Concrete is the second most consumed product by humans, after water. However, the production of conventional concrete causes more than 5% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions and therefore there is a need for emission-reduced construction materials. One method to produce a solid, concrete-like construction material is microbial-induced calcium carbonate precipitation (MICP). To get a better understanding of MICP it is important to be able to follow local pH changes in dissolution and precipitation processes of CaCO3. In this work we present a new method to study processes of MICP at the micro-scale in situ and in real time. We present two different methods to monitor the pH changes during the precipitation process of CaCO3. In the first method, the average pH of small sample volumes is measured in real time, and pH changes are subsequently correlated with processes in the sample by comparing to optical microscope results. The second method is introduced to follow local pH changes at a grain scale in situ and in real time. Furthermore, local pH changes during the dissolution of CaCO3 crystals are monitored. We demonstrate that these two methods are powerful tools to investigate the pH changes for both MICP precipitation and CaCO3 dissolution for knowledge-based improvement of MICP-based material properties.
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