The influence of cellulose nanocrystals on the hydration and flexural strength of Portland cement pastes

Tengfei Fu, Francisco Montes, Prannoy Suraneni, Jeffrey Youngblood, Jason Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Recent research has shown that cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) can be used at low dosage levels (approximately 0.2% by volume of cement) to increase the extent of hydration and to improve the flexural strength of cement pastes. However, the previous work was based on using a CNC made from a single source material and processing technique and was performed using only Type V cement. This work examines the influence of various raw material sources and processing techniques used to make the CNCs. In total, nine different CNCs were investigated with pastes made using Type I/II and Type V cements. Isothermal calorimetry (IC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) and ball-on-three-ball (B3B) flexural strength testing were used to quantify the performance of CNC-cement composites. IC and TGA results showed that CNCs increased the degree of hydration in all systems. IC results showed that the increase in total heat release was greater in the Type V than in the Type I/II cement paste systems. B3B flexural testing indicated an increase in flexural strength of up to 20% with both Type I/II and Type V systems. These results also showed that the performance of CNC-cement composites can be affected by the source and manufacturing process used to make the CNC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number424
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 7 2017


  • Cellulose
  • Cellulose nanocrystals
  • Cement hydration
  • Flexural strength
  • Nnanomaterials
  • Portland cement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Polymers and Plastics


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