• Invited talk
  • MS6.002-invited

Nucleation mechanism of Magnesium-Silicate-Hydrate (M-S-H) cement


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Geoscience and construction materials, cultural heritage


  • MS 6: Geoscience and construction materials, cultural heritage


Cristina Ruiz Agudo (Konstanz / DE)


Abstract text (incl. figure legends and references)

Concrete is the most used artificial material of humankind. But despite the importance of concrete to our infrastructure, the production of its binder cement is contributing to a significant amount of the global CO2 emissions. [1] Actions to reduce cement"s massive carbon footprint involve strategies that include the utilization of abundant clays and minerals but also the development of low carbon binders. [2] Magnesium-Silicate-Hydrate (M-S-H) has caught the attention of material scientists as an alternative binder that could be produced from low carbon resources like seawater brines and the extraction of educts from abundant minerals like olivine. [2-3] Until now, most alternative binders are only scarcely researched and suffer from deficient material properties compared to traditional Portland cement.

Innovative binders must meet certain requirements, such as being environmentally friendly, sustainable, having suitable material properties while also being economically reasonable. Fundamental knowledge about the nucleation and growth mechanisms will be pivotal to control the formation and nanostructure of the cementitious material from the bottom up, via the use of designed polymeric or mineral additives formulations. Herein, we investigate first the early stages of M-S-H formation in an additive-free enviroment with physicochemical methods like analytical ultracentrifugation (AUC) coupled with ESI-MS and time-resolved potentiometric titration. This enable us to decipher the moieties present in the pre-nucleation phase and how they affect the postnucleation phase of theM-S-H. Characterization of the final product involves multiple state-of-the-art techniques used in the analysis of morphology and composition (TEM, SEM, IR, XRD).

[1] J. Lehne, F. Preston, Chatham House Report, Energy Enivronment and Resources Department: London, UK 2018, 1-66.

[2] E. Gartner, T. Sui, cement and concrete research 2018, 114, 27-39.

[3] S. Allan Nye, S. Vineet, O. Christopher, S. Barnaby, C. Chris, Frontiers in Built Environment 2021, 7.

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