Concrete is a popular material broadly used in construction of buildings and large civil structures. The disadvantage that spoils proper functioning of this material is its tendency of getting cracked quite easily when tension is applied. Considering a situation in which cracks developed in a concrete structure are not sustained but self-repaired by the material itself (Van Tittelboom and De Belie, 2013). This is quite an astonishing fact that such a material does exists with properties of 'Self-healing'. The process of recovery which involves direct intervention by the subject that has experienced defects or faults is self-healing. This new concrete or the self-healing concrete is a quintessential element which has transformed the world of civil engineering.
Intrinsic characteristics of concrete had largely influenced civil engineering companies to incorporate this element in building basic structures. However, scientific researches have enlightened the fact that long term use of concrete is less favourable in non-ideal environment. There is development of cracks when concrete is subjected to continuous pressure in harsh environments (Šavija and et. al., 2016). For instance, rains, earthquakes and heavy flow of wind lead to movements in the developed structure which further leads to weakening of the entire structure. Before implementing any new material or element as a step of advancement, it is important to check the validity and effectiveness of the concerned material.
There is about 4.3 billion tons of production of cement every year (Bacterial Concrete or Self Healing Concrete For Repair of Cracks in Structures, 2017). This figure is increasing annually due to growing demands of population and the need to provide facilities and efficient infrastructure to every individual. It is significant that use of technology has to be instilled in creation of elements and materials that are durable to very harsh environments and build-up conditions. Mainly, the requirement of an advanced concrete which holds better durability and resistance to easy cracking was realised few decades back. The Self-healing concrete was developed by Hendrik Jonkers in 2006 (Nishiwaki and et. al., 2014). This particular invention opened doors for various other new areas which can be developed through effective use of technology.
One of the major causes of breaking of concrete has been leakage. The cracks that are developed due to certain uncertain conditions leads are grown into much deeper pathways for breakdown because of water leakage. The water that flows because of leakage or rains causes the cracks to widen and reach the steel reinforcements which have are the skeletal structure of the building or entire humongous structure (Williams, Kirisits and Ferron, 2017). This means that chemical reactions and oxidations take place which deteriorates the material qualities and causing the concrete to break. However, bio-concrete or Self-Healing concrete is a safe and effective technique which helps in resolving such major civil engineering issues.
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The purpose with a research is conducted has to be made clear to the readers and in the mind of the researcher. Hence, a rationale is provided to set clear understanding regarding the reasons that have led to adoption of this research study. The present research on “Self-healing concrete” is intended to dissolve the literature gaps which have been prevalent in this area. The emerging researchers were not able to completely substantiate whether the use of self-healing concrete can be useful in developing large scale civil engineering projects. Through this research study, there are certain recommendations provided to enlighten this area. Additionally, this study on “Self-healing concrete” is conducted to contribute to the academic and professional development of presenter (researcher). The information gathered and structuring of a dissertation adds valuable knowledge to the researcher's experience. Hence, this study has been conducted and elaborated in the form of a dissertation.
The relevancy and importance of a study is described in the significance element of the dissertation. The contributions and value additions which will be made through this research in the existing literature is recognised through understanding of significance.
Following points of consideration help in determining the significance of this study on “Self-healing concrete”:
- This study contributes certain valuable findings and information to the existing literature on self-healing concrete. ;
- Through this research, individuals aspiring their career and profession in civil engineering activities shall be benefited. The knowledge about such a unique material will enhance their field work competencies.
- The information of this research is helpful in developing pathways for innovative sciences when modernised civil engineering structures are considered.
A directional flow is quite important when devising a research study. This flow of information is acquired when the aim and objectives are defined in appropriate manner. The main aim of this research study is “To critically analyse the properties of self-healing concrete and its implications in future of civil engineering”.
Following objectives have been defined for this research study on “Self-healing concrete”:
- To study the properties of self healing concrete.
- To understand the mechanism of self-healing concrete.
- To analyse the implications of self healing concrete in future of civil engineering.
- To recommend ways for developing application of self healing concrete in modern day structures.
