Many people are aware of autogenous healing, but a common attitude is: so what?

Many people are aware of autogenous healing, but a common attitude is: so what? We cannot design a structure on the assumption that autogenous healing will take place but, under certain circumstances, the occurrence of autogenous healing can be highly beneficial. It is, therefore, useful to know how autogenous healing works, when it works, how to promote it, and how to take advantage of it.

Genesis Of This Article

Recently, I was asked to express an opinion on autogenous healing under somewhat unusual circumstances. What was required was an assessment of the extent of autogenous healing that can be expected and hence a prognosis for the durability of the structure. As soon as I approached the problem, I realized that our knowledge of autogenous healing is scanty and it has not been coherently reviewed for a long time. Indeed, the last overview of autogenous healing was written by Clear in 1985.1 Thus, I was not able to answer immediately the questions put to me and, in order to obtain background information, I undertook a literature search. This is the genesis of the present article, written in the hope that it may be of help to others in the future.

What Is Meant By “Autogenous”?

The word “autogenous” entered the English language from Greek in the mid-nineteenth century; it means “self-produced.” According to the New Shorter Oxford Dictionary, an especial meaning with respect to welding is “formed by or involving the melting of the joined ends, without added filler.” The word is, therefore, entirely appropriate to what happens in concrete when healing takes place by restoring continuity between two sides of a crack without a deliberate external intervention of repair.