Physicochemical effects of nanosilica on C3A/C3S hydration

Pengkun Hou*, Xinming Wang, Piqi Zhao, Kejin Wang, Shiho Kawashima, Qinfei Li, Ning Xie, Xin Cheng, Surendra P. Shah

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


In this paper, C3A-gypsum and C3A-C3S-gypsum model cement systems with and without nanosilica were studied. The effects of nanosilica on the early stage cement hydration, particularly C3A hydration, were assessed through the heat of hydration (isothermal calorimetry), phase assemblage (quantitative X-ray diffraction), zeta potential, ion concentration measurements, and morphology (scanning electron microscopy) examinations. The results indicate that while promoting C3S hydration, nanosilica retarded C3A hydration in both the systems studied. The retardation was caused by the adsorption and coverage of nanosilica on C3A surfaces through the electrostatic interaction, thus decreasing the C3A dissolution rate and hindering the precipitation of hydration products. Consequently, the reduced gypsum consumption rate and the seeding effect of nanosilica further promoted C3S hydration. These findings suggest that nanosilica and other silica-based nanoparticles can physicochemically influence hydration of cement-based materials, and a better understanding of these influencing mechanisms can help optimize performances of nanoparticle-modified cement-based materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6505-6518
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of the American Ceramic Society
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • CA
  • CS
  • hydration
  • nanosilica
  • retardation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ceramics and Composites
  • Materials Chemistry


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