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Issue 32, 2014
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Multiscale structure of calcium- and magnesium-silicate-hydrate gels

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Concrete is the world's most widely used building material. However, the production of CaO-based cements generates large amounts of anthropogenic emissions of CO2. Among different strategies to reduce CO2 emissions, newly developed MgO-based cements, though currently suffering from inferior mechanical properties, are some of the most promising and attractive options. By combining wide- and small-angle X-ray scattering and electron microscopy, we identified differences in the multiscale structure of the two main binding phases: the calcium-silicate-hydrate (C-S-H) gel for CaO-based cements and the magnesium-silicate-hydrate (M-S-H) gel for MgO-based cements. We found the primary unit at the nanoscale level of C-S-H to be a multilayer disk-like globule, whereas for M-S-H it is a spherical globule. These prominent differences result in diverse microstructures, leading to disparities in mechanical properties and durability for the associated cements. Modulating the M-S-H structure and enhancing the compatibility between C-S-H and M-S-H will be the key to improve the robustness of eco-friendly MgO-based binders.

Graphical abstract: Multiscale structure of calcium- and magnesium-silicate-hydrate gels

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Publication details

The article was received on 17 Mar 2014, accepted on 30 May 2014 and first published on 03 Jun 2014

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C4TA02479F
Citation: J. Mater. Chem. A, 2014,2, 12991-12998
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    Multiscale structure of calcium- and magnesium-silicate-hydrate gels

    W.-S. Chiang, G. Ferraro, E. Fratini, F. Ridi, Y.-Q. Yeh, U-S. Jeng, S.-H. Chen and P. Baglioni, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2014, 2, 12991
    DOI: 10.1039/C4TA02479F

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