|Title||Thermodynamics of Water Confined in Porous Calcium-Silicate-Hydrates|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2012|
|Authors||Bonnaud PA, Ji Q, Coasne BA, Pellenq RJean-Marc, Van Vliet KJ|
|Type of Article||Article|
Water within pores of cementitious materials plays a crucial role in the damage processes of cement pastes, particularly in the binding material comprising calcium-silicate-hydrates (C–S–H). Here, we employed Grand Canonical Monte Carlo simulations to investigate the properties of water confined at ambient temperature within and between C–S–H nanoparticles or “grains” as a function of the relative humidity (%RH). We address the effect of water on the cohesion of cement pastes by computing fluid internal pressures within and between grains as a function of %RH and intergranular separation distance, from 1 to 10 Å. We found that, within a C–S–H grain and between C–S–H grains, pores are completely filled with water for %RH larger than 20%. While the cohesion of the cement paste is mainly driven by the calcium ions in the C–S–H, water facilitates a disjoining behavior inside a C–S–H grain. Between C–S–H grains, confined water diminishes or enhances the cohesion of the material depending on the intergranular distance. At very low %RH, the loss of water increases the cohesion within a C–S–H grain and reduces the cohesion between C–S–H grains. These findings provide insights into the behavior of C–S–H in dry or high-temperature environments, with a loss of cohesion between C–S–H grains due to the loss of water content. Such quantification provides the necessary baseline to understand cement paste damaging upon extreme thermal, mechanical, and salt-rich environments.