Crack-free reinforced concrete with innovative sulfonate superabsorbent polymers

Shrinkage-cracking of concrete structures

Superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) have been widely studied over the past two decades as a new admixture for cementitious materials. Their ability to absorb and retain water from the cementitious mixture has allowed them to be successfully used as internal curing agents preventing self-desiccation and reducing autogenous shrinkage, promoting self-sealing/healing of cracks, increasing the resistance to salt-scaling under freezing-thawing and also modifying the rheology of mixtures. Although a lot of research has been developed and important advances in the technology have been achieved, there is still a lack of studies reporting on the use of SAPs in large-scale concrete structures. This paper presents results of a large-scale testing campaign in Belgium with the use of an “in-house” and innovative SAP in a large-scale demonstrator leading to the construction of crack-free reinforced concrete walls with limited impact on strength and reduction of repair costs.

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