Brief 

Researchers in India have found that adding watermelon seeds to concrete can boost its compressive strength by up to 22% and reduce water absorption by 19%. Madhumati Latkar, a principal researcher on the biocementation process, said the seeds “are magic beans when it comes to imparting strength to cementitious materials.

 

Insight

NAGPUR: Watermelon seeds, known only for its nutrient qualities until now, can also be used to strengthen and heal concrete structures, thanks to a new technique developed by a team of civil engineering researchers at Visvesvaraya National Institute of Technology (VNIT).

Led by associate professor Madhumati Latkar, the researchers proved that biocementation using watermelon seeds can strengthen and heal concrete structures in cost-effective and eco-friendly manner.

Following the study, a patent has been granted by Indian Patent Office to principal investigator Latkar and her team. The research was carried out in view of the increased demand of durable building materials and need for efficient techniques to augment the physio-mechanical properties of cementitious materials.

“Durability of structures is a prime issue, and large amount of money has already been invested in it. Presently, a number of chemical admixtures are used for crack healing as well as to increase durability of structures. Using chemical admixtures has many drawbacks such as high cost and environmental pollution,” said Latkar.

 

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