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Wednesday 11 January 2023

Self-Healing Cement

Image: Unsplash

The ancients were incredible in so many ways. Like the Romans with their ability to create self-healing cement

"How does it work?
Quicklime is made up of mostly calcium carbonate.

Ancient Roman builders would mix quicklime with its lesser reactive sibling, slated lime clasts, to create a self-healing material.

When the newly bonded material is formed, the lime clasts develop tiny brittle calcium nanoparticles on their surface.

The calcium nanoparticles are highly reactive, so when tiny cracks form in the cement and water starts to trickle in, the calcium and water cause a chemical reaction, which recrystallises the cement as calcium carbonate, filling up the cracks as it builds on top of itself."

The article wonders if this was just a fluke, and maybe it was. But Rome built one of the most expansive and advanced civilisations the world has ever seen. This takes intelligence. It's incredible what the ancients could do. Self-healing cement...I could think of various uses for that around my house. Incredible. 

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