Chemical composition of calcium-silicate-hydrate gels: Competition between kinetics and thermodynamics
T Du and H Li and Q Zhou and Z Wang and G Sant and JV Ryan and M Bauchy, PHYSICAL REVIEW MATERIALS, 3, 065603 (2019).
Although concrete is the world's most widely used manufactured material, basic questions persist regarding the nature of its binding phase, namely, the calcium-silicate-hydrate (C-S-H) gel. Here, based on reactive molecular dynamics simulations, we address the following fundamental question: Is the chemical composition of C-S-H controlled by the kinetics or thermodynamics of its precipitation? As a major outcome of this study, we demonstrate that the average stoichiometry of the C-S-H gel forming upon the hydration of ordinary portland cement (i.e., Ca/Si = 1.75) is determined by the composition of the C-S-H phase presenting the fastest precipitation kinetics, rather than the highest thermodynamic stability.
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