Controlling the cohesion of cement paste

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(T)he main source of cohesion in cement paste is the nanoparticles of calcium silicate hydrate (C-S-H), which are formed upon the dissolution of the original tricalcium. silicate (C3S). The interaction between highly charged C-S-H particles in the presence of divalent calcium counterions is strongly attractive because of ion-ion correlations and a negligible entropic repulsion. Traditional double-layer theory based on the Poisson-Boltzmann. equation becomes qualitatively incorrect in these systems. Monte Carlo (MC) simulations in the framework of the primitive model of electrolyte solution is then an alternative, where ion-ion correlations are properly included. In addition to divalent calcium counterions, commercial Portland cement contains a variety of other ions (sodium, potassium, sulfate, etc.). The influence of high concentrations of these ionic additives as well as pH on the stability of the final concrete construction is investigated through MC simulations in a grand canonical ensemble. The results show that calcium ions have a strong physical affinity (in opposition to specific chemical adsorption) to the negatively charged silicate particles of interest (C-S-H, C3S). This gives concrete surprisingly robust properties, and the cement cohesion is unaffected by the addition of a large variety of additives provided that the calcium concentration and the C-S-H surface charge are high enough. This general phenomenon is also semiquantitatively reproduced from a simple analytical model. The simulations also predict that the affinity of divalent counterions for a highly and oppositely charged surface sometimes is high enough to cause a "charge reversal" of the apparent surface charge in agreement with electrophoretic measurements on both C3S and C-S-H particles.


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StatusPublished - 2005
Peer review utfördJa