Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering

Materials for Life (M4L): Biomimetic multiscale damage immunity for construction materials

At a glance

Funding: EPSRC
Principal investigator (at Bath): Kevin Paine
Co-investigators: Dr Richard Cooper, Dr Andrew Heath, Dr Trupti Sharma, Mr Mohamed Alazhari

Full details on academic and industrial collaborators are available at

Materials for life logo

Inspired by nature, the intention of this project is to develop an interdisciplinary, multiscale system utilising a range of technologies to promote and enable self‐healing of construction materials over various timescales; in particular, there is a focus on conglomerate materials such as concrete, grouts, mortars, hydraulically bound materials and grouted soil systems.

A range of damage scenarios and structural and geotechnical engineering applications are being addressed including, at the micro‐scale, microbiological and chemical healing, focusing on both the methods of delivery (e.g. microencapsulation) and the operation of these systems. At the meso‐scale the overall impact and distribution of these microscopic systems are being considered and optimised. At the macro‐scale, large‐scale healing systems, such as shrinkable polymers and vascular networks are being developed and implemented.

Combinations of these systems in different materials and scenarios to give a whole‐material response to damage at a range of spatial and temporal scales are being exploited and field‐scale tests to address relevant aspects of scale‐up, cost, commercialisation as well as full‐scale damage scenarios are going to be performed.

The project consortium of Cardiff University (lead partner), the University of Bath and the University of Cambridge has the required interdisciplinary mix of civil engineering and science expertise to lead this novel and challenging research both nationally and internationally.

The proposal was developed through the EPSRC-funded networks LimesNet and the Future Infrastructure Forum. The project also benefits from an industry led steering committee comprising both industrial and academic collaborators from across the world. Find out more on the project website.