Nano-modified Polymer Concrete: A New Material for Smart and Resilient Structures
Polymer concrete (PC) is a type of concrete where polymer binder replaces cement. PC has been used in field applications since the 1950s. Specifically, PC has been widely used for precast architectural facade, underground utilities, manholes, machine foundations, bridge deck overlays and closures, and other applications. PC is characterized by high compressive and tensile strengths and superior durability compared with conventional Portland cement concrete. However, the use of PC is limited due to its relatively higher cost than conventional concrete. This paper suggests that a significant change in PC can take place by incorporating a very limited amount of nanomaterials (below 2% of carbon nanotubes or alumina nanoparticles by weight of the resin). Incorporating such small amount of nanomaterials will result in significant improvement in mechanical properties of PC including strength, ductility, and fracture toughness. We also show that incorporating 2.0 wt.% of pristine carbon nanotubes can result in significant improvement in ductility and can allow self-sensing capabilities of PC. The significance of using nanomaterials is fundamental and will open doors for using PC as a material for smart and resilient structures under extreme loadings.
The author cordially thanks the financial support over the last 10 years of numerous funding agencies including NSF, USDOT, US DOE, NMDOT, Transpo Industries, and Epoxy Chemicals. Special thanks to all post-doctors and graduate students who participated in this research over the years.
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