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September 20th, 2007
Concrete advances in nanotech
Nanotechnology is usually associated with high profile biomedical, telecommunication and military applications. But for most of us, one of the main ways this science at nanometre-level is revolutionising our daily lives is right under our feet - concrete.
The researchers' interests lie primarily in developing new cements, concretes, admixtures (concrete performance-enhancing additives) and innovations based on these discoveries. Initial research has concentrated on such areas as low energy cements, nano-composites, improved particle packing, and novel approaches for the controlled release of chemical admixtures.
Hydrated cement is porous with a pore size distribution that ranges from the nanometres to millimetres. However, the pores are also a core weakness: they are a pathway for chloride salts and other chemicals to seep into concrete causing cracking and deterioration that costs the economy annually.
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