Semester of Graduation

Summer 2023


Master of Science in Engineering Science (MSES)


Engineering Science

Document Type



Concrete is the most broadly used construction material; thus, developing sustainable concrete is essential to decrease greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from concrete production. Implementation of self-healing concrete technologies is a promising approach to enhance the durability and sustainability of the transportation infrastructure. Among these technologies, bacterial concrete has the potential to seal microcracks through microbial induced calcite precipitation (MICP). Bacterial protection is essential to ensure the viability of this technology due to concrete’s harsh environment. Additionally, the success of this technology depends on the presence of an adequate mineral precursor compound and nutrient for the bacteria. As such, the main objective of this study was to optimize the healing efficiency of bacterial concrete in subtropical climates through the vacuum impregnation of bacteria into a lightweight aggregate (LWA). To achieve this objective, mortar samples were prepared while incorporating different combinations of precursors (magnesium acetate, calcium lactate, and sodium lactate) and alkali-resistant healing agent Bacillus pseudofirmus bacteria (with and without). In addition, a control sample was prepared without bacteria or precursors for comparative purposes. For each sample, three mortar cubes and three mortar beams were cast and used to evaluate the compressive strength, crack healing efficiency, and flexural strength recovery. The morphology of healing products was also observed in bacteria-containing samples under scanning electron microscopy with energy x-ray dispersive spectroscopy (SEM/EDS). Results showed that self-healing bacterial concrete could be optimized (without significant reduction in mechanical properties) if Bacillus pseudofirmus bacteria at a concentration of 108 cells/ml and sodium lactate precursor at a concentration of 75 mM/l are impregnated into lightweight aggregate.



Committee Chair

Hassan, Marwa