Nav: Home

Boost for groundbreaking research into self-healing construction materials

March 17, 2017

Science Minister, Jo Johnson, will meet with researcher Professor Bob Lark at Cardiff University today to learn about ground-breaking research into the development of self-healing concrete that could lead to huge savings in maintenance costs and greater protection for the UK's infrastructure. The project has today received fresh funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

The Resilient Materials 4 Life (RM4L) project, supported with an investment of £4.7 million by EPSRC, will look to build on the success of the Materials 4 Life (M4L) project that has led to major advances in the development of transformative construction materials, such as adaptable, self-diagnosing and self-healing materials.

RM4L will be led by Cardiff University, the University of Cambridge, the University of Bath and the University of Bradford as well as industry partners. The overall project cost will be around £6 million, including contributions from partners.

M4L was announced in 2013, and led to a number of developments in the field of these innovative new technologies, including the UK's first self-healing concrete trials using materials such as shape-memory polymers, microcapsules and flow networks containing mineral-based healing agents and calcite forming bacteria.

As part of RM4L, researchers will aim to effect a transformation in construction materials by using the biomimetic approach first adopted in M4L to create smart materials that will adapt to their environment, develop immunity to harmful actions, self-diagnose the onset of deterioration and self-heal when damaged.

The project's findings will benefit bodies and companies responsible for the provision, management and maintenance of built environment infrastructure, and the researchers will work with industry partners in the construction supply chain throughout the duration of RM4L.

Science Minister, Jo Johnson said: "The Resilient Materials 4 Life project is a great example of research being used to find solutions and improve ways of working.

"Through our Industrial Strategy and our record investment of £4.7 billion for research and development, we will continue to support projects like this, ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of innovation for years to come."

RM4L represents a further boost for infrastructure research in the UK, after EPSRC announced an investment of £125 million to support the establishment of the UK Collaboratorium for Research on Infrastructure and Cities (UKCRIC) at 14 universities, earlier this month.

Professor Philip Nelson, Chief Executive of EPSRC, said: "Resilient Materials 4 Life has the potential to revolutionise the way our infrastructure copes with long-term wear and tear and reduce costs significantly.

"Moreover, as part of EPSRC's continuing support for world-leading research in this vital field it will help, through the upgrading of the nation's infrastructure, to keep the UK a prosperous and resilient nation."

Professor Bob Lark, Professor of Civil Engineering at Cardiff University and Principal Investigator for the project, said: "This is a wonderful opportunity to build on the exciting findings of M4L to ensure that we address the full range of complex damage and response scenarios that are experienced by construction materials.

"We are confident that our research will have a significant impact on the sustainability of our infrastructure and we are very grateful to EPSRC for their vote of confidence in what we are endeavouring to achieve."
-end-
For media enquiries contact:

Michael Bishop, Senior Communications Officer, Cardiff University
Tel: 02920 874499 / 07713 325 300, e-mail: bishopm1@cardiff.ac.uk

Or the EPSRC Press Office, Tel: 01793 444 404, e-mail: pressoffice@epsrc.ac.uk

Notes to Editors:

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC)


As the main funding agency for engineering and physical sciences research, our vision is for the UK to be the best place in the world to Research, Discover and Innovate.

By investing £800 million a year in research and postgraduate training, we are building the knowledge and skills base needed to address the scientific and technological challenges facing the nation. Our portfolio covers a vast range of fields from healthcare technologies to structural engineering, manufacturing to mathematics, advanced materials to chemistry. The research we fund has impact across all sectors. It provides a platform for future economic development in the UK and improvements for everyone's health, lifestyle and culture.

We work collectively with our partners and other Research Councils on issues of common concern via Research Councils UK.

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

Related Engineering Articles:

Engineering the meniscus
Damage to the meniscus is common, but there remains an unmet need for improved restorative therapies that can overcome poor healing in the avascular regions.
Artificially engineering the intestine
Short bowel syndrome is a debilitating condition with few treatment options, and these treatments have limited efficacy.
Reverse engineering the fireworks of life
An interdisciplinary team of Princeton researchers has successfully reverse engineered the components and sequence of events that lead to microtubule branching.
New method for engineering metabolic pathways
Two approaches provide a faster way to create enzymes and analyze their reactions, leading to the design of more complex molecules.
Engineering for high-speed devices
A research team from the University of Delaware has developed cutting-edge technology for photonics devices that could enable faster communications between phones and computers.
Breakthrough in blood vessel engineering
Growing functional blood vessel networks is no easy task. Previously, other groups have made networks that span millimeters in size.
Next-gen batteries possible with new engineering approach
Dramatically longer-lasting, faster-charging and safer lithium metal batteries may be possible, according to Penn State research, recently published in Nature Energy.
What can snakes teach us about engineering friction?
If you want to know how to make a sneaker with better traction, just ask a snake.
Engineering a plastic-eating enzyme
Scientists have engineered an enzyme which can digest some of our most commonly polluting plastics, providing a potential solution to one of the world's biggest environmental problems.
A new way to do metabolic engineering
University of Illinois researchers have created a novel metabolic engineering method that combines transcriptional activation, transcriptional interference, and gene deletion, and executes them simultaneously, making the process faster and easier.
More Engineering News and Engineering Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.