Nature-based solutions

Durable, low carbon precast structures & sustainable construction materials.

What is it?

Nature-based precast solutions is in collaboration with JP Concrete and the University of Liverpool. We are investigating the use of bio-concrete to create more resilient and environmentally friendly precast walls for building retaining structures and infrastructure projects.

What are the applications?

Infrastructure

Cracks in concrete are common, as a result of its low tensile strength. The durability of concrete is affected by the cracks, as they provide an easy path for liquids and gasses to get to reinforcement. If cracks grow and liquid reaches the reinforcement, it will weaken the concrete and corrode the steel. Controlling crack widths will reduce maintenance and repair costs and extend the life-span of a concrete structure.

Environmental

Seawalls and breakwaters are used for waterfronts, harbours, and foreshores. These structures protect shorelines and coastal areas against erosion and protect low-lying areas of land. Artificial structures currently used for coastal armouring have radically altered the marine environment.

Industry

Approximately 5% of the global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions caused by humans comes from cement production. As a result, there is growing interest in developing low-carbon cement. More environmentally friendly alternatives to cement are needed to reduce the carbon footprint of concrete structures.

What are the objectives?

Minimise

Minimise the carbon footprint for manufacturing nature-based reinforced concrete.

Replace

Replace ordinary concrete with bio-concrete, preventing the formation of cracks.

Reduce

Reduce the cost of replacing existing structural walls that are deteriorating.

What is self-healing concrete?

Self-healing concrete is a more sustainable and durable approach to concrete design, using a combination of healing agents, bacterial action, and memory polymer tendons. Self-Healing concrete allows concrete to have a 40% longer life span, requiring 30 to 40% less maintenance than regular concrete.

How does it work?

Concrete cracks

Cracking is common in concrete structures but leads to corrosion in reinforcement.

Autonomous repair

Bacteria in the concrete mix will multiply and begin producing limestone when in contact with water.

Cracks are sealed

The limestone autonomously repairs cracks and prevents leakage, protecting the reinforcement.

What are the benefits?

Durability

Increases durability (by reducing the formation of cracks) and protects the embedded steel reinforcement from corrosion.

Life Span

40% longer life span, for structures exposed to harsh environments, e.g. structural walls for flood defence.

Cost Saving

Cost-effective solution for existing structures, especially ones that exhibit significant ageing effects.

Low Maintenance

Increased water tightness and 30 to 40% less maintenance.

Sustainability

Reduction of raw materials (cement, gravel, sand and steel) and CO2 emission.

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