Nanotechnology concerns materials and systems whose structure and components exhibit novel and significantly improved physical, chemical and biological properties, due to their nano scale size. Simply put, nanotechnology deals with particles ranging anywhere from 1 to 100 nm. Application of nano-materials into the production of cement and concrete can lead to improvements in civil infrastructure because the mechanical strength and life of concrete structures are determined by the micro-structure and by the mass transfer in nano-scale.
Better understanding and precise engineering of an extremely complex structure of cement based materials at the nano level will apparently result in a new generation of concrete that is stronger and more durable with desired stress-strain behaviour and possibly possessing a range of newly introduced properties, such as electrical conductivity as well as temperature, moisture and stress-sensing abilities.
Nano-particles are unique because their size affects the behavior of cement. A reduction in particle size can lead to a more rapid setting and hardening of cement due to stronger electrostatic attractive forces and a greater specific surface. Recent studies have shown that nano particles used as an additive to cement mortar can improve its mechanical properties. In recent century, very wide and effective research has seen on improving the properties of cement with incorporating wide range of supplementary cementing materials such as pozzolanas and nano particles due to increasing the use of cement from decade to decade.
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