Direct ink writing of vascularized self-healing cementitious composites

Zhi Wan*, Yading Xu, Shan He, Yu Chen, Jinbao Xie, Branko Šavija

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
49 Downloads (Pure)


Direct ink writing of cementitious materials can be an alternative way for creating vascular self-healing concrete by intentionally incorporating hollow channels in the cementitious matrix. In this study, a 3D-printable fibre reinforced mortar was first developed. Three groups of specimens were fabricated using direct ink writing, where the two top and bottom printing layers were printed with different printing directions. The macrostructure of the hardened specimens was studied using CT scanning. Four-point bending tests were carried out to investigate the initial flexural strength and the strength recovery after healing with injected epoxy resin. Furthermore, water permeability test was used to evaluate the healing potential of the samples. The results from CT scanning show that printing direction influences the actual volumes of hollow channels and the volume of small pores which are a consequence of the deposition process. The hollow channels of all samples were squeezed by the upper layers during the printing process, and the longitudinally printed samples were the most affected. When printing direction changes from longitudinal to transverse, the initial flexural strength decreases. Similarly, the average permeability of the cracked samples increases when the printing direction changes from longitudinal to transverse. Although the healing effectiveness regarding flexural strength is remarkable for all specimens, it was only possible to perform a single healing process as hollow channels were then blocked by the epoxy resin. The rough surface of the hollow channels is inferred to make it difficult to extract the epoxy resin out of the specimens.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105295
Number of pages11
JournalCement and Concrete Composites
Publication statusPublished - 2023


  • 3D printing
  • Printing direction
  • Self-healing
  • Vascular network


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