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Biomimetic cementitious construction materials for next generation infrastructure

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Al-Tabbaa, A 


The resilience of civil engineering structures has traditionally been associated with the design of individual elements with sufficient capacity to respond appropriately to adverse events. This has traditionally employed ‘robust’ design procedures that focus on defining safety factors for individual adverse events and providing redundancy. As such, construction materials have traditionally been designed to specific technical specifications. Furthermore, material degradation is viewed as inevitable and mitigation necessitates expensive maintenance regimes. Based on a better understanding of natural biological systems, biomimetic materials that have the ability to adapt and respond to their environment have recently been developed. This fundamental change has the potential to facilitate the creation of a wide range of ‘smart’ materials and intelligent structures, that can self-sense and self‐repair without the need for external intervention which could transform our infrastructure. This paper presents an overview of the development, application and commercial perspectives of a suite of complementary self-healing cementitious systems that have been developed as part of a national team and led to the first UK full-scale field trials on self-healing concrete.



3403 Macromolecular and Materials Chemistry, 33 Built Environment and Design, 34 Chemical Sciences, 40 Engineering, 4005 Civil Engineering, 3302 Building, Biotechnology

Journal Title

Proceedings of the Institution of Civil Engineers: Smart Infrastructure and Construction

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ICE Publishing
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/K026631/1)
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/P02081X/1)
Financial support from The UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for the Materials for Life (M4L) grant (EP/K026631/1, 2013-2016) and the programme grant Resilient Materials for Life (RM4L, EP/02081X/1, 2017-2022) is gratefully acknowledged.