Special Issue "Cement-Based Composites: Advancements in Development and Characterization"

A special issue of Crystals (ISSN 2073-4352).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 August 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Pawel Sikora
Website
Guest Editor
Building Materials and Construction Chemistry, Technische Universität Berlin (Germany) & Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture, West Pomeranian University of Technology, Szczecin, Poland
Interests: cement-based composites; construction materials; nanotechnology; sustainability; fire resistance
Prof. Dr. Sang-Yeop Chung
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Sejong University, Seoul, Republic of Korea
Interests: construction materials; numerical analysis; material characterization; microstructural investigation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Concrete, a composite material composed of cement, water, aggregates, and often admixtures, is the most produced human-made material in the world. This material is an indispensable element of modern societies and is used in most of today's constructed engineering structures. Concrete structures need to satisfy specific characteristics in terms of mechanical performance and long-term durability so that they can be used without serious consideration of maintenance  for many decades. Therefore, methods for the production of advanced high-performance composites are actively required. Due to their composite nature, the choice of proper individual components and their interaction and compatibility play a vital role in shaping the final properties of cement-based composites. In addition, numerical approaches to modeling and evaluating a material’s characteristics and properties can also be used to accelerate the material’s development.

The aim of this Special Issue is to showcase the latest research and advances in the field of cement-based composites. Original research papers, state-of-the-art reviews, and short communications are welcome.

Topics of interest include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • the characterization of cement-based materials;
  • hydration and microstructural formation;
  • admixtures and additives;
  • alternative and sustainable binders;
  • waste materials and by-products in the production of cement-based composites;
  • production of durable and high-performance cement-based composites;
  • materials design for enhanced durability;
  • incorporation of nanomaterials;
  • durability and sustainability assessment;
  • life-cycle assessment;
  • concretes for special purposes (lightweight and heavyweight concretes);
  • numerical simulation for evaluating the properties of cement-based composites; and
  • multi-scale analysis for cement-based composites and structures.

Dr. Pawel Sikora
Prof. Dr. Sang-Yeop Chung
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Crystals is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • cement hydration
  • concrete
  • admixture and additives
  • rheology
  • mechanical performance
  • durability
  • nanomaterials
  • numerical simulations
  • special concretes

Published Papers (13 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Cement-Based Composites: Advancements in Development and Characterization
Crystals 2020, 10(9), 832; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst10090832 - 17 Sep 2020
Abstract
This Special Issue on “Cement-Based Composites: Advancements in Development and Characterization” presents the latest research and advances in the field of cement-based composites. This special issue covers a variety of experimental studies related to fibre-reinforced, photocatalytic, lightweight, and sustainable cement-based composites. Moreover, simulation [...] Read more.
This Special Issue on “Cement-Based Composites: Advancements in Development and Characterization” presents the latest research and advances in the field of cement-based composites. This special issue covers a variety of experimental studies related to fibre-reinforced, photocatalytic, lightweight, and sustainable cement-based composites. Moreover, simulation studies are present in this special issue to provide the fundamental knowledge on designing and optimizing the properties of cementitious composites. The presented publications in this special issue show the most recent technology in the cement-based composite field. Full article

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Determination of Mechanical Characteristics for Fiber-Reinforced Concrete with Straight and Hooked Fibers
Crystals 2020, 10(6), 545; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst10060545 - 25 Jun 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
Fiber-reinforced concrete has a wide application in practice, and many fields of research are devoted to it. In most cases, this is a specific problem, i.e., the determination of the mechanical properties or the test method. However, wider knowledge of the effect of [...] Read more.
