Effects and mechanisms of surface treatment of hardened cement-based materials with colloidal nanoSiO2 and its precursor

Pengkun Hou, Xin Cheng*, Jueshi Qian, Surendra P. Shah

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


A dense surface structure of cement-based material is important for its resistance to the impacts of environment. Effectiveness and mechanisms of colloidal nanoSiO2 (CNS) and its precursor, tetraethoxysilane (TEOS), on surface-treatment of the one-month-old cement mortar by brushing technique were studied in this work. It revealed that CNS decreases the water absorption ratio of mortar when cured at 50 C and/or in sealed condition, but its effect is negligible when samples are cured at 20 C. A greater reduction of water absorption ratio is found in TEOS-treated mortar at 20 C or 50 C and under sealed or unsealed condition. Pozzolanic reaction between CNS/TEOS and Ca(OH)2 was observed by XRD, IR and EDS techniques. In addition, filler effects as revealed by SEM/EDS techniques were ascribed to for the densification of the exposed hardened mortar. Pore size distribution analysis conducted on mercury intrusion porosimeter showed that TEOS is more effective than CNS in filling pores finer than 50 nm, while CNS is found effective in filling capillary pores coarser than 50 nm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)66-73
Number of pages8
JournalConstruction and Building Materials
StatePublished - Feb 28 2014


  • Colloidal nanoSiO
  • Mortar
  • Precursor
  • Surface treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Materials Science(all)


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