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Open AccessArticle

Evaluation of the Self-Healing Ability of Mortar Mixtures Containing Superabsorbent Polymers and Nanosilica

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Department Mechanics of Materials and Constructions, Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB), Pleinlaan 2, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
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Magnel-Vandepitte Laboratory for Building Materials and Structures, Department of Structural Engineering and Building Materials, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture, Ghent University, Tech Lane Ghent Science Park, Technologiepark Zwijnaarde 60, 9052 Ghent, Belgium
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Polymer Chemistry & Biomaterials Research Group, Centre of Macromolecular Chemistry, Ghent University, Krijgslaan 281 S4-Bis, 9000 Ghent, Belgium
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2020, 13(2), 380; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma13020380
Received: 11 December 2019 / Revised: 8 January 2020 / Accepted: 10 January 2020 / Published: 14 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Self-Healing and Smart Cementitious Construction Materials)
Addition of superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) to cementitious mixtures promotes the self-healing ability of the material. When cracking occurs; SAPs present inside the crack will swell upon contact with water and subsequently release this water to stimulate the further hydration of unhydrated cement particles and the calcium carbonate crystallization. However; the inclusion of SAPs affects the mechanical performance of the cementitious material by the creation of macro-pores as water is retracted from the swollen SAP. To counteract the reduction in strength, part of the cement is replaced by nanosilica. In this research, different mixtures containing either SAPs or nanosilica and a combination of both were made. The samples were subjected to wet–dry cycles simulating external conditions, and the self-healing efficiency was evaluated by means of the evolution in crack width, by optical measurements, and a water permeability test. In samples containing SAPs, an immediate sealing effect was observed and visual crack closure was noticed. The smaller influence on the mechanical properties and the good healing characteristics in mixtures containing both nanosilica and SAPs are promising as a future material for use in building applications. View Full-Text
Keywords: self-healing concrete; water permeability; crack width measurement; hydrogels; nanosilica self-healing concrete; water permeability; crack width measurement; hydrogels; nanosilica
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Lefever, G.; Snoeck, D.; Aggelis, D.G.; De Belie, N.; Van Vlierberghe, S.; Van Hemelrijck, D. Evaluation of the Self-Healing Ability of Mortar Mixtures Containing Superabsorbent Polymers and Nanosilica. Materials 2020, 13, 380.

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