Formation of cracks impairs the durability of concrete elements. Corrosion inducing substances, such as chlorides, can enter the matrix through these cracks and cause steel reinforcement corrosion and concrete degradation. Self-repair of concrete cracks is an innovative technique which has been studied extensively during the past decade and which may help to increase the sustainability of concrete. However, the experiments conducted until now did not allow for an assessment of the service life extension possible with self-healing concrete in comparison with traditional (cracked) concrete. In this research, a service life prediction of self-healing concrete was done based on input from chloride diffusion tests. Self-healing of cracks with encapsulated polyurethane precursor formed a partial barrier against immediate ingress of chlorides through the cracks. Application of self-healing concrete was able to reduce the chloride concentration in a cracked zone by 75% or more. As a result, service life of steel reinforced self-healing concrete slabs in marine environments could amount to 60–94 years as opposed to only seven years for ordinary (cracked) concrete. Subsequent life cycle assessment calculations indicated important environmental benefits (56%–75%) for the ten CML-IA (Center of Environmental Science of Leiden University–Impact Assessment) baseline impact indicators which are mainly induced by the achievable service life extension.
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