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Title: Multi-Scale Fiber Reinforcement for Cracking Resistance in Cement Mortars

Author(s): Joshua Hogancamp, Cesario Tavares, and Zachary Grasley

Publication: Symposium Paper

Volume: 335


Appears on pages(s): 1-11

Keywords: Carbon nanofiber; carbon microfiber; mortar; cracking resistance

DOI: 10.14359/51720211

Date: 9/20/2019

The current state of the art in fiber-reinforced cement-based materials indicates that adding multiple fiber types or sizes primarily creates a superpositioned behavior state: the behavior from each fiber type separately is added to the composite behavior of the material. Carbon nanofibers (CNFs) and milled carbon microfibers (MCMFs) can increase cracking resistance in cement-based materials by bridging cracks, although CNFs bridge cracks significantly smaller than cracks bridged by MCMFs. This research suggests that multi-scale fiber reinforcement (CNFs with MCMFs) might add compounded benefits to cracking resistance. Tests evaluating cracking resistance were performed utilizing a restrained-ring drying shrinkage test with Portland cement mortars. The CNFs and/or MCMFs were pre-mixed with cement using a sonication/distillation technique and/or rotary tumbling. Concentrations of CNFs and MCMFs were tested up to 5% and 6% by mass of cement, respectively. Restrained ring tests on mortar with high concentrations of CNFs or MCMFs reveal delayed cracking time by factors up to 6.4 or 2.6, respectively. Combining CNFs with MCMFs delayed cracking by a factor of at least 52. The increase in cracking resistance is attributed to the combined effects of bridging cracks of multiple sizes.