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Materials 2016, 9(5), 311; doi:10.3390/ma9050311

Neutron Radiography Based Visualization and Profiling of Water Uptake in (Un)cracked and Autonomously Healed Cementitious Materials

1
Magnel Laboratory for Concrete Research, Department of Structural Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Ghent University, Technologiepark Zwijnaarde 904, Ghent B-9052, Belgium
2
Strategic Initiative Materials (SIM vzw), project ISHECO within the program ‘SHE’, Technologiepark Zwijnaarde 935, Ghent B-9052, Belgium
3
LEMIT, Laboratory for Multidisciplinary Training in Technological Research, 52 entre 121 y 122 s/n, La Plata 1900, Argentina
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Hong Wong
Received: 23 February 2016 / Revised: 11 April 2016 / Accepted: 20 April 2016 / Published: 26 April 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Image Analysis and Processing for Cement-based Materials)

Abstract

Given their low tensile strength, cement-based materials are very susceptible to cracking. These cracks serve as preferential pathways for corrosion inducing substances. For large concrete infrastructure works, currently available time-consuming manual repair techniques are not always an option. Often, one simply cannot reach the damaged areas and when making those areas accessible anyway (e.g., by redirecting traffic), the economic impacts involved would be enormous. Under those circumstances, it might be useful to have concrete with an embedded autonomous healing mechanism. In this paper, the effectiveness of incorporating encapsulated high and low viscosity polyurethane-based healing agents to ensure (multiple) crack healing has been investigated by means of capillary absorption tests on mortar while monitoring the time-dependent water ingress with neutron radiography. Overall visual interpretation and water front/sample cross-section area ratios as well as water profiles representing the area around the crack and their integrals do not show a preference for the high or low viscosity healing agent. Another observation is that in presence of two cracks, only one is properly healed, especially when using the latter healing agent. Exposure to water immediately after release of the healing agent stimulates the foaming reaction of the polyurethane and ensures a better crack closure. View Full-Text
Keywords: neutron radiography; capillary water absorption; mortar; cracks; autonomous self-healing; encapsulated polyurethane; viscosity neutron radiography; capillary water absorption; mortar; cracks; autonomous self-healing; encapsulated polyurethane; viscosity
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Van den Heede, P.; Van Belleghem, B.; Alderete, N.; Van Tittelboom, K.; De Belie, N. Neutron Radiography Based Visualization and Profiling of Water Uptake in (Un)cracked and Autonomously Healed Cementitious Materials. Materials 2016, 9, 311.

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