As of October 1, 2016, the SWUTC concluded its 28 years of operation and is no longer an active center of the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. The archived SWUTC website remains available here.

476660-00017-1 Report Abstract

Nanotechnology-Based System for Damage-Resistant Concrete Pavements

Rashid K. Abu Al-Rub, Texas A&M University, August 2012, 124 pp.

The focus of this study was to explore the use of nanotechnology-based nanofilaments, such as carbon nanotubes (CNTs) and nanofibers (CNFs), as reinforcement for improving the mechanical properties of Portland cement paste and creating multifunctional and sensing concrete. Due to their ultra-high strength and very high aspect ratios, CNTs and CNFs have been excellent reinforcements for enhancing the physical and mechanical properties of polymer, metallic, and ceramic composites. Very little attention has been devoted to exploring the use of nanofilaments in the transportation industry, however. Therefore, this study aimed to bridge the gap between nanofilaments and transportation materials. This was achieved by testing the integration of CNTs and CNFs in ordinary Portland cement paste through state-of-the-art techniques. Different mixes in fixed proportions (e.g., water-to-cement ratio, air content, admixtures) along with varying concentrations of CNTs or CNFs were prepared. Different techniques commonly used for other materials (like polymers) were used in achieving uniform dispersion of nanofilaments in the cement paste matrix and strong nanofilament/cement bonding. Small-scale specimens were prepared for mechanical testing in order to measure the modified mechanical properties as a function of nanofilament concentration, type, and distribution. With 0.1% CNFs, the ultimate strain capacity increased by 142%, the flexural strength increased by 79%, and the fracture toughness increased by 242%. A scanning electron microscope was used to discern the difference between crack bridging and fiber pullout. Test results showed that the strength, ductility, and fracture toughness can be improved with the addition of low concentrations of either CNTs or CNFs.

Keywords: Carbon Nanotubes, Carbon Nanofibers, Cement, Dispersion, Fracture, Nano Reinforcements

ENTIRE REPORT (Adobe Acrobat File – 4 MB)