Water tightness of a concrete cover layer is important, as it is typically used as a protective coating of the steel reinforcement. Water tightness can be impaired by crack formation or by permeability. A bacteria-based lactate-derived healing agent (HA) can be added to concrete to enhance the potential for restoration of water tightness. Bacterial conversion of the included carbon source results in CO2
production and subsequent CaCO3
precipitation, similar to the mechanism of concrete carbonation. Carbonation is known to densify concrete, particularly when using ordinary Portland cement (OPC), but to a much lower extend in slag-based concrete (CEM III/B). To identify the effect of HA addition on concrete properties, this study focusses on the ingress of moisture in non-cracked concrete surfaces by assessing capillary water absorption. Surface properties were determined for sealed and unsealed surfaces of concrete—either based on OPC or CEM III/B—before and after curing under three different conditions: Dry, wet, or humid. HA addition to concrete containing slag cement generated a surface less prone to continued drying, but resulted in higher water absorption. In contrast, surface water absorption significantly decreased upon HA addition to OPC-based samples, independent of the curing regime. It is therefore concluded that HA in its current form is suitable for application in OPC, but less in CEM III/B-based mixtures.
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