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Friday, 15 December 2017
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Raw materials & technologies, Technologies, Functional coatings

Bioinspired route toward elastic concrete materials

Friday, 1 December 2017

Taking inspiration from a sea urchin spine with highly ordered nanoparticles in the biomineral mesocrystal, German researchers report a bioinspired route toward elastic concrete materials.

A sea urchin spine. Source: Physical Chemistry, University of Konstanz.

A sea urchin spine. Source: Physical Chemistry, University of Konstanz.

Calcium silicate hydrate (C-S-H) is the binder in concrete, the most used synthetic material in the world.

Poor flexural strength

The main weakness of concrete is the lack of elasticity and poor flexural strength considerably limiting its potential, making reinforcing steel constructions necessary. Although the properties of C-S-H could be significantly improved in organic hybrids, the full potential of this approach could not be reached because of the random C-S-H nanoplatelet struct

Bending strength similar to nacre

Taking inspiration from a sea urchin spine with highly ordered nanoparticles in the biomineral mesocrystal, German researchers report a bioinspired route toward a C-S-H mesocrystal with highly aligned C-S-H nanoplatelets interspaced with a polymeric binder. A material with a bending strength similar to nacre is obtained, outperforming all C-S-H–based materials known to date. This strategy could greatly benefit future construction processes because fracture toughness and elasticity of brittle cementitious materials can be largely enhanced on the nanoscale.

The study is published in: Science Advances, Vol. 3, No. 11, November 1, 2017.

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