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September 20th, 2007
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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