Cement in the Context of New Materials for an Energy-Expensive Future
Hydraulic cements are energy-cheap relative to other common materials, are manufactured on a large scale and, when mixed with water, form readily mouldable pastes that harden at low temperature. In a technological sense, such pastes can be regarded as inorganic `plastics', but the types of article that can usually be fabricated from the cements has been restricted by the low tensile strength and fracture toughness of hardened cement pastes. Poor mechanical properties are not inherent in inorganic solids formed under mild conditions; mineral structures of biological origin can display relatively high strength and useful toughness as a result of microstructural features determined by biopolymers. Recent studies have shown that the low tensile properties of cement paste result from the presence of macroscopic pores. The elimination of such defects by the use of polymeric rheology modifiers gives unreinforced cement pastes a flexural strength of 150 MPa or more. Such novel materials should considerably extend the range of uses for hydraulic cements.
Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series A
- Pub Date:
- September 1983