Infrastructures and buildings are exposed to the action of microorganisms in a variety of contexts (sewer networks, agriculture, water treatment, industrial plants, external walls, inside humid buildings, etc.) with either positive or negative (detrimental) effects.
Deleterious effects of microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi and micro-algae can be of a chemical and/or physical nature. Their action can lead to the deterioration of cementitious materials because of the production of aggressive chemical agents, but also, through some specific effects of the microorganisms themselves, in the form of biofilms on the surface of materials. There can also be aesthetical effects through the proliferation of stains on external walls. Health problems can also arise from microbial proliferation indoors. Microorganisms can influence the biogeochemical conditions of nuclear waste storage. Major economic, safety, and societal issues arise from microorganisms-building materials interactions.
Meanwhile, microorganisms can be used to protect and/or repair concrete in bacteria-based engineering systems. New formulations of cementitious materials, incorporating selected bacteria, are developed with the aim to fill micro-cracks in concrete and thus improve the durability properties. Growing research efforts are devoted to all these topics.
RILEM Technical Committee 253-MCI -Microorganisms-Cementitious Materials Interactions (2013-2018),aims to achieve concerted approaches and comparisons of research outcomes in order to move toward a better understanding of the phenomena and furthermore, to standardization (for example, of test methods due to the real shortfall in this domain) and/or certification.
The TC warmly invites you to participate in its Final Conference, which will be held in Toulouse, on 25-26 June 2018.