Fiber-reinforced concrete has a wide application in practice, and many fields of research are devoted to it. In most cases, this is a specific problem, i.e., the determination of the mechanical properties or the test method. However, wider knowledge of the effect of fiber in concrete is unavailable or insufficient for selected test series that cannot be compared. This article deals with the processing of a comprehensive test study and the impact of two types of fibers on the quantitative and qualitative parameters of concrete. Testing was performed for fiber dosages of 0, 40, 75, and 110 kg/m3. The fibers were hooked and straight. The influence of the fibers on the mechanical properties in fiber-reinforced concrete was analyzed by functional dependence. The selected mechanical properties were compressive strength, splitting tensile strength, bending tensile strength, and fracture energy. The results also include the resulting load–displacement diagrams and summary recommendations for the structural use and design of fiber-reinforced concrete structures. The shear resistance of reinforced concrete beams with hooked fibers was also verified by tests. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of the Aggregate Surface Conditions on the Strength of Quick-Converting Track Concrete
Crystals 2020, 10(6), 543; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst10060543 - 24 Jun 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
This experimental study investigates the effects of the aggregate surface conditions on the compressive strength of quick-converting track concrete (QTC). The compressive strength of QTC and interfacial fracture toughness (IFT) were investigated by changing the amount of fine abrasion dust particles (FADPs) on [...] Read more.
This experimental study investigates the effects of the aggregate surface conditions on the compressive strength of quick-converting track concrete (QTC). The compressive strength of QTC and interfacial fracture toughness (IFT) were investigated by changing the amount of fine abrasion dust particles (FADPs) on the aggregate surface from 0.00 to 0.15 wt% and the aggregate water saturation from 0 to 100%. The effects of aggregate water saturation on the compressive strength of the QTC and IFT were notably different, corresponding to the amount of FADPs. As the aggregate water saturation increased from 0 to 100%, in the case of 0.00 wt% FADPs, the IFT decreased from 0.91 to 0.58 MPa∙mm1/2, and thus, the compressive strength of the QTC decreased from 34.8 to 31.4 MPa because the aggregate water saturation increased the water/cement ratio at the interface and, consequently, the interfacial porosity. However, as the aggregate water saturation increased from 0 to 100%, in the case of 0.15 wt% FADPs, the compressive strength increased from 24.6 to 28.1 MPa, while the IFT increased from 0.41 to 0.88 MPa∙mm1/2 because the water/cement ratio at the interface was reduced as a result of the absorption by the FADPs on the surface of the aggregates and the cleaning effects of the aggregate surface. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Inverse Estimation Method of Material Randomness Using Observation
Crystals 2020, 10(6), 512; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst10060512 - 16 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
This study proposes a method for inversely estimating the spatial distribution characteristic of a material’s elastic modulus using the measured value of the observation data and the distance between the measurement points. The structural factors in the structural system possess temporal and spatial [...] Read more.
This study proposes a method for inversely estimating the spatial distribution characteristic of a material’s elastic modulus using the measured value of the observation data and the distance between the measurement points. The structural factors in the structural system possess temporal and spatial randomness. One of the representative structural factors, the material’s elastic modulus, possesses temporal and spatial randomness in the stiffness of the plate structure. The structural factors with randomness are typically modeled as having a certain probability distribution (probability density function) and a probability characteristic (mean and standard deviation). However, this method does not consider spatial randomness. Even if considered, the existing method presents limitations because it does not know the randomness of the actual material. To overcome the limitations, we propose a method to numerically define the spatial randomness of the material’s elastic modulus and confirm factors such as response variability and response variance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Study on Visible Light Catalysis of Graphite Carbon Nitride-Silica Composite Material and Its Surface Treatment of Cement
Crystals 2020, 10(6), 490; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst10060490 - 07 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Cement-based composite is one of the essential building materials that has been widely used in infrastructure and facilities. During the service of cement-based materials, the performance of cement-based materials will be affected after the cement surface is exposed to pollutants. Not only can [...] Read more.
