Polymer modified cement: hydration microstructure and diffusion properties
Investigations concentrated on the styrene butadiene rubber (SBR) latex and formulations included standard carboxylated and special carboxylated latexes. The aqueous component, containing the stabilisers and antifoaming agent but not the polymer solids, was also used. For comparison, limited investigations were carried out using other polymer types e.g. acrylic, ethylene-vinyl acetate (EVA), and redispersible powders rather than emulsions. The major findings were: 1) All latex systems investigated acted as retarders for cement hydration. The extent of retardation depends on the type of polymer. The mechanism for cement hydration may be changed, and excessive retardation influences properties. 2) Polymer modified cements exhibited either similar or coarser pore structures compared with unmodified cements. Results suggest that polymer mainly exists in a mixture of cement hydrates and polymer phase. Very little evidence was found for the formation of a distinct polymer film phase. 3) During the first few days of curing the polymer solids are removed from the pore solution and concentrations of OH-, Na+ and K+ are reduced. These observations are probably a result of polymer-cement surface interactions since there was no evidence of any chemical reactions or degradation of the polymer. 4) Improved diffusional resistance of modified cements depends on the ability to achieve adequate workability at low w/c ratio, rather than modification of matrix structure.