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Self-healing concrete in fire-fighting reservoir tanks

A Port of Rotterdam Authority fire-fighting reservoir tank has been finished with special concrete walls. The addition of bacteria to the concrete makes the walls self-healing. As soon as the bacteria come into contact with water, for example through a crack, they become active and “reseal” the crack with limestone. This technology was developed by TU Delft and, following collaboration between BAM Infra and Basilisk, is now being applied in practice.

The fire-fighting reservoir tank is a concrete tank with four concrete walls and is 47 metres long, 5 metres high and 5.5 metres wide. Two walls are finished in standard concrete and, as an experiment, two have been finished with the addition of bacteria. This is the first large-scale application in a poured construction that is currently in use.

Trial in practice
In 2006, TU Delft started developing materials that could repair their own damage, including concrete. The fire-fighting reservoir tank is highly suited to self-healing concrete. On the inside it is filled with water. As soon as cracks form, external visual inspections will usually be sufficient ascertain whether the bacteria are doing their work.

Jeroen van Griethuysen, Port of Rotterdam Authority Contract Manager: “Using self-healing concrete can offer advantages in the future, particularly in terms of lower maintenance to the concrete walls. In the case of this fire-fighting reservoir tank, no repairs will need to be carried out in the event of cracking. The concrete simply does that itself.”

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