Cement-based composite is one of the essential building materials that has been widely used in infrastructure and facilities. During the service of cement-based materials, the performance of cement-based materials will be affected after the cement surface is exposed to pollutants. Not only can the surface of cement treated with a photocatalyst degrade pollutants, but it can also protect the cement-based materials from being destroyed. In this study, graphite carbon nitride-silica composite materials were synthesized by thermal polymerization using nanosilica and urea as raw materials. The effect of nanosilica content and specific surface area were investigated with the optimal condition attained to be 0.15 g and 300 m2/g, respectively. An X-ray diffractometer, thermogravimetric analyzer, scanning electron microscope, a Brunauer–Emmett–Teller (BET) specific surface area analyzer and ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometer were utilized for the characterization of as-prepared graphite carbon nitride-silica composite materials. Subsequently, the surface of cement-based materials was treated with graphite carbon nitride-silica composite materials by the one-sided immersion and brushing methods for the study of photocatalytic performance. By comparing the degradation effect of Rhodamine B, it was found that the painting method is more suitable for the surface treatment of cement. In addition, through the reaction of calcium hydroxide and graphite carbon nitride-silica composite materials, it was found that the combination of graphite carbon nitride-silica composite materials and cement is through C-S-H gel. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Inhibition of the Alkali-Carbonate Reaction Using Fly Ash and the Underlying Mechanism
Crystals 2020, 10(6), 484; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst10060484 - 05 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
In this paper, fly ash is used to inhibit the alkali-carbonate reaction (ACR). The experimental results suggest that when the alkali equivalent (equivalent Na2Oeq) of the cement is 1.0%, the adding of 30% fly ash can significantly inhibit the expansion in [...] Read more.
In this paper, fly ash is used to inhibit the alkali-carbonate reaction (ACR). The experimental results suggest that when the alkali equivalent (equivalent Na2Oeq) of the cement is 1.0%, the adding of 30% fly ash can significantly inhibit the expansion in low-reactivity aggregates. For moderately reactive aggregates, the expansion rate can also be reduced by adding 30% of fly ash. According to a polarizing microscope analysis, the cracks are expansion cracks mainly due to the ACR. The main mechanisms of fly ash inhibiting the ACR are that it refines the pore structure of the cement paste, and that the alkali migration rate in the curing solution to the interior of the concrete microbars is reduced. As the content of fly ash increases, the concentrations of K+ and Na+ and the pH value in the pore solution gradually decrease. This makes the ACR in the rocks slower, such that the cracks are reduced, and the expansion due to the ACR is inhibited. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Study of Bond Strength of Steel Bars in Basalt Fibre Reinforced High Performance Concrete
Crystals 2020, 10(6), 436; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst10060436 - 29 May 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
The paper presents the study on bond behaviour of steel bars. It reports the research conducted on local bond strength of short length specimens in high performance concrete (HPC) and basalt fibre reinforced high performance concrete (BFRHPC). In this study, the basalt fibre [...] Read more.
The paper presents the study on bond behaviour of steel bars. It reports the research conducted on local bond strength of short length specimens in high performance concrete (HPC) and basalt fibre reinforced high performance concrete (BFRHPC). In this study, the basalt fibre volume content, concrete cover, bar diameter and rib geometry are the main parameters. Further important factors are the directions of the casting and loading. Determining the effect of aforementioned main parameters on the bond strength in test series is required, in order to design reinforced HPC structures. The study of local bond strength in HPC and BFRHPC with five different basalt fibre fractions included tests of seventy-two short length specimens, using two concrete cover and two diameters of steel bars with different rib face angles. For different ranges of BFRHPC strength, relationships for bond strength with respect to the splitting tensile strength were obtained. The bond strength increased with the splitting tensile strength and compressive strength of BFRHPC specimens with the 12 mm and 16 mm bar respectively. The bond strength of BFRHPC was lower for the bar with the greater distances between the lugs on the bar. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Combined Action of Steel Fiber and MgO on Chloride Diffusion Resistance of Concrete
Crystals 2020, 10(4), 338; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst10040338 - 24 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
To improve the chloride diffusion resistance and durability of concrete, a new kind of steel fiber reinforced MgO concrete (SFRMC) was made by adding steel fiber and MgO to concrete simultaneously. With steel fiber for load bearing and expansion limiting, MgO as the [...] Read more.
