Effect of Cellulose Fiber Addition on Autogenous Healing of Concrete and Their Use as a Bacteria-Carrier in Self-Healing Mortar




Singh, Harshbab

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Crack formation under tensile forces is a major weakness of concrete. Cracks make concrete vulnerable to the extreme environment due to the ingress of water and harmful compounds from the surrounding environment. Conventional methods of crack repairing are expensive and time consuming. It is estimated that in Europe, cost related to repair works is half of the annual construction budget and the US has average annual maintenance cost for existing bridges through the year is estimated to $5.2 billion. To overcome this problem, a self-healing concrete is produced based on the application of mineral producing alkaliphilic Bacillus Subtilis (strain 168) bacteria. Metabolic activities of these bacteria on calcium-based nutrients results in precipitation of calcium carbonate, which helps to repair concrete cracks. In bacteria based self-healing concrete, the bacteria are protected in the dense cementitious matrix by encapsulating them in “bacteria-carriers”. However, the presently available bacteria-carriers are not always suitable for concrete because of their complex manufacturing procedures or high cost. With the aim to develop a more suitable bacteria-carrier, in this study feasibility of cellulose fiber as a novel bacteria-carrier for self-healing mortar is investigated. Cellulose fibers compared to other bacteria-carriers can serve the dual purpose of arresting cracks and at the same time be a bacteria-carrier in large scale concrete construction. Two types of bacterial mortar by using cellulose fiber as a carrier was prepared. For one type, nutrients were added inside the mortar mix, while for the other, nutrients were added into the curing water. The two types of composites; control and cellulose fiber reinforced concrete (CeFRC) have also been investigated for autogenous healing of concrete. The crack healing efficiency of bacterial mortars was investigated using image analysis and ultrasonic pulse velocity (UPV) test and compared with unreinforced and control cellulose fiber mortars. Variation in compressive strength for all mixes compared to control mortar is also presented in this thesis. Research shows that self-sealing mortar using cellulose fiber as a bacteria-carrier result in maximum self-healing as compared to other mixes. This study also aims to evaluate the self-healing potential and water permeability of CeFRC. Compressive strength and flexural tests were also performed to evaluate the mechanical properties of the composites. Water permeability test was used to evaluate the coefficient of permeability and the self-healing performance was investigated by using UPV and a patented self-healing test. The results indicate that the water permeability coefficient decreased by 42% (+15% or -21%) whereas the healing ratio increased at a higher rate for the initial days of healing when cellulose fibers were added in the concrete. CeFRC also results in a 7.8% increase in flexural strength.



Concrete, Self-healing, Bacteria-Carrier, Cellulose Fibers, UPV