A Review of Self-Healing Concrete for Damage Management of Structures

Nele De Belie*, Elke Gruyaert, Abir Al-Tabbaa, Paola Antonaci, Cornelia Baera, Diana Bajare, Robert Davies, Liberato Ferrara, Henk M. Jonkers, More Authors

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

411 Citations (Scopus)


The increasing concern for safety and sustainability of structures is calling for the development of smart self-healing materials and preventive repair methods. The appearance of small cracks (<300 µm in width) in concrete is almost unavoidable, not necessarily causing a risk of collapse for the structure, but surely impairing its functionality, accelerating its degradation, and diminishing its service life and sustainability. This review provides the state-of-the-art of recent developments of self-healing concrete, covering autogenous or intrinsic healing of traditional concrete followed by stimulated autogenous healing via use of mineral additives, crystalline admixtures or (superabsorbent) polymers, and subsequently autonomous self-healing mechanisms, i.e. via, application of micro-, macro-, or vascular encapsulated polymers, minerals, or bacteria. The (stimulated) autogenous mechanisms are generally limited to healing crack widths of about 100–150 µm. In contrast, most autonomous self-healing mechanisms can heal cracks of 300 µm, even sometimes up to more than 1 mm, and usually act faster. After explaining the basic concept for each self-healing technique, the most recent advances are collected, explaining the progress and current limitations, to provide insights toward the future developments. This review addresses the research needs required to remove hindrances that limit market penetration of self-healing concrete technologies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1800074
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
JournalAdvanced Materials Interfaces
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • bacteria-assisted self-healing
  • concrete
  • mineral admixtures
  • mortar
  • polymers
  • self-healing


Dive into the research topics of 'A Review of Self-Healing Concrete for Damage Management of Structures'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this