A homeowner looks at cracks in cement in his backyard in Los Angeles, on Dec. 11, 2013. (Photo: Mario Anzuoni/Reuters)
Environmental benefitsGupta said the mixtures work on cracks and extend the life of concrete, which also benefits the environment. "Concrete is associated with not being very sustainable because every tonne of cement produces about a tonne of carbon dioxide," he said. "If you can make your structure last longer, you've actually made the material more sustainable." The university will also be testing two new tools that can measure the lifespan and the strength of concrete on buildings and infrastructure. The electrical resistivity meter tests the strength of concrete through electrical resistance currents in minutes as opposed to hours and without drilling core samples from the structure, he said. Conventional concrete strength measurements involve chloride permeability tests which take up to 10 hours for a single reading or drilling into the structure and removing a concrete sample. Also being put to use is Canada's first Laser Scanning Vibrometer, a hand held infrared device that when pointed can determine the strength of a structure through its heat signals.
Research could make bridges, buildings safer"If a structure was cracked for example you could see the thermal signature through this," Gupta said. "The use for that is you can be standing a couple hundred feet away from a bridge and you can actually monitor how the bridge is performing." B.C.'s Technology Minister Amrik Virk said the UVic research could result in safer bridges and buildings around the world. "Can you imagine concrete that heals itself?" he said. "The ability to look at aging infrastructure, not only in North America but around the world, where we could potentially apply a coating on concrete that's going to solve overpasses from falling down." B.C.'s Knowledge Development Fund provided $120,000 to Gupta's research.
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