliptic sparsely marked with military stations and the first automated factories of the cartels.'

Best Space Tacos Made From ISS-Grown Chilis
That's some spicy tacos.

Poor Humans. Miami Herald Bot Writes Great Real Estate Articles.
'Nothing of news-interest escape it...'

International Space Mission Never Leaves Earth
'That gives it complete isolation.'

Seriously, Was Our Universe Created In A Lab?
'It is an instrument with which I am going to create a microcosm.'

More SF in the News Stories

More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories

Home | Glossary | Invention Timeline | Category | New | Contact Us | FAQ | Advertise |
Technovelgy.com - where science meets fiction™

Copyright© Technovelgy LLC; all rights reserved.