Multiscale characterization of chemical-mechanical interactions between polymer fibers and cementitious matrix

Hernandez-Cruz, Daniel
Hargis, Craig W.
Bae, Sungchul
Itty, Pierre A.
Akgül, Çağla
Dominowski, Jolee
Radler, Michael J.
Kilcoyne, David A.
Monteiro, Paulo J. M.
Together with a series of mechanical tests, the interactions and potential bonding between polymeric fibers and cementitious materials were studied using scanning transmission X-ray microscopy (STXM) and microtomography (mu CT). Experimental results.showed that these techniques have great potential to characterize the polymer fiber-hydrated cement-paste matrix interface, as well as differentiating the chemistry of the two components of a bi-polymer (hybrid) fiber-the polypropylene core and the ethylene acrylic acid copolymer sheath. Similarly, chemical interactions between the hybrid fiber and the cement hydration products were observed, indicating the chemical bonding between the sheath and the hardened cement paste matrix. Microtomography allowed visualization of the performance of the samples, and the distribution and orientation of the two types of fiber in mortar. Beam flexure tests confirmed improved tensile strength of mixes containing hybrid fibers, and expansion bar tests showed similar reductions in expansion for the polypropylene and hybrid fiber mortar bars.