The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has invested £4.7 million in the development of materials such as shape-memory polymers and self-healing concrete.
The Resilient Materials 4 Life (RM4L) project will look to build on the success of the Materials 4 Life (M4L) project, which launched in 2013.
Cardiff University, the University of Cambridge, the University of Bath and the University of Bradford, and industry partners will lead RM4L, which will cost around £6 million in total.
As part of RM4L, researchers will aim to create “new” construction materials by using the biomimetic approach first adopted in M4L to develop smart materials that can adapt to their environment, develop immunity to harmful actions, self-diagnose the onset of deterioration and self-heal when damaged, EPSRC said.
EPSRC chief executive Philip Nelson said: “Resilient Materials 4 Life has the potential to revolutionise the way our infrastructure copes with long-term wear and tear and reduce costs significantly.
“Moreover, as part of EPSRC's continuing support for world-leading research in this vital field it will help, through the upgrading of the nation's infrastructure, to keep the UK a prosperous and resilient nation.”
One of the major breakthrough technologies of the original M4L project was self-healing concrete. Science minister Jo Johnson met project researcher Professor Bob Lark at Cardiff University last week to learn about its development and future commercial use.
Johnson said: “Through our Industrial Strategy and our record investment of £4.7 billion for research and development, we will continue to support projects like this, ensuring the UK remains at the forefront of innovation for years to come.”