Impact of particle size on interaction forces between ettringite and dispersing comb-polymers in various electrolyte solutions

Lucia Ferrari, Josef Kaufmann, Frank Winnefeld, Johann Plank

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

The inter-particle forces play a fundamental role for the flow properties of a particle suspension in response to shear stresses. In concrete applications, cement admixtures based on comb-polymers like polycarboxylate-ether-based superplasticizer (PCE) are used to control the rheological behavior of the fresh mixtures, as it is negatively impacted by certain early hydration products, like the mineral ettringite.In this work, dispersion forces due to PCE were measured directly at the surface of ettringite crystals in different electrolyte solutions by the means of atomic force microscopy (AFM) applying spherical and sharp silicon dioxide tips.Results show an effective repulsion between ettringite surface and AFM tips for solutions above the IEP of ettringite (pH~12) and significant attraction in solution at lower pH. The addition of polyelectrolytes in solution provides dispersion forces exclusively between the sharp tips (radius. ≈. 10. nm) and the ettringite surface, whereas the polymer layer at the ettringite surface results to be unable to disperse large colloidal probes (radius. ≈. 10. μm).A simple modeling of the inter-particle forces explains that, for large particles, the steric hindrance of the studied PCE molecules is not high enough to compensate for the Van der Waals and the attractive electrostatic contributions. Therefore, in cement suspensions the impact of ettringite on rheology is probably not only related to the particle charge, but also related to the involved particle sizes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-24
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Volume419
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2014

Keywords

  • AFM
  • Colloidal tip
  • Ettringite
  • Superplasticizer
  • Zeta-potential

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