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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024
  2. Van Mullem, T. ; De Belie, N. ; Ferrara, L. ; Gruyaert, E. ; Van Tittelboom, K. (Ed.)

    The goal of this research is to develop innovative damage-responsive bacterial-based self-healing fibers (hereafter called BioFiber) that can be incorporated into concrete to enable two functionalities simultaneously: (1) crack bridging functionality to control crack growth and (2) crack healing functionality when a crack occurs. The BioFiber is comprised of a load-bearing core fiber, a sheath of bacteria-laden hydrogel, and an outer impermeable strain-responsive shell coating. An instant soaking manufacturing process was used with multiple reservoirs containing bacteria-laden, hydrophilic prepolymer and crosslinking reagents to develop BioFiber. Sodium-alginate was used as a prepolymer to produce calcium-alginate hydrogel via ionic crosslinking on the core fiber. The dormant bacteria (spore) ofLysinibacillus sphaericuswas incorporated in hydrogel as a self-healing agent. Then, an impermeable polymeric coating was applied to the hydrogel-coated core fibers. The impermeable strain-responsive shell coating material was manufactured using the polymer blend of polystyrene and polylactic acid. The high swelling capacity of calcium-alginate provides the water required for the microbially induced calcium carbonate precipitation (MICP) chemical pathway, i.e., ureolysis in this study. The strain-responsive impermeable coating provides adequate flexibility during concrete casting to protect the spores and alginate before cracking and sufficient stress-strain behavior to grant damage-responsiveness upon crack occurrence to activate MICP. To evaluate the behavior of developed BioFiber, the swelling capacity of the hydrogel, the impermeability of shell coating, the spore casting survivability, and MICP activities were investigated.

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