Nucleation and growth of C-S-H - PCE used as strength enhancer in cement

Vipasri Kanchanason, Johann Plank

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The influence of an isoprenyl oxy poly(ethylene glycol) (IPEG) based PCE on the nucleation and crystallization of C-S-H precipitated from aqueous solutions of Ca(NO3)2 and Na2SiO3 was investigated. It was found that in the absence of IPEG-PCE, globular nanoparticles of C-S-H with a diameter of ~50 nm [1.97 x 10-6 in.] are formed. Subsequently, within an hour the globules convert to C-S-H nanofoils with ~150 nm [5.91 x 10-6 in.] length following a non-classical nucleation mechanism. In the presence of the PCE, the initial globules show a core-shell structure whereby a layer; presumably PCE polymer, coats the C-S-H core. The shell around the C-S-H globules delays the conversion to the nanofoils for several hours and leads to significantly smaller foils and a superior seeding material in cement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)67-75
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Concrete Institute, ACI Special Publication
Issue numberSP 329
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes
Event12th International Conference on Superplasticizers and other Chemical Admixtures in Concrete, ICSP 2018 - Beijing, China
Duration: 28 Oct 201831 Oct 2018


  • Calcium silicate hydrate
  • Early strength
  • Globules
  • Nanofoils
  • Non-classical nucleation
  • Polycarboxylate


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