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Experimental techniques synergy towards the design of a sensing tool for autonomously healed concrete
* 1 , 1 , 2 , 3 , 1
1  Dept. Mechanics of Materials & Constructions, Faculty of Engineering Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Brussel, 1050 Brussels, Belgium
2  Magnel Laboratory for Concrete Research, Dept. Structural Engineering, Faculty of Engineering & Architecture, Ghent University, 9052 Ghent, Belgium
3  Laboratory on Innovative Techniques for Infrastructures ITIL Kyoto, Graduate School of Engineering, Kyoto University, 615-8540 Kyoto, Japan


The first-generation of autonomously healed concrete elements is under construction: beams (SIM-SECEMIN project, Belgium), one-way flat slabs (MeMC, VUB, Belgium) and wall panels (Materials4Life project, UK) are designed with the embedment of encapsulated repair agent. In the presence of cracks, capsules rupture releasing the agent that fills the crack void. The released agent seals and mechanically restores the crack discontinuity. This automatic process can be repeatable using vascular networks that carry the agent and release it at different locations into concrete. The innovative design is built up following several series of laboratory-scale beam tests configured over the last decade. This paper discusses the application of numerous experimental techniques that assess the mechanical performance of autonomously healed concrete: Acoustic Emission, Ultrasound Pulse Velocity, Optical Microscopy, Digital Image Correlation, Capillary Water Absorption, Computed Tomography. The study focuses on the performance and efficiency of each method on laboratory and real-scale tests. The techniques with the most promising output are selected and combined in order to design a sensing tool that evaluates healing on real applications.

Keywords: Concrete; Autonomous healing; Repair; Monitoring techniques