A cement paste–tail sealant interface modified with a silane coupling agent for enhancing waterproofing performance in a concrete lining system
Although hydrophobic surface coating of concrete is currently used to enhance waterproofing performance of underground structures, the chemical and mechanical incompatibility between an inorganic cement and organic coating makes it a challenge to ensure long-term waterproofing properties of underground facilities, especially for tunnel lining systems. This study explores the feasibility of using a silane coupling agent to improve compatibility between the cement and tail sealant interface, which aims to reduce the water leakage risk of lining systems. The enhanced waterproofing performance of the cement–tail sealant interface modified with the silane agent was confirmed by its hydrophobicity (i.e. reduced wetting ability) and reduced permeability, which was evaluated by static water-contact angle and impermeability pressure measurements. The processes underlying the enhanced waterproofing performance of the cement–tail sealant interface were revealed by chemical bonding, microstructure and porosity characterization. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) results of the cement–tail sealant interface confirm the reactions between the silane agent and cement hydration products, while both microstructure and porosity results reveal that the cement–tail sealant interface is denser and less porous, relative to the control cement grout.