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Drexel U. Finds Bacteria Protects Concrete
Protects Roads and Sidewalks from Salt Corrosion

Drexel U. Finds Bacteria Protects Concrete

According to data from the U.S. Geological Survey, in 2014 there were more than 20 million metric tons of road salt used for deicing in the United States. The highest ever since the founding of the practice in 1940.

The Inquirer, the newspaper found on, estimates that 900,000 tons of salt will be spread on roads across Pennsylvania in 2019. They report that while the salt is an ideal solution for lowering the freezing point of water, it is not so ideal for concrete roads and sidewalks.

In order to combat salt's harsh effects on infrastructure, researchers at Drexel University, a private university in Philadelphia, have discovered that bacteria-laced concrete resists the damaging effects of calcium chloride (salt) better than regular concrete.

Reportedly, when concrete is infused with the bacteria, it has a better chance of preventing formation of a damaging substance called calcium oxychloride, also known as bleaching powder. This chemical expands inside the concrete and causes cracks to form.

The bacteria the researchers used is called S. pasteurii, and interestingly, this is the same strain of bacteria that is used in self-healing concrete applications.

If you are interested in learning more about concrete advancements in general, stay tuned for February's issue of Landscape Architect and Specifier News magazine where we will include an in-depth article on the recent concrete advancements from around the globe!

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August 24, 2019, 1:05 am PDT

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