Polycarboxylate ether (PCE) based superplasticizer is one of the latest and fastest-growing chemical compounds in the world. It is a highly versatile admixture, used for a wide range of concrete applications.
Compared with other plasticizing admixtures, PCE superplasticizers are relatively easy to formulate and can be mixed at a lower dosage. They are adsorbable on the surface of cement particles or agglomerates, resulting in the dispersion of cement particles and the increase of flowability.
In addition, pce based superplasticizers have also been shown to enhance the strength of cement-based materials by developing denser microstructures and by increasing heat of hydration. This is an important advantage, as it allows for reducing concrete contents while meeting compressive strength specifications.
The use of pce based superplasticizers is particularly relevant to high-range water reducing admixtures (HRWRA) in cement. These admixtures have been widely used in high-performance, self-consolidating, fiber reinforced concrete and other specialty concretes.
As the application of pce based superplasticizers continues to develop, it will become a key component in modern concrete and a major factor in concrete performance. A better understanding of how PCEs influence basic mechanisms of cement hydration (dissolution, diffusion, precipitation) is critical for improving the efficiency of designing novel superplasticizer admixtures.
In this study, adsorption and dynamic yield stress of seven different pce based superplasticizers in fresh cement paste systems were investigated by using a steric hindrance method with a pore water-entraining agent (AEA) as the adsorbent. The results show that the adsorption of PCE is inversely related to the standard dosage and the dynamic yield stress decreases significantly with the higher amounts of PCE admixture added. The thixotropic index also shows a decrease with the increased amount of PCE.
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