Properties and performance of polymer modified cements and mortars
Polymer modified cements and mortars have become popular for use as patch repair materials. General evidence suggests that these materials offer considerable improvements compared to traditional mortars although the mechanisms for this are not fully understood. This work elucidates the factors which govern some properties and performance of different polymer systems. In view of the wide range of commercial systems available, investigations concentrated on the use of three of the most commonly available groups of polymers. These were: (1) Styrene Butadiene Rubber (SBR), (2) Acrylics and, (3) Ethylene Vinyl Acetates (EVA). The later two were in the form of both emulsions and redispersible powders. Experiments concentrated on: (1) Rheological behaviour of polymer modified cement pastes; (2) Workability of polymer modified mortars; (3) Influence of curing conditions on the pore size distribution and diffusion of chloride ions; (4) Bond strength of polymer modified cement and mortar patches; and (5) Microscopic examination and semi-quantitative analyses of the bulk and interfacial microstructures. The following main conclusions were reached: (1) The addition of polymer emulsions have a considerable influence on the workability of fresh cement pastes, the extent of this depending on the type of system used. (2) The rheological parameters of fresh polymer modified mortars can be established using a two-point workability test which may be used when comparing the properties of different systems at constant workability. (3) Curing conditions affect the properties of polymer modified systems and a wet/dry curing regime was essential for good adhesion of these materials to mortar substrates. (4) In contrast, the wet/dry curing regime resulted in a curing affected zone at the surface of patch materials. This can result in a much coarser pore structure and enhanced diffusion of e.g. chloride ions. (5) The microstructure of polymer modified systems was very different compared with the unmodified cement/mortar and varied depending on curing conditions.