Evaluation on mechanical enhancement and fire resistance of carbon nanotube (CNT) reinforced concrete

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-349
Journal / PublicationCoupled Systems Mechanics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2017


To cope with the demand on giant and durable buildings, reinforcement of concrete is a practical problem being extensively investigated in the civil engineering field. Among various reinforcing techniques, fiber -reinforced concrete (FRC) has been proven to be an effective approach. In practice, such fibers include steel fibers, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) fibers, polyacrylonitrile (PAN) carbon fibers and asbestos fibers, with the length scale ranging from centimeters to micrometers. When advancing such technique down to the nanoscale, it is noticed that carbon nanotubes (CNTs) are stronger than other fibers and can provide a better reinforcement to concrete. In the last decade, CNT - reinforced concrete attracts a lot of attentions in research. Despite high cost of CNTs at present, the growing availability of carbon materials might push the usage of CNTs into practice in the near future, making the reinforcement technique of great potential. A review of existing research works may constitute a conclusive reference and facilitate further developments. In reference to the recent experimental works, this paper reports some key evaluations on CNT -reinforced cementitious materials, covering FRC mechanism, CNT dispersion, CNT -cement structures, mechanical properties and fire safety. Emphasis is placed on the interplay between CNTs and calcium silicate hydrate (C- S- H) at the nanoscale. The relationship between the CNTs- cement structures and the mechanical enhancement, especially at a high-temperature condition, is discussed based on molecular dynamics simulations. After concluding remarks, challenges to improve the CNTs reinforcement technique are proposed.

Research Area(s)

  • Carbon nanotube (CNT), Fiber-reinforced concrete (FRC), Fire safety, Mechanical properties