Infoscience

Thesis

Impact of water activity on the mineralogy of hydrated cement

Cement hydrates and their chemically bound water content are sensitive to changes in relative humidity (RH) and temperature. This may cause specific solid volume changes affecting dimensional properties of hydrated cement paste such as shrinkage, swelling and expansion, and therefore impact the performance and the transport properties of cementitious materials. The present thesis studies the impact of drying conditions on the structure and thermodynamic properties of crystalline cement hydrates in different hydration states (i.e. varying molar water contents). The cement hydrates studied include the most important AFm and AFt phases present in different types of cements. A novel multi method approach, including XRD, TGA, DSC, sorption balance measurements, sorption calorimetry and the hydrate pair ¿ humidity buffer method, was used to derive physico-chemical boundary conditions and the thermodynamic properties of the studied hydrated phases. The stability and hydration states of AFm phases depend on the anion content and the exposure conditions. Some phases such as monosulfoaluminate and hydroxy-AFm are very sensitive to different relative humidities. On the other hand monocarboaluminate and strätlingite present very good volume stability with varying RH. Ettringite shows a strong hysteresis during desorption/adsorption, and the thermodynamic properties associated with its decomposition and reformation were determined. The experimental results were included into a thermodynamic model capable of predicting the response of cementitious systems considering the ¿true¿ crystal water content on the final phase assemblage in two different scenarios: i) during hydration, even at conditions where the amount of water added was insufficient for complete hydration, and ii) during drying and re-wetting processes in already hydrated systems. Our work hence opens the possibility to model the response of various cement materials exposed to different climatic conditions and to engineer cementitious systems with respect to minimizing volume changes in the course of drying, which may positively impact properties like drying shrinkage and total porosity.

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