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Testing superabsorbent polymer (SAP) sorption properties prior to implementation in concrete: results of a RILEM Round-Robin Test

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This article presents the results of a round-robin test performed by 13 international research groups in the framework of the activities of the RILEM Technical Committee 260 RSC “Recommendations for use of superabsorbent polymers in concrete construction”. Two commercially available superabsorbent polymers (SAP) with different chemical compositions and gradings were tested in terms of their kinetics of absorption in different media; demineralized water, cement filtrate solution with a particular cement distributed to every participant and a local cement chosen by the participant. Two absorption test methods were considered; the tea-bag method and the filtration method. The absorption capacity was evaluated as a function of time. The results showed correspondence in behaviour of the SAPs among all participants, but also between the two test methods, even though high scatter was observed at early minutes of testing after immersion. The tea-bag method proved to be more practical in terms of time dependent study, whereby the filtration method showed less variation in the absorption capacity after 24 h. However, absorption followed by intrinsic, ion-mediated desorption of a specific SAP sample in the course of time was not detected by the filtration method. This SAP-specific characteristic was only displayed by the tea-bag method. This demonstrates the practical applicability of both test methods, each one having their own strengths and weaknesses at distinct testing times.

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As a Postdoctoral Research Fellow of the Research Foundation-Flanders (FWO-Vlaanderen), D. Snoeck would like to thank the foundation for the financial support (12J3617 N). Prof. Juhyuk Moon wants to thank Dr. Sung-Hoon Kang for the experimental work. Prof. Mechtcherine and Dr. Schröfl thank Paul Mai for preparing and shipping the polymer samples and Olga Pertseva for performing the sorption experiments. F.C.R. Almeida acknowledges National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq—Brazil) for the financial support. Prof. Kendra Erk would like to thank Dr. Matthew Krafcik and Eduard Caicedo-Casso for their experimental work.

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Correspondence to Viktor Mechtcherine.

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The study reported in this paper was performed within the framework of the RILEM TC 260-RSC “Recommendations for Use of Superabsorbent Polymers in Concrete Construction”. The paper was reviewed and approved by all members of the RILEM TC 260-RSC.

TC Membership:

Chairman: Viktor Mechtcherine.

Secretary: Mateusz Wyrzykowski.

Members: Fernando C.R. Almeida, Alexander Assmann, Billy Boshoff, Daniel Cusson, João Custódio, Nele De Belie, Igor De la Varga, Kendra Erk, Vyatcheslav Falikman, Eugenia Fonseca Silva, Stefan Friedrich, Michaela Gorges, Kazuo Ichimiya, Shin-Ichi Igarashi, Agnieszka J. Klemm, Konstantin Kovler, Pietro Lura, Juhyuk Moon, Hans W. Reinhardt, António Bettencourt Ribeiro, Klaus-Alexander Rieder, Christof Schroefl, Didier Snoeck, Romildo D. Toledo Filho, Nikolajs Toropovs, Chiara Villani, Guang Ye.

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Mechtcherine, V., Snoeck, D., Schröfl, C. et al. Testing superabsorbent polymer (SAP) sorption properties prior to implementation in concrete: results of a RILEM Round-Robin Test. Mater Struct 51, 28 (2018).

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