Title: On the Formulation of Reactive Binders Containing Soluble Borate Compounds
Author(s): Maurizio Bellotto, MariaChiara Dalconi, Enrico Garbin, and Gilberto Artioli
Publication: Symposium Paper
Appears on pages(s): 383-393
Keywords: boron minerals, colemanite, cement setting, hydration retardation, neutron shielding
Boron efficiently absorbs neutrons due to its large cross section. Thus, boron containing materials are an effective shield to neutrons and are commonly used as containment barriers in nuclear reactors. The most economical way to include boron into shielding structures is to prepare B-rich mortars or concretes, to be used as structural elements or as plastering. However, colemanite [Ca(B3O4(OH)3)∙(H2O)], the most abundant Bcontaining
mineral, is sufficiently soluble to release enough borate ions in solution to indefinitely stop Portland cement hydration.
Here we present the formulation of hydraulically active binders containing 50% of colemanite. They are based on blends of calcium aluminate cements and blastfurnace slag. The main hydration product in the absence of colemanite is strätlingite along with other AFm phases. MgO causes an increasing hydrotalcite precipitation, and fly ashes further increase strätlingite content. The presence of colemanite causes the precipitation of B-ettringite, where B(OH)4¯ ions substitute for sulphate ions. These binders set in one day and harden in 4 days. The addition of hydrated lime in the formulations brings about the additional precipitation of B-containing AFm phases, where the trigonal HBO32- ion constitutes the interlayer between positive [Ca2Al(OH)6]+ sheets. These binders set in few hours and harden in one day.