"Programmable" cement particles make concrete stronger

For several hundred years, cement has been one of the main building materials. Recently, scientists in many countries around the world have been trying to improve its quality, as a result of which a refractory, flexible and even self-healing cement was born.

Scientists at Rice University (USA) have approached the problem of cement strength at the nanoscale. Having studied the crystallization process of calcium silicate hydrate cement, they learned how to synthesize C-H-S - particles of a specific shape, which contributed to their denser arrangement. The result is concrete that holds water better and does not break down from the inside.

The researchers helped the particles to form new shapes with surfactants and calcium silicates before exposing the mixture to carbon dioxide and ultrasound. Changing the amount of silicate affects the shape of the particles, turning them into spherical shapes, cubes and prisms.

“We named it programmable cement. - explains the head of research Rosebeh Shahsawari, - Our achievement is that this is the first step in regulating the kinetics of cement in order to obtain the desired shape.

The research results will allow to reduce CO 2 emissions in the process of cement production, make it durable and resistant to unwanted chemical attack.