Recent Developments in Superplasticizers


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Title: Recent Developments in Superplasticizers

Author(s): M. Collepardi and M. Valente

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 239


Appears on pages(s): 1-14

Keywords: adsorption; polycarboxylate; polyether; shrinkage; slump loss; steric hindrance; superplasticizer; water reduction; zeta potential

Date: 10/1/2006

Superplasticizers are considered to be the most important chemical admixtures in cement mixtures due to their influence on the hardened concrete properties (related to the water-cement ratio) as well as on those of the concrete in the fresh state (workability and workabilty loss). During the last decade a new family of polymers based on polycarboxylate as the main polymer chain and polyether as side graft chains have been developed. This new family of products appear to be in general more effective in terms of higher water reduction, lower slump loss and lower retarding effect at very early ages. More recently these performances have been enhanced in view of some specific applications: a) in precast concrete structures, the very early strength (such as at 12-16 hours) can be increased even in cold climates and in the absence of steam curing; this effect depends on the number and length of the polyether graft chain which are responsible for the dispersion effect related to the steric hindrance; b) in ready-mixed concrete mixtures, the slump maintenance behavior can be designed as a function of the transport time and placing temperatures, so that fresh superplasticized concrete mixtures can be transported from the batching plant to the job site without any slump loss even in summer times; this effect depends on the gradual liberation of special molecular groups which are responsible for the adsoption of these polymers on the surface cement grains; c) a new series of polycarboxylate polymers has been synthetized in which functional chemical groups, acting as shrinkage-reducing admixtures, again are gradually liberated by the superplasticizer polymer as a function of the pH of the aqueous phase related to the cement hydration.