Issue 8, 2017

Morphogenesis of cement hydrate


As the most widely used synthetic material on the planet, concrete poses a serious societal concern regarding its significant environmental footprint. There is a global urgency to develop innovative strategies to develop greener concrete with improved strength and durability (to do more with less). In this context, reducing cement hydrate porosity via tuning the kinetics and morphology of its building blocks is highly desired but a fundamental challenge. Herein, we propose for the first time a unique pathway involving in situ seed generation and subsequent controlled overgrowth, demonstrating the morphogenesis of cement hydrate ranging from cubic, rhombohedral, dendritic to core–shell-like structures, which are all expressed in a single morphology diagram. Probing the mechanics of individual particles versus their assemblies at larger scales reveals that the low porosity attained by the formation of face-to-face close-packed cubic particles leads to significantly improved mechanics, opening up an entirely new phase space for bottom-up engineering of concrete while curbing its negative environmental impacts.

Graphical abstract: Morphogenesis of cement hydrate

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
30 Oct 2016
28 Nov 2016
First published
30 Nov 2016

J. Mater. Chem. A, 2017,5, 3798-3811

Morphogenesis of cement hydrate

S. E. Moghaddam, V. Hejazi, S. H. Hwang, S. Sreenivasan, J. Miller, B. Shi, S. Zhao, I. Rusakova, A. R. Alizadeh, K. H. Whitmire and R. Shahsavari, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2017, 5, 3798 DOI: 10.1039/C6TA09389B

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