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Nano-scale mechanics of colloidal C--S--H gels

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Enrico Masoero



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


Gels of calcium-silicate-hydrates (C-S-H) are the glue that is largely responsible for the mechanical properties of cement. Despite their practical relevance, their nano-scale structure and mechanics are still mainly unexplored, because of the difficulties in characterizing them in a complex material like cement. We propose a colloidal model to investigate the gel mechanics emerging in the critical range of length-scales from several tens to hundreds of nanometers. We show that the size polydispersity of the hydrates and size-dependent effective interactions can explain the mechanical heterogeneities detected in nano-indentation experiments. We also show how these features control the arising of irreversible structural rearrangements under deformation, which are good candidates as nano-scale mechanisms underlying mechanical aging and slow structural relaxation in the gels.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Masoero E, Del Gado E, Pellenq RJM, Yip S, Ulm F-J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Soft Matter

Year: 2014

Volume: 10

Issue: 3

Pages: 491-499

Print publication date: 21/01/2014

Online publication date: 01/11/2013

Acceptance date: 28/10/2013

Date deposited: 28/04/2016

ISSN (print): 1744-683X

ISSN (electronic): 1744-6848

Publisher: Royal Society of Chemistry


DOI: 10.1039/C3SM51815A


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