Biomimetic Cementitious Construction Materials for Next Generation Infrastructure

Abir Al-Tabbaa, Bob Lark, Kevin Paine, Tony Jefferson, Chrysoula Litina, Diane Gardner, Tim Embley

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The resilience of civil engineering structures has traditionally been associated with the design of individual elements with sufficient capacity to respond appropriately to adverse events. This has traditionally employed ‘robust’ design procedures that focus on defining safety factors for individual adverse events and providing redundancy. As such, construction materials have traditionally been designed to specific technical specifications. Furthermore, material degradation is viewed as inevitable and mitigation necessitates expensive maintenance regimes. Based on a better understanding of natural biological systems, biomimetic materials that have the ability to adapt and respond to their environment have recently been developed. This fundamental change has the potential to facilitate the creation of a wide range of ‘smart’ materials and intelligent structures, that can self-sense and self‐repair without the need for external intervention which could transform our infrastructure. This paper presents an overview of the development, application and commercial perspectives of a suite of complementary self-healing cementitious systems that have been developed as part of a national team and led to the first UK full-scale field trials on self-healing concrete.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-76
JournalSmart Infrastructure and Construction
Issue number2
Early online date26 Nov 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Biomimetic Materials
  • Resilience
  • Infrastructure materials
  • Advanced Materials


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