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Polymers (Basel). 2018 Sep 28;10(10). pii: E1074. doi: 10.3390/polym10101074.

Internal Relative Humidity, Autogenous Shrinkage, and Strength of Cement Mortar Modified with Superabsorbent Polymers.

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Sid and Reva Dewberry Department of Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030, USA.
Department of Architectural Engineering, Gachon University, Seongnam 13120, Korea.
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Gachon University, Seongnam 13120, Korea.


Laboratory evaluations were performed to investigate the effect of internal curing (IC) by superabsorbent polymers (SAP) on the internal relative humidity (IRH), autogenous shrinkage, coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE), and strength characteristics of low water-cement ratio (w/c) mortars. Four types of SAP with different cross-linking densities and particle sizes were used. Test results showed that the SAP inclusion effectively mitigated the IRH drops due to self-desiccation and corresponding autogenous shrinkage, and the IC effectiveness tended to increase with an increased SAP dosage. The greater the cross-linking density and particle size of SAP, the less the IRH drop and autogenous shrinkage. The trend of autogenous shrinkage developments was in good agreement with that of IRH changes, with nearly linear relationships between them. Both immediate deformation (ID)-based and full response-based CTEs were rarely affected by SAP inclusions. There were no substantial losses in compressive and flexural strengths of SAP-modified mortar compared to reference plain mortar. The findings revealed that SAPs can be effectively used to reduce the shrinkage cracking potential of low w/c cement-based materials at early ages, without compromising mechanical and thermal characteristics.


autogenous shrinkage; coefficient of thermal expansion; internal curing; internal relative humidity; strength; superabsorbent polymers

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