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A coupled nanoindentation/SEM-EDS study on low water/cement ratio Portland cement paste: Evidence for C-S-H/Ca(OH)2 nanocomposites

Abstract : A low water/cement ratio (w/c=0.20) hydrated Portland cement paste was analyzed by grid-indentation coupled with ex situ scanning electron microscope-energy-dispersive X-ray spectra (SEM-EDS) analysis at each indentation point. Because finite element and Monte-Carlo simulations showed that the microvolumes probed by each method are of comparable size (approximately 2 μm), the mechanical information provided by nanoindentation was directly comparable to the chemical information provided by SEM-EDS. This coupled approach provided the opportunity to determine whether the local indentation response was a result of a single- or a multiphase response--the latter being shown predominant in the highly concentrated w/c=0.20 hydrated cement paste. Results indicate that, in the selected microvolumes where C-S-H and nanoscale Ca(OH)2 (CH) are present, increasing fractions of CH increase the local indentation modulus (and hardness), yielding values above those reported for high-density (HD) C-S-H. Micromechanical analyses show that C-S-H and CH are associated, not merely as a simple biphase mixture, but as an intimate nanocomposite where nanoscale CH reinforces C-S-H by partially filling the latter's gel pores. The paper discusses the mechanism of forming the C-S-H/CH nanocomposite, as well as the impact of nanocomposites on various macroscopic properties of concrete (e.g., shrinkage, expansion). On a general level, this study illustrates how a coupled nanoindentation/X-ray microanalysis/micromechanics approach can provide otherwise inaccessible information on the nanomechanical properties of highly heterogeneous composites with intermixing at length scales smaller than the stress field in a nanoindentation experiment.
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Submitted on : Monday, August 22, 2011 - 11:20:33 AM
Last modification on : Saturday, January 15, 2022 - 3:49:51 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Friday, November 25, 2011 - 11:05:56 AM


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Jeffrey Chen, Luca Sorelli, Matthieu Vandamme, Franz-Josef Ulm, Gilles Chanvillard. A coupled nanoindentation/SEM-EDS study on low water/cement ratio Portland cement paste: Evidence for C-S-H/Ca(OH)2 nanocomposites. Journal of the American Ceramic Society, Wiley, 2010, 93 (5), pp.1484-1493. ⟨10.1111/j.1551-2916.2009.03599.x⟩. ⟨hal-00555495⟩



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