Self Healing Concrete

Self Healing Materials is a new research area that gets a lot of attention in recent years. Self Healing Concrete is a term that is used for cement-based materials that repair themselves after the material or structure gets damaged due to some sort of deterioration mechanism.

In this blog we will update you on the progress of the Self Healing Concrete projects running in the section Materials & Environment and the Microlab of the faculty of Civil Engineering and Geosciences of Delft University.

This blog contains a description of the running projects that are financed by AgentschapNL, DCMat, STW and industrial partners. Also a page "Literature & Videos" is included where a lot of publications can be found.

Expansive Agents

Oguzhan Copuroglu
Kris Sisomphon
Bilal Ahmed

Self healing is a sophisticated mechanism and involves high-tech material use. So far, self healing of cracked cement-based materials has been discussed around non-native agents such as two component polymer-based agents encapsulated by glycol dimethycrylate. However, this sort of approach may not be suitable for concrete because one should encapsulate the healing agent and mix the catalyst in the cement paste. This affects the hydration kinetics and strength development of concrete. High cost of the agents is another disadvantage. Therefore the market needs low cost, cement paste compatible self-healing agents for sustainable material use.

In our project we attempt to solve this problem by using tricalcium aluminate -a natural cement mineral- as the healing agent. The idea is to use cementitous compounds to trigger an expansive reaction for crack healing. The theory behind the healing agents to be used has been known for decades in the cement and concrete science. However utilization of these agents in the self-healing context is an entirely new theme.

The project has the following advantages;
  • A well known, scientifically explainable healing process 
  • Vast amount of knowledge on the agents and the processes through literature 
  • A better controlled self-healing and cement paste compatible healing agent 
  • Cost of the material is significantly less than epoxy-based agents    

The project is carried out by Delft University of Technology. Industrial partners who have shown their interest are ENCI BV and Maxit Nederland BV.