World-First Project to 'Self Heal' Cracked Concrete Using Sloppy Sludge Could Save $1.4 Billion Annual Repair Bill to Australia’s Sewer Pipes
A world-first project led by University of South Australia sustainable engineering expert Professor Yan Zhuge is trialling a novel solution to halt unprecedented levels of corrosion in the country’s ageing concrete pipelines. Self-healing concrete, in the form of microcapsules filled with water treatment sludge, could be the answer.
Corrosive acid from sulphur-oxidising bacteria in wastewater, along with excessive loads, internal pressure and temperature fluctuations are cracking pipes and reducing their life span, costing hundreds of millions of dollars to repair every year across Australia.
“Sludge waste shows promise to mitigate microbial corrosion in concrete sewer pipes because it works as a healing agent to resist acid corrosion and heal the cracks,” Prof Zhuge says.