Innovative SuperAbsorbent Polymers for crack mitigation and increased service life of concrete structures
The ICON project iSAP aims at reducing shrinkage cracks in practice by means of internal curing resulting from the addition of superabsorbent polymers (SAPs). Moreover, the construction elements will possess self-sealing and self-healing characteristics. The deformations and crack mitigation efficiency will be followed up with advanced monitoring techniques. An important task is the evaluation of the concrete resistance against freeze-thaw effects, carbonation, chloride ingress, and corrosion initiation and propagation. Furthermore, the strength, shrinkage, internal curing, self-sealing and self-healing will be modelled. The study will also look into the prolonged service life of concrete structures applying this technology.
The project aims at fostering breakthrough knowledge and prototype development of iSAP-based concrete to mitigate shrinkage cracking, increase water-tightness, and increase service life through crack healing. In iSAP, superabsorbent polymers will be developed that are able to control the moisture level during the internal curing stage of the concrete and to induce self-sealing and self-healing upon crack formation. This will be achieved by the synergistic collaboration between the industrial and the research partners.
The project is based on the results obtained in the SIM research program on engineered self-healing materials “SHE”, more specifically within the SBO projects SECEMIN (Self-healing cementitious and mineral building materials) and ISHECO (Impact of Self-Healing Engineered materials on steel COrrosion in reinforced concrete). One research route within SECEMIN is the application of superabsorbent polymers or “hydrogels” to stimulate self-healing in concrete.