Biomimetic multi-scale damage immunity for construction materials: M4L project overview

Robert Lark, Abir Al-Tabbaa, K A Paine

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

This paper presents a vision of a sustainable and resilient built environment that is comprised of materials and structures that continually monitor, regulate, adapt and repair themselves without the need for external intervention. In this way, these self‐healing materials and intelligent structures will significantly enhance durability and serviceability, improve safety and reduce maintenance costs. The conglomerate materials that form the basis of the majority of such construction materials (concrete, grouts, mortars, hydraulically bound materials, grouted soils etc), are extremely complex multiphase composites with multi‐scale internal structures that exhibit a hierarchy of multi‐dimensional, time‐dependent damage mechanisms. For example, in cementitious composites nano‐scale damage occurs during hydration and the strength development phase, while medium‐term damage due to chemical attack also leads to the formation of defects in its structure. Other short‐term factors can also produce dislocations at the nano-scale. In time, this nano‐damage grows to form micro-cracks which eventually coalesce to form networks of meso‐cracks which in turn lead to debonding between the paste and aggregate particles, followed by a discrete number of visible macro‐cracks which so often lead to corrosion of the steel reinforcement. Hence, it is evident that to truly achieve a self‐healing cementitious composite, a system is needed that can act at both the different time and length scales at which the damage can form. This paper presents a newly funded research project, M4L: Materials for life, that is addressing this complex problem by taking advantage of innovations in allied scientific disciplines to pave the way for the development of a new generation of versatile and robust construction materials.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationICSHM 2013: Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Self-Healing Materials, Ghent, Belgium, June 16-20, 2013
Place of PublicationGhent
PublisherDelft University of Technology
Pages400-404
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9789082073713
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2013
EventICSHM 2013: Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Self-Healing Materials - Ghent, Belgium
Duration: 16 Jun 201320 Jun 2013

Conference

ConferenceICSHM 2013: Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Self-Healing Materials
CountryBelgium
CityGhent
Period16/06/1320/06/13

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  • Cite this

    Lark, R., Al-Tabbaa, A., & Paine, K. A. (2013). Biomimetic multi-scale damage immunity for construction materials: M4L project overview. In ICSHM 2013: Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Self-Healing Materials, Ghent, Belgium, June 16-20, 2013 (pp. 400-404). Delft University of Technology.