DOI: 10.1002/suco.202301059 ISSN: 1464-4177

Evaluation of the acid degradation properties of colloidal nanosilica‐based cement pastes

Murugan Muthu, Łukasz Sadowski
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • General Materials Science
  • Building and Construction
  • Civil and Structural Engineering


The present study examined the effects of colloidal nanosilica on the performance of cement paste samples exposed to nitric acid for a continuous period of 28 days. Compressive strength and weight losses in paste samples as a result of this attack were determined to be 66% and 27%. The inclusion of nanosilica up to 6% by weight reduced these sample losses by densifying the microstructure with its pore filling and pozzolanic effects. The addition of nanosilica decreased the flow of cement paste by 30%, but improved compressive and flexural strengths at the end of 28 days by up to 45% and 118%. The acid attack on the cement sample resulted in the formation of a degraded layer surrounding the unaltered core material. X‐ray tomography images showed this zone formation, and the scanning electron microscopy images revealed the degraded microstructure. The results of the x‐ray diffraction and nanoindentation tests confirmed the complete decalcification of the main cement hydrates, including calcium silicate hydrate and portlandite, as a result of acid attack. The results obtained suggest that the incorporation of nanosilica strengthens the microstructure of the cement matrix, thus improving the service life of structural concrete operating in chemical environments.

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