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Bacteria-based self-healing concrete: evaluation of full scale demonstrator projects


Medium: journal article
Language(s): English
Published in: RILEM Technical Letters, , v. 4
Page(s): 138-144
DOI: 10.21809/rilemtechlett.2019.93

Bacteria-based self-healing concrete is an innovative concrete that contains a self-healing agent that provides the material with enhanced autonomous crack-sealing performance. A specific type of this concrete, based on a healing agent composed of bacterial spores and lactate as carbon source, has been developed and applied by the Delft University of Technology for over ten years. Under laboratory conditions it was proven that, depending on the dosage of healing agent, self-healing of cracks up to 0.8 mm widths occurs. As such the material potentially allows reduction of steel reinforcement used for crack width limitation in watertight constructions. Application of  self-healing concrete would therefore not only result in a reduction of costs but also in improvement of environmental performance (lower CO₂ footprint) and ease of in situ casting due to reduction of use of steel in waterproof applications. However, according to the EN 1990 Eurocode (Basis of structural design), customary application of a novel type of concrete must be preceded by full scale demonstrators proving evidence for safe and functional performance. In this contribution we portray full scale application of bacteria-based self-healing agent as developed by the Delft research group in two repair mortar- and in two concrete construction demonstrator projects. These demonstrator projects show that addition of the bacteria-based self-healing agent to the concrete mix is safe as no negative side effects on construction performance was observed. However, it also proved difficult to find evidence for increased crack-healing performance as cracking in the demonstrator constructions hardly occurred. In further full scale demonstrators we therefore plan to drastically reduce amount of crack width-restraining reinforcement to show crack-healing capacity and potential to save on use of reinforcement steel in watertight concrete constructions.


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