Purdue University Graduate School
Master thesis-Cihang Huang.pdf (1.4 MB)


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posted on 2020-07-30, 17:27 authored by Cihang HuangCihang Huang

The formation of the cracks in concrete materials can shorten the service life of the structure by exposing the steel rebar to the aggressive substances from the external environment. Self-healing concrete can eliminate the crack automatically, which has the potential to replace manual rehabilitation and repairing work. This thesis intends to develop a self-healing fiber-reinforced cementitious composite by the use of internal curing agents, such as lightweight aggregate, zeolite and superabsorbent polymer (SAP). This study has evaluated the crack width control ability of three different types of fiber, polyvinyl alcohol fiber (PVA), Masterfiber Mac Matrix and Strux 90/40 fiber. Mechanical performance and flexural stress-strain behavior of the fiber-reinforced cementitious composite were tested and compared. In order to investigate the feasibility of using internal curing aggregate to enhance autogenous healing performance, two types of porous aggregates, zeolite and lightweight aggregate (LWA), were used as internal curing agents to provide water for the autogenous healing. The pore structure of the zeolite and lightweight aggregate was examined by the scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Two replacement ratios of sand with internal curing aggregates were designed and the healing efficiency was evaluated by the resonant frequency measurement and the optical microscopic observation. To further understand the influence of the internal curing on the designed material, water retention behavior of the bulk sample and the internal curing aggregates was evaluated. Moreover, to study the self-sealing effect of the superabsorbent polymer (SAP), the robustness of the SAP under various environmental conditions was first evaluated. The influence of the superplasticizer, hydration accelerator and fly ash on the absorption behavior of the SAP was investigated by the filtration test and void size analysis. Afterward, the self-sealing performance of the SAP in cement paste was evaluated by a water flow test.

The evaluation of three types of fiber indicated that the use of PVA fiber could produce a cementitious composite with stronger mechanical strength and crack width control ability. The result of the autogenous healing evaluation showed that the incorporation of the internal curing aggregates increased the self-healing recovery ratio from 12.6% to over 18%. The internal curing aggregate could absorb and store water during the wet curing and release it when the external water supply is unavailable. The comparison between the two types of internal curing aggregates indicated that finer pores in the internal curing aggregate can lead to a slower water release rate that is capable of continuously supplying water for the autogenous healing. In addition, the SAP was proved to be robust when various content of the additives and fly ash were used. And the self-sealing effect of the SAP is found to be effective in regaining the water tightness of cement paste. The result of this thesis can assist in the design of the fiber-reinforced cementitious composite with self-healing performance in civil engineering.


Degree Type

  • Master of Science in Civil Engineering


  • Civil Engineering

Campus location

  • West Lafayette

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Luna Lu

Additional Committee Member 2

Jan Olek

Additional Committee Member 3

Pablo Zavattieri