Nanotechnology for Improved Concrete Performance
|Publication Date:||1 September 2019|
In cold regions, freezing temperatures limit the construction season to few months, usually between May and September. The use of nanoparticles, which have high specific surface and vigorous reactivity, may potentially enhance the performance of concrete placed at low temperatures. Therefore, this study focused on developing concrete mixtures incorporating nano-silica which were mixed, placed and cured at -5°C (23°F) without any insulation or protection targeting field applications in late fall and early spring periods. Eight mixtures incorporating general use (GU) cement, fly ash (up to 25%), and nano-silica (up to 4%) were tested for this purpose, with waterto- binder ratios of 0.32 and 0.4. All mixtures contained a combination of calcium nitrate and calcium nitrite as an antifreeze admixture. Testing involved concrete setting time (placement), 7 and 28 days compressive strengths (hardened properties) and resistance to freezing-thawing cycles (durability). Moreover, mercury intrusion porosimetry, thermal analysis and scanning electron microscopy were performed to corroborate the trends from the macro-scale tests. It was found that nano-silica significantly improved the overall performance of concrete placed and cured at -5°C (23°F), which implicates its promising use for construction applications under low temperatures.