To improve the chloride diffusion resistance and durability of concrete, a new kind of steel fiber reinforced MgO concrete (SFRMC) was made by adding steel fiber and MgO to concrete simultaneously. With steel fiber for load bearing and expansion limiting, MgO as the expander, SFRMC has both the advantages of fiber reinforced concrete and expansion concrete. The influence of steel fiber and MgO on the strength and chloride diffusion resistance of concrete was evaluated by splitting tensile test and chloride diffusion test. Mercury intrusion porosimeter (MIP) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) were used to study the microstructure of SFRMC. The results showed that the combined action of steel fiber and MgO reduced the porosity of concrete and the chloride diffusion coefficient (CDC), which could not be achieved by steel fiber and MgO separately. In the free state, the expansion energy produced by the hydration of MgO made the concrete expand outwards. However, under the constraint of steel fiber, the expansion energy was used to tension the fiber, resulting in self-stress. In this way, compared to reference concrete RC, the tensile strength of SFRMC-1, SFRMC-2, and SFRMC-3 increased by 3.1%, 61.3%, and 64.5%, CDC decreased by 8.8%, 36.7%, and 33.1%, and the porosity decreased by 6.2%, 18.4%, and 20.6%, respectively. In addition, the SEM observations demonstrated that the interfacial transition zone (ITZ) between fiber and matrix was denser in SFRMC, which contributed to reduce the diffusion of chloride ions in the concrete. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Experimental Study on Unconfined Compression Strength of Polypropylene Fiber Reinforced Composite Cemented Clay
Crystals 2020, 10(4), 247; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst10040247 - 26 Mar 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
The effects of three main factors, including polypropylene fiber content, composite cement content and curing time on the unconfined compressive strength of fiber-reinforced cemented clay were studied through a series of unconfined compressive strength tests. The experimental results show that the incorporation of [...] Read more.
The effects of three main factors, including polypropylene fiber content, composite cement content and curing time on the unconfined compressive strength of fiber-reinforced cemented clay were studied through a series of unconfined compressive strength tests. The experimental results show that the incorporation of fibers can increase the compressive strength and residual strength of cement-reinforced clay as well as the corresponding axial strain when the stress peak is reached compared with cement-reinforced clay. The compressive strength of fiber-reinforced cement clay decreases first, then increases with small-composite cement at curing time 14 d and 28 d. However, fiber-reinforced cement clay’s strength increases with the increase of fiber content for heavy-composite cement. The compressive strength of fiber-composite cement-reinforced marine clay increases with the increase of curing time and composite cement content. The growth rate increases with the increase of curing time. The failure mode of composite cement-reinforced clay is brittle failure, while the failure mode of fiber-reinforced cemented clay is plastic failure. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison of Material Properties of SCC Concrete with Steel Fibres Related to Ingress of Chlorides
Crystals 2020, 10(3), 220; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst10030220 - 20 Mar 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
The paper focuses on the evaluation of chloride ion diffusion coefficient of self-compacting concrete with steel fibre reinforcement. The reference concrete from Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) and Self-Compacting Concrete (SCC) with several values of added steel fibres—0%, 1% and 2% of weight—were cast [...] Read more.
The paper focuses on the evaluation of chloride ion diffusion coefficient of self-compacting concrete with steel fibre reinforcement. The reference concrete from Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) and Self-Compacting Concrete (SCC) with several values of added steel fibres—0%, 1% and 2% of weight—were cast in order to investigate the effect of fibres. The three procedures of diffusion coefficient calculation are presented—rapid chloride penetration test, accelerated penetration tests with chloride as well as the surface measurement of electrical resistivity using Wenner probe. The resulting diffusion coefficients obtained by all methods are compared and evaluated regarding the basic mechanical properties of concrete mixtures. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Experimental Investigations on the Performances of Composite Building Materials Based on Industrial Crops and Volcanic Rocks
Crystals 2020, 10(2), 102; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst10020102 - 11 Feb 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Interdisciplinary and sustainability represent the main characteristics of this paper due to the fact that this research is offering a connection between two main areas—agronomy and construction, by using hemp shiv for the design of new building materials, which can increase the sustainability [...] Read more.
