Assessment of structural, thermal, and mechanical properties of portlandite through molecular dynamics simulations

S Hajilar and B Shafei, JOURNAL OF SOLID STATE CHEMISTRY, 244, 164-174 (2016).

DOI: 10.1016/j.jssc.2016.09.026

The structural, thermal, and mechanical properties of portlandite, the primary solid phase of ordinary hydrated cement paste, are investigated using the molecular dynamics method. To understand the effects of temperature on the structural properties of portlandite, the coefficients of thermal expansion of portlandite are determined in the current study and validated with what reported from the experimental tests. The atomic structure of portlandite equilibrated at various temperatures is then subjected to uniaxial tensile strains in the three orthogonal directions and the stress-strain curves are developed. Based on the obtained results, the effect of the direction of straining on the mechanical properties of portlandite is investigated in detail. Structural damage analysis is performed to reveal the failure mechanisms in different directions. The energies of the fractured surfaces are calculated in different directions and compared to those of the ideal surfaces available in the literature. The key mechanical properties, including tensile strength, Young's modulus, and fracture strain, are extracted from the stress-strain curves. The sensitivity of the obtained mechanical properties to temperature and strain rate is then explored in a systematic way. This leads to valuable information on how the structural and mechanical properties of portlandite are affected under various exposure conditions and loading rates.

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