Effects of bacteria-embedded polylactic acid (PLA) capsules on fracture properties of strain hardening cementitious composite (SHCC)

Shan He*, Shizhe Zhang, Mladena Luković, Erik Schlangen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
20 Downloads (Pure)


Strain hardening cementitious composite (SHCC) is a special class of ultra-ductile material which has autogenous self-healing capability due to its intrinsic tight crack widths. To further improve its healing ability, healing agent (HA) can be incorporated in SHCC, enabling it also the autonomous self-healing mechanism. In this study, the effects of adding bacteria-embedded polylactic acid (PLA) capsules on the mechanical properties of SHCC with different amounts of HA (i.e., 1.25%, 2.5%, 5% by weight to binder) were investigated. Experiments were conducted to examine the composite performance, matrix properties and single fiber pullout behavior of the SHCCs, followed by microscopy characterization of the fiber/matrix interface microstructure. Results show that the inclusion of the PLA-HA up to 5% by weight to binder influenced the tensile performance (i.e., tensile strength and ductility) of SHCC only to a very small extent but significantly reduced the average residual crack widths. The inclusion of HA at a high dosage (5%) increased the crack tip toughness (Jtip) of the matrix by lowering elastic modulus and increasing fracture toughness. Single fiber pullout results show that the fiber/matrix bond properties were enhanced by the addition of the HA, which can be attributed to the formation of a denser interfacial transition zone (ITZ) with less calcium hydroxide crystals as revealed by the scanning electron microscope (SEM) micrographs. The improved bond properties led to higher fiber bridging complementary energy and thus partially sustained the tensile strain capacity as verified by the micromechanical model.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108480
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalEngineering Fracture Mechanics
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Elastic modulus
  • Fracture toughness
  • ITZ
  • Self-healing
  • SHCC


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of bacteria-embedded polylactic acid (PLA) capsules on fracture properties of strain hardening cementitious composite (SHCC)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this