Interdisciplinary and sustainability represent the main characteristics of this paper due to the fact that this research is offering a connection between two main areas—agronomy and construction, by using hemp shiv for the design of new building materials, which can increase the sustainability level of the building industry. For this reason, the main scope of this study is based on the investigation of a new category of composite building materials—lightweight mortars based on hemp shiv, volcanic rocks and white cement—which contribute to a positive environmental impact and help to increase indoor comfort. A complex report was carried out on two segments. The first one is focused upon the characteristics of the raw materials from the composition of the new materials, while the second segment presents a detailed analysis of these composites including morphological and chemical investigation, pyrolytic and fire behavior, compression and flexural strengths, and acoustic and thermal characteristics. The proposed recipes have as a variable volcanic rocks, while the hemp and the binder maintain their volumes and properties. The results were analyzed according to the influence of volcanic rocks on the new composites. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Rhodamine B Removal of TiO2@SiO2 Core-Shell Nanocomposites Coated to Buildings
Crystals 2020, 10(2), 80; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst10020080 - 31 Jan 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Surface application of photocatalyst in cement-based materials could endow it with photocatalytic properties, however, the weak adhesion between photocatalyst coatings and the substrates may result in poor durability in outdoor environments. In this study, TiO2@SiO2 core-shell nanocomposites with different coating [...] Read more.
Surface application of photocatalyst in cement-based materials could endow it with photocatalytic properties, however, the weak adhesion between photocatalyst coatings and the substrates may result in poor durability in outdoor environments. In this study, TiO2@SiO2 core-shell nanocomposites with different coating thicknesses were synthesized by varying the experiment parameters. The results indicate that SiO2 coatings accelerated the rhodamine B removal to a certain extent, owing to its high surface area; however, more SiO2 coatings decreased its photocatalytic efficiencies. The cement matrix treated with TiO2@SiO2 core-shell nanocomposites showed good photocatalytic efficiency and durability after harsh weathering processing. A reaction mechanism was revealed by the reaction of TiO2@SiO2 nanocomposites with Ca(OH)2. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Investigation of the Mechanical and Physical Characteristics of Cement Paste Incorporating Different Air Entraining Agents using X-ray Micro-Computed Tomography
Crystals 2020, 10(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/cryst10010023 - 06 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Improving the thermal insulation properties of cement-based materials is the key to reducing energy loss and consumption in buildings. Lightweight cement-based composites can be used efficiently for this purpose, as a structural material with load bearing ability or as a non-structural one for [...] Read more.
Improving the thermal insulation properties of cement-based materials is the key to reducing energy loss and consumption in buildings. Lightweight cement-based composites can be used efficiently for this purpose, as a structural material with load bearing ability or as a non-structural one for thermal insulation. In this research, lightweight cement pastes containing fly ash and cement were prepared and tested. In these mixes, three different techniques for producing air voids inside the cement paste were used through the incorporation of aluminum powder (AL), air entraining agent (AA), and hollow microspheres (AS). Several experiments were carried out in order to examine the structural and physical characteristics of the cement composites, including dry density, compressive strength, porosity and absorption. A Hot Disk device was used to evaluate the thermal conductivity of different cement composites. In addition, X-ray micro-computed tomography (micro-CT) was adopted to investigate the microstructure of the air-entrained cement pastes and the spatial distribution of the voids inside pastes without destroying the specimens. The experimental results obtained showed that AS specimens with admixture of hollow microspheres can improve the compressive strength of cement composites compared to other air entraining admixtures at the same density level. It was also confirmed that the incorporation of aluminum powder creates large voids, which have a negative effect on specimens’ strength and absorption. Full article
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