Self-healing fungi concrete could provide sustainable solution to crumbling infrastructure

A new self-healing fungi concrete, co-developed by researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York, could help repair cracks in aging concrete permanently, and help save America’s crumbling infrastructure. Congrui Jin, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Binghamton University, has researched concrete and found that the problem stems from the smallest of cracks. “Without proper treatment, cracks tend to progress further and eventually require costly repair,” said Jin. “If micro-cracks expand and reach the steel reinforcement, not only the concrete will be attacked, but also the reinforcement will be corroded, as it is exposed to water, oxygen, possibly CO2 and chlorides, leading to structural failure.” These cracks can cause huge and sometimes unseen problems for infrastructure. One potentially critical example is the case of nuclear power plants that may use concrete for radiation shielding. While remaking a structure would replace […]

Recording a thought through the brain

University of California, Berkeley neuroscientists have tracked the progress of a thought through the brain, showing clearly how the prefrontal cortex at the front of the brain coordinates activity to help us act in response to a perception. Recording the electrical activity of neurons directly from the surface of the brain, the scientists found that for a simple task, such as repeating a word presented visually or aurally, the visual and auditory cortexes reacted first to perceive the word. The prefrontal cortex then kicked in to interpret the meaning, followed by activation of the motor cortex in preparation for a response. During the half-second between stimulus and response, the prefrontal cortex remained active to coordinate all the other brain areas. For a particularly hard task, like determining the antonym of a word, the brain required several seconds to respond, during […]