Concrete Science

The MIT Concrete Sustainability Hub uses a range of modeling techniques, starting at the atomic level, to predict structures and properties that will improve how cement is designed, reduce CO2 emissions, and enable US leadership in future cement technologies.

In addition to the reports and research briefs below, please review links related to this topic in the right side bar (on desktop browsers) or at the bottom of this page (on mobile browsers).

Concrete Science Research Brief: Gaining Strength by Splitting Water
February 1, 2012

Besides giving a more refined description of the C‑S‑H gel atomic structure, we have demonstrated that water speciation has a great effect on the strength properties of C‑S‑H nanoparticles. It is...

Concrete Science Research Brief: Locking Radionuclides in Cement
January 1, 2012

We propose a new approach to investigate environmental and safety issues for the use of cement as a candidate for immobilizing radioactive waste such as strontium. It is based on first-principle...

Concrete Science Research Brief: Holding It Together - C-S-H Cohesion
December 1, 2011

Our approach shows that cohesion within cement paste decreases with decreasing water content, specifically at RH<20% and 27°C. This loss of cohesion within the binding phase significantly...

Concrete Science News Brief: Predicting Setting Times Bottom-Up
November 1, 2011

This model of setting couples hydration kinetics and development of mechanical properties, a combination that allows the prediction of setting times in a bottom-up fashion. Our setting model...

Concrete Science Research Brief: Why Wet C-S-H is Weak
October 1, 2011

These results provide new understanding of how C-S-H structure and properties vary with water content. The proposed mechanisms governing increased stiffness and strength of C-S-H with low water...

Concrete Science Research Brief: When Concrete Takes (part of) the Heat
September 1, 2011

This research highlights the impact of chemical modifications, namely the calcium-to-silicon ratio, on specific heat capacity of C-S-H. It also highlights the power of the bottom-up approach being...

Concrete Science Research Brief: ReaxFF Hydration of Clinker Surfaces
July 1, 2011

This research highlights that the difference in reactivity of alite and belite is inherent to their crystalline structure. This means, from a dissolution kinetics perspective, that a shift from an...

Concrete Science Research Brief: Setting from Statistical Principles
June 1, 2011

A new approach to quantitatively model the formation of cement hydration products, including their mechanical properties is proposed based on basic statistical mechanics. With the bottom-up...

Concrete Science Research Brief: Clinker Grinding at Breaking Point
May 1, 2011

This research highlights that the grinding technology currently in use in the cement industry has significant reserves for substantial energy efficiency improvements. The atomistic approach...

Concrete Science Research Brief: What’s in Your Concrete? (Part 2)
April 1, 2011

This research combines nanoindentation and multivariate statistics to characterize quantitatively the mechanical response and volume fractions of phases in hardened cement paste. The comparable...