The use of cementitious composite materials for infrastructure building and construction has significantly increased globally owing to their excellent properties, low cost and availability. For instance, it forms more than two-thirds of the building materials worldwide. Going with the current trends, the use of cementitious composites in construction and building industries is expected to escalate further. As such, an efficient technique to address the current challenges associated with the development of cementitious materials is highly required. The problems are drawn from the impact on the environment, energy consumption, complexity as well as durability. Consequently, the need for strong, durable, and smart/multifunctional cementitious composites to replace the traditional ones would be ideal for meeting the safety, durability and function requirements.
Recent studies have shown that the penetration of nanotechnology in the development of cementitious composites signifies a landmark in enhancing their overall properties, performances and multi-functionalities. Alternatively, various nanocarbon materials including graphene, carbon nanofibers and carbon nanotubes are also promising materials in enhancing the performances of cementitious composites. Unfortunately, despite a lot of emphasis on the behavior of cementitious materials based incorporated with nanofillers, efficient modification of the nanofillers and its effects on the performance of the cementitious composites have not been fully explored.
To this note, a group of Dalian University of Technology researchers led by Professor Baoguo Han proposed a mechanism for investigating, controlling and understanding the nano-engineered cementitious composites. Specifically, they developed a nano-core effect by integrating the nano effect and core effects. By using different nanofillers, they experimentally proved the nano-core induced effects on the performances of the cementitious composites. Their research work is currently published in the research journal, Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing.
In brief, the research team first cross-examined the possibility of enhancing the performance of cementitious composites through various modification of the nanofillers. Secondly, they analyzed various factors affecting the nano-core effects and their corresponding effects on the cementitious composites. To actualize their study, they further proposed nano-core effect zone concept to understand the relationship between the behaviors of the nano-engineered cementitious composites and the nano-core effects.
The authors observed that the addition of nanofillers enhanced the mechanical properties, durability, and functionality of the cementitious composites. This was attributed to the capability of the nano-effect zone to govern the properties and behaviors of the nano-engineered cementitious composites due to the close relationship between the nano-core effects and the nanofiller properties and develop procedure for cementitious composites. Furthermore, it was worth noting that the nano effect was as a result of the small high surface area and small size of the nanofillers while the core related effects were a result of the bonding, intrinsic and nucleating effects.
In summary, the Baoguo Han and colleagues study successfully demonstrated the feasibility of using the nano-core effects for understanding and controlling the nano-engineered cementitious composites. In general, it enabled prediction and controlling of cementitious composites properties from nano-scale to micro-macro scale. Therefore, the study will advance the design and fabrication of high-performance cementitious composites for different applications.
Han, B., Zhang, L., Zeng, S., Dong, S., Yu, X., Yang, R., & Ou, J. (2017). Nano-core effect in nano-engineered cementitious composites. Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing, 95, 100-109.Go To Composites Part A: Applied Science and Manufacturing