Cracks and their formations in concrete structures have been a common and long-lived problem, mainly due to the intrinsic brittleness of the concrete. Concrete structures, such as rigid pavement and bridge decks, are prone to deformations and deteriorations caused by shrinkage, temperature fluctuation, and traffic load, which can affect their service life. Rehabilitation of concrete structures is expensive and challenging—not only from maintenance viewpoints but also because they cannot be used for services during maintenance. It is critical to significantly improve the ductility of concrete to overcome such issues and to enable better infrastructure quality. To this end, the self-healing cementitious composites (SHCC) investigated in this work could be a promising solution to the aforementioned problems.

In this project, the team has designed a series of cementitious composites to investigate their mechanical performances and self-healing abilities. Firstly, various types of fibers were investigated for improving ductility of the designed SHCC. To enhance the self-healing of SHCC, we proposed and examined that the combination of the internal curing method with SHCC mixture design can further improve self-healing performance. Three types of internal curing agents were used on the SHCC mixture design, and their self-healing efficiency was evaluated by multiple destructive and non-destructive tests. Results indicated a significant improvement in the self-healing capacity with the incorporation of internal curing agents such as zeolite and lightweight aggregate. To control the fiber distribution and workability of the SHCC, the mix design was further adjusted by controlling rheology using different types of viscosity modifiers. The team also explored the feasibility of the incorporation of colloidal nano-silica into the mix design of SHCC. Results suggest that optimum amounts of nano-silica have positive influence on self-healing efficiency and mechanical properties of the SHCC. Better hydration was also achieved by adding the nano-silica. The bonding strength of the SHCC with conventional concrete was also improved. At last, a standardized mixing procedure for the large scale SHCC was drafted and proposed.

Report Number



self-healing, fiber reinforced cementitious composite, internal curing, rheology, colloidal nano silica

SPR Number


Performing Organization

Joint Transportation Research Program

Publisher Place

West Lafayette, IN

Date of this Version