Toward Self-Healing Concrete Infrastructure: Review of Experiments and Simulations across Scales. Academic Article uri icon


  • Cement and concrete are vital materials used to construct durable habitats and infrastructure that withstand natural and human-caused disasters. Still, concrete cracking imposes enormous repair costs on societies, and excessive cement consumption for repairs contributes to climate change. Therefore, the need for more durable cementitious materials, such as those with self-healing capabilities, has become more urgent. In this review, we present the functioning mechanisms of five different strategies for implementing self-healing capability into cement based materials: (1) autogenous self-healing from ordinary portland cement and supplementary cementitious materials and geopolymers in which defects and cracks are repaired through intrinsic carbonation and crystallization; (2) autonomous self-healing by (a) biomineralization wherein bacteria within the cement produce carbonates, silicates, or phosphates to heal damage, (b) polymer-cement composites in which autonomous self-healing occurs both within the polymer and at the polymer-cement interface, and (c) fibers that inhibit crack propagation, thus allowing autogenous healing mechanisms to be more effective. In all cases, we discuss the self-healing agent and synthesize the state of knowledge on the self-healing mechanism(s). In this review article, the state of computational modeling across nano- to macroscales developed based on experimental data is presented for each self-healing approach. We conclude the review by noting that, although autogenous reactions help repair small cracks, the most fruitful opportunities lay within design strategies for additional components that can migrate into cracks and initiate chemistries that retard crack propagation and generate repair of the cement matrix.

published proceedings

  • Chem Rev

altmetric score

  • 1

author list (cited authors)

  • Nguyen, M., Fernandez, C. A., Haider, M. M., Chu, K., Jian, G., Nassiri, S., ... Glezakou, V.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Nguyen, Manh-Thuong||Fernandez, Carlos A||Haider, Md Mostofa||Chu, Kung-Hui||Jian, Guoqing||Nassiri, Somayeh||Zhang, Difan||Rousseau, Roger||Glezakou, Vassiliki-Alexandra

publication date

  • September 2023