The Influence of Carbon Nanotubes Dispersion on Stress Sensitivity of Cementitious Composite Materials

 Memoria tratta da "The New Boundaries of Structural Concrete: Session D – Concrete Quality Control on Site", ACI IC - Ancona 2011

Adding carbon nanotubes to the cement matrix, the electrical resistivity of cementcomposite materials changes with the stress conditions under static and dynamic loads. This particular behavior can be used to evaluate the stress level in reinforced concrete structures, to monitor the traffic flow, to weigh vehicles. In this paper data on pressure-sensitive behavior under compressive stress of cement pastes and mortars containing different percentages (from 0.1% to 1.0% vs cement mass) of Multi Wall carbon NanoTubes (MWNTs) are presented. In order to form a conductive network and enhance the piezoresistive properties of cementitious mixtures, Carbon NanoTubes (CNTs) need to be efficiently dispersed in the cement matrix. Two different methods to spread CNTs in the cement matrix were used: the first one schedules a 10 minutes sonication by an ultrasonic generator of a solution containing CNTs and about 50% of the mixing water and the second one uses a surfactant. The piezoresistivity properties of the cementitious mixtures manufactured with the two CNTs dispersing methods will be compared. Experimental results show that the piezoresistive response is better for cementitious composites manufactured by using the surfactant agent to spread CNTs. Data indicate that - thanks to the better dispersion of nanotubes promoted by the surfactant - the pressure- sensitivity properties of cement pastes can be achieved even by using a very low percentage of CNTS (0.1% vs cement mass). These findings seem to indicate that self-sensing CNTs/cement composite can be produced. These smart materials have great potential and they could be used in the next future in concrete field for practical applications.

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