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Optimum MgO Nanofiller for Nano-Reinforced Concrete Identified

A paper published in Materials Today: Proceedings examined the mixing of concrete with magnesia (MgO) nanoparticles from the perspective of sustainability.

Optimum MgO Nanofiller for Nano-Reinforced Concrete Identified

Study: Investigating the reliability of nano-concrete at different content of a nano-filler. Image Credit: Bannafarsai_Stock/Shutterstock.com

Concrete – Can it Keep Up with Advanced Constructions?

Concrete is a mixture of coarse and fine aggregates held together using a cement paste that hardens with time. 

The plentiful supplies, high flexibility, and well-established production procedures make concrete the most ubiquitous construction material on the plant 

Many different types of mortars may be constructed by mixing the constituents in the appropriate amounts. Despite the development of modern cementitious composites, conventional mortar production techniques are no longer suitable to fulfill the needs of advanced multipurpose structures.

Advanced structures present tougher challenges for concrete. Therefore, there is a pressing need for practical and advanced concrete solutions.

The Role of Nanomaterials in Improving Durability of Cementitious Materials

Durability is one of the most critical and challenging issues faced by the construction industry.

The development of nanomaterials has fueled the efforts to use more environmentally friendly materials. Nanomaterials are characterized by their large outer surface areas and better strength and tribological properties as compared to conventional materials. 

Many ceramic compounds have significant cementitious reactions with oxides of calcium, which leads to the generation of additional silicates. This ultimately helps improve the structural characteristics and durability of cementitious materials.

Fiber-like materials improve the tensile properties of mortar by bridging cracks and preventing further crack growth thanks to their needle-like operation.

The Issue of Spall Liners

Recently, cementitious supplements have been extensively explored for producing concrete slabs.

These additives increase interracial transit areas among cement and agglomerates and assist in generating dense crystallites, indicated by the enhanced physical properties.

Nonetheless, when exposed to extreme temperatures, these closely packed structures respond unpredictably, resulting in spall liners.

Spall liners occur because of inadequate permeability for pressure distribution, thermal fluctuations, or the buildup of thermal gradients.

The fibers are thermodynamically unstable; therefore, they combine at about 300 degrees Celsius and generate pockets of air. The presence of these air pockets adversely affects the lifespan of the composite.

Can Nanoparticles Reinforce Concrete?

Concrete mixes are susceptible to fractures and lack desirable qualities as they are generally semi-brittle. Incorporating nanomaterials in concrete mixtures is being hailed as the solution to these problems.

Ceramic nanoparticles, carbonaceous nanoparticles, and metal nanoparticles have been found to improve the structural and physical properties as well as the lifespan of concrete mixes at ambient temperatures.

The corrosive atmosphere of cementitious composites is caused by the oxidative activity produced during the hydration process and the depositing of extra C-S-H inside the porous architecture. This ultimately improves the mechanical properties of cementitious materials.

The nanomaterials appear to have a strong filler effect, producing a significant nanoscale binding and precipitation implication, which ultimately promotes an accelerated hydration process.

Due to the transition from an inactive to a highly active corrosive phase, countless microscopic cracks begin to grow larger. To overcome this problem, it is critical to include nanowires that employ the nano-level stiffness of C-S-H hydrogel to limit the propagation of nanoscale fractures.

Findings of the Study

The effect of MgO nanoparticle content on the durability properties of conventional concrete was investigated in this research using 6%, 4%, and 2% mass fractions of MgO nanoparticles.

When the dosage was kept within a small range, MgO nanoparticles greatly increased the fracture resistance, sorptivity, and porosity of cementitious composites.

The fracture transmission, sorptivity, and moisture permeability of concrete were all substantially lowered by increasing the mass fraction of MgO nanoparticles.

However, if the mass fraction of MgO nanoparticles in cementitious composites surpassed a specific limit, the mortar would become less dependable.

When 4% mass fraction of MgO nanoparticles was added to a standard cement mortar, it enhanced moisture permeability depth by about 45%. Furthermore, adding 3% mass fraction of MgO nanoparticles to the cementitious mixture reduced sorptivity by about 30% and fracture length per unit area by about 83%.

The ideal MgO nanoparticle dosage was recommended to be 4%  to positively affect the fracture, permeability, and sorptivity parameters of the cementitious composite.

Reference

Neeraja, V. S., Mishra, V., Ganapathy, C. P., Sunagar, P., Kumar, D. P., & Parida, L. (2022). Investigating the reliability of nano-concrete at different content of a nano-filler. Materials Today: Proceedings. Available at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2214785322053512?via%3Dihub

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Shaheer Rehan

Written by

Shaheer Rehan

Shaheer is a graduate of Aerospace Engineering from the Institute of Space Technology, Islamabad. He has carried out research on a wide range of subjects including Aerospace Instruments and Sensors, Computational Dynamics, Aerospace Structures and Materials, Optimization Techniques, Robotics, and Clean Energy. He has been working as a freelance consultant in Aerospace Engineering for the past year. Technical Writing has always been a strong suit of Shaheer's. He has excelled at whatever he has attempted, from winning accolades on the international stage in match competitions to winning local writing competitions. Shaheer loves cars. From following Formula 1 and reading up on automotive journalism to racing in go-karts himself, his life revolves around cars. He is passionate about his sports and makes sure to always spare time for them. Squash, football, cricket, tennis, and racing are the hobbies he loves to spend his time in.

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