Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Science & Technology: US Lab Develops Self-Healing Cement that Performs Strongly in Harsh Geothermal Conditions

A sidewalk that repairs itself? PNNL cracks the code for self-healing cement (Tri-City Herald)

On the left, conventional cement shows the damage caused by harsh conditions found in power plants, geothermal wells, dams or in gas and oil applications. In contrast, PNNL’s self-healing cement, on the right, could begin repairing itself within 24 hours of a crack appearing. Courtesy Andrea Starr, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) researchers are developing a self-healing cement for use in harsh environments where cement can fail over time due to exposure to chemical and physical stresses. When cement in power plants, geothermal wells, oil and gas applications, or hydroelectric dams fails, it can lead to expensive excavation, repair and replacement costs, along with lost production time and revenue, and potential environmental concerns.

With funding from DOE’s Geothermal Technology Office, PNNL scientists have been using their chemistry and materials science know-how to create self-healing cements by adding polymers to traditional cement mixes. The resulting cement has re-adhering properties that extend its lifetime and reduce the risk of failure.