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The IUP Journal of Structural Engineering :
Application of Nanomaterials on Cement Mortar and Concrete: A Study
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Nanomaterials—a topic of contemporary research—has vast applications in all research areas starting from semiconductors to energy to textiles to construction. Recent investigations showed that small addition of nanoparticles, viz., Nanosilica (nS), Carbon Nanotubes (CNT) and Nano Titanium Dioxide (TiO2), have enhanced the 28-day strength of cement mortar when added in optimized quantities, and the same optimization when repeated for concrete produced good results. However, their long-term strength differs due to the poor control of the degree of freedom of their valence electron, i.e., nanomaterials tend to get oxidized in the long run. In this paper, a technical comparison of the 28-day and long-term mechanical strength of the nanoadditions to cement mortars is made with reference to ordinary controlled cement mortars and also when the same optimization is applied for nanoconcrete with reference to controlled concrete at 28 days.

 
 

India has emerged as the third global power in nanoscience and nanotechnology after the US and China. Following the advent of nanotechnology, there has been considerable amount of research involved in the search for newer and efficient materials in the nano (10–9 m) scale. It can revolutionize construction in the very near future. In fact, it was nanotechnology that allowed creation of iPods, iPhones and all sorts of these “i” products which in a way completely changed the IT and electronics sectors. So why cannot applications of nanotechnology do the same to our conservative construction sector now? There have been many successful nanotechnology-based applications which could have been almost impossible without utility of nano-sized particles. For example, anti-scratch paints, antibacterial paints, antifouling concrete, dirt-repellant textiles, clothes that need no ironing, non-reflective glasses, wonder drugs, etc., are only the tip of the iceberg. It is a surprise to learn that the Romans and Chinese were using nanoparticles thousands of years ago (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lycurgus_Cup). The emergence of Nanosilica (nS), Carbon Nanotubes (CNT) and Nanotitanium Dioxide (TiO2) in the last decade has proved their worth as far as building materials are concerned and the motivation to find an effective solution to catch their long-term efficiency is now on the anvil. Though CNTs were invented in 1991, its application, the discovery of Graphenes was credited with the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2010. The first patent on nano-enabled cement was published in 1996, and since then it has seen an exponential rise, respectively after 2007. The emergence of nanotechnology in cement industry has already shown a remarkable impact on mechanical and other properties of cementitious materials with patented commercial products such as NanoCrete, Cor-Tuf®, HuberCrete®, Alpol, Nycon-G Nano, TioCem, TxActive and MC-Special DM being already available in the market. Naga Nanotech, etc., apart from big commercial houses like Reliance, Tata Group, and Mahindra & Mahindra, are exploring nanotechnology options.

 
 

Cement, Concrete, Materials, Nano, Optimization, Strength