The research questions are strategically developed for enhancing the quality of a research. The researcher develops a set of questions which help in covering every perspective of the research and thus producing a better quality informative content. Below mentioned are the research questions for this dissertation on “Self-healing concrete”:
- What are the properties of self-healing concrete?
- How does self-healing concrete work when applied in civil structures?
- What are the implications associated with self-healing concrete ?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages associated with self-healing concrete?
- What suggestions can be considered when deploying self-healing concrete in modern day structures ?
Structure for the research
A structured flow or design for the dissertation helps in managing information in an appropriate manner. Following structure for the proposed dissertation on “Self-healing concrete” has been developed.
This section of the research presents critical findings which have been acquired during the course of study. The information produced in the abstract is considered to be compact summation of entire dissertation based on the designed aims and objectives.
The introduction covers background of the research and major aims and objectives. Rationale behind selection of this research accompanied by elaboration of the respective significance has been included in this section of the dissertation. This section has been devised for developing a link between the researcher and the reader in terms of knowledge of the subject.
A critical review on scientific information produced in various publications likes books, journals and internet is presented in the literature review section of this dissertation. The use of prior research studies helps in validating the area of research and also generates better understanding in broader perspective. All the attributes have been precisely incorporated in the study with appropriate referencing system.
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There are certain choices made for the selection of tools and techniques that will facilitate proper completion of this research. The methods section of this dissertation helps in getting an insight regarding the specific tools which have been used for creating this qualitative research. The design of this research with brief description of every other aspect has been included in this section.
Major findings and outcomes that are generated through the findings of this research study has been included in the results section. There is appropriate use of graphs, illustrations and diagrams to facilitate these attributes.
The results which have been obtained from earlier researches need to be reliable and valid. A form of quality check is performed in the discussion section which elucidates the specific details regarding the way in which research questions were answered, different forms of experiments conducted, etc.
The literature review is one of the key sections of a dissertation which provides a critical review about the information relevant to a particular subject. The use of publications and online sources is made extensively in this section to provide authentic information and findings produced by authors previously. The gaps and drawbacks of earlier researches are identified and fulfilled through the findings of consequent research. The current research on Self-Healing Concrete helps in developing better perspective regarding the concrete and its different attributes. Furthermore, a literature gap has also been produced in this section based on the findings acquired on self-healing concrete.
Concrete structures have been prevalent since the Roman civilisation which has been evident in 128 AD. With increasing techniques and strategies used by mankind for developing their sustainability, the civil engineering structures advanced rapidly (Ramadan Suleiman and Nehdi, 2017). The improvements were witnessed in the quality of materials that are used for cementing. Van Tittelboom and De Belie (2013) published that several improvements and advancements in the use of calcareous cements helps in producing better composite structures. The major advantage which has influenced the use of concrete in making buildings and civil structures is its high tensile strength. On the other hand, concrete is easily breakable on application of certain pressure or tension.
The self-healing concrete is a great innovation in the field of science and development that has paved way for many future innovations and applications (Bacterial Concrete or Self Healing Concrete For Repair of Cracks in Structures. 2017). Population on Earth is increasing on a rapid scale. This depicts that there is need for development of more structures and buildings which support proper accommodation and facilitation. Herbert and Li; (2013) stated that efficient performance and long term validation provided by concrete to civil structures has influenced wide scale usage. With use of appropriate inspection and regular maintenance check, the life of concrete structures can be improved. However, this maintenance is not so feasible as it sounds. There is inclusion of technologically advanced equipment and inclusion of service costs which results in increased costs for the company or organisation that supervises the respective matter (Talaiekhozan and et. al., 2014).
Inspired from the self-healing capabilities said to be existing in the ancient era, scientist Hendrick Jonker devised a unique bio-concrete which would help the normal concrete to repair the inner cracks and avoid damage to the internal body of the structure (Frei and et. al., 2013). Cement based this material is made up of regular concrete and a healing agent. This healing agent is a bacteria has the capability to produce compounds which are essential for the repair of cracks in concrete. These include calcium carbonate and other mineral based precipitates. Wang and et. al. (2014) stated that cracks are of two types i.e. major and minor. Impact of every crack is subjective and definitely affects the durability and resistance of structure. Ignorance for any of such cracks or defects causes severe threat to the life of the concerned structure.
