Bacteria the main ingredient in potentially pothole-proof concrete

Mike Dougherty
April 19, 2019 - 1:55 pm
Pavement cracks

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Lookout, potholes. Researchers at Drexel University have developed a bacteria that prevents cracks in concrete.

"You can use different types of bacteria to produce bio-cement," said Christopher Sales, an environmental engineer and environmental biologist, paired up with another Drexel professor who specializes in concrete. What they came up with is pretty remarkable.

"The nutrient solution we put in there, it can form essentially limestone, a natural cement," Sales said.

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He says the bacteria can be mixed with cement, or it can be sprayed on the surface to seal cracks and prevent further cracks that cause potholes.

The material is still in the development stage. And there's no definitive answer yet on how long it lasts.

"Hypothetically, they could last a pretty long time after just one application, but I'm sure there needs to be further studies to see how often we need to apply," Sales said.

Sales says growing this bacteria is similar to growing baker's yeast, so he doesn't expect it to be incredibly expensive.