Spherical polymeric microcapsules, carrying liquid sodium silicate, were used for autonomic self-healing of mortars. Microcapsules were added at varying volume fractions (Vf), with respect to the cement volume, from as low as 4% up to 32% and their effect on fresh, mechanical and self-healing properties was investigated. For this purpose a series of techniques were used ranging from static mechanical testing, ultrasonic measurements, capillary sorption tests and optical microscopy. A detailed investigation was also carried out at the microstructural level utilising scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and energydispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX). Results showed that although increasing Vf resulted in a 27% reduction in the mechanical properties, the corresponding improvement in the self-healing potential was significantly higher. Areal crack mouth healing reached almost 100%. Also, the measured crack depth and sorptivity coefficient reduced to a maximum of 70% and 54% respectively in microcapsule-containing specimens. SEM/EDX observations showed that the regions in the periphery of fractured microcapsules are very dense. In this region, high healing product formation is also observed. Elemental analysis revealed that these products are mainly ettringite and calcium-silicate-hydrate (C-S-H).
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