Hendrick Jonker presented this exceptionally advanced bio-concrete with self-healing properties in 2006 after continuous experimentation for three consecutive years (Wang and et. al., 2014). It has been addressed that micro cracks do not excessively affect the strength based properties of the structure. However, no repairing or maintenance activity results in greater developments in the micro cracks and transition into major cracks. The bacteria that has been incorporated in the concrete mixture has to be viable enough in fulfilling the purpose with which it has been introduced in the structure. According to Chatrabhuti and et. al. (2016), long term sealing has to be achieved after the introduction of bacteria in the concerned joint or crack.
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Properties of self-healing concrete
As per the views of Hilloulin and et. al. (2015), one of the key properties of bio-concrete or Self-Healing concrete is to seal the gap that occurs in the form of cracks in the structure. The external environment or atmospheric balance keeps on changing because of earth's rotation. Different seasons and prevalence of temperature differences creates expansion and contraction in regular concrete (The 'living concrete' that can heal itself. 2016). This frequent expansion and contraction results in formation of cracks in the structure. Subjecting the concrete surface to heavy loads also causes severe impact over the surface of concrete which is also a prominent reason for the formation of cracks. However, Dong and et. al. (2015) stated that insufficient vibrations at the time of laying or constructing the building is also a primary cause of occurrence of cracks. Constructional defects are due to negligence of the supervisors and this results in severe inconvenience to the dwellers.
The bio-concrete so developed has property to produce calcite crystals which causes sealing of the entire gap or crack which is produced. According to Van Tittelboom and De Belie (2013), improper water to cement ratio leads to introduction of corrosion and improper exposure to the steel material used as base for the structure. Despite of the existence of variety of mixtures and materials in the industry, there had been no cure to the cracking and corrosion problem. The self-healing concrete or bio-concrete has been able to bridge this gap and help overcome minor cracks of certain intensity within a short period of time. Šavija and et. al. (2016) accounted for the reliability of bio-concrete in terms of functionality when it comes to incorporation of the bacteria in the proposed mixture.
There are different types of bacteria that are viable to be used in the bio-concrete mixture. These include Bacillus pasteurising, bacillus sphaericus, bacillus pseudofirmus, etc. Autogenous healing is an important property of the bio-concrete mixture. It has particular capacity which restricts the hydration which critically affects the life of concrete (The self-healing concrete that can fix its own cracks. 2015). The limitation is produced through help of production of calcite compounds that are tactile with the current cement structure.
- Van Tittelboom, K. and De Belie, N., 2013. Self-healing in cementitious materials—A review.
- Šavija, B. and et. al., 2016. Simulation-Aided Design of Tubular Polymeric Capsules for Self-Healing Concrete.
- Nishiwaki, T. and et. al., 2014. Self-healing capability of fiber-reinforced cementitious composites for recovery of watertightness and mechanical properties.
- Williams, S. L., Kirisits, M. J. and Ferron, R. D., 2017. Influence of concrete-related environmental stressors on biomineralizing bacteria used in self-healing concrete.
- Ramadan Suleiman, A. and Nehdi, M. L., 2017. Modeling Self-Healing of Concrete Using Hybrid Genetic Algorithm–Artificial Neural Network. Materials.
- Herbert, E. N. and Li, V. C., 2013. Self-healing of microcracks in engineered cementitious composites (ECC) under a natural environment. Materials.
- Talaiekhozan, A. and et. al., 2014. A review of self-healing concrete research development. Journal of Environmental Treatment Techniques.
- Frei, R. and et. al., 2013. Self-healing and self-repairing technologies. The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology.
- Wang, J. Y. and et. al., 2014. Self-healing concrete by use of microencapsulated bacterial spores. Cement and Concrete Research.