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Physical and mechanical properties of polymer modified mortar / concrete

Er. Parbhakar Dwivedi
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Admixing of polymer latex in cementitious mixtures modifies the following

Physical and mechanical properties:

1. Workability: Generally polymer mortars/polymers modified concrete (PMMPMC) have better workability compared to conventional mortar/ concrete

2. Water retention: PMMPMC have remarkably improved water retention property over ordinary mortar/concrete. The water-curing requirement is substantially reduced and needs to be specified accordingly to suit the polymer type, its proportion and method of curing

3. Bleeding and Segregation: A better resistance to bleeding and segregation even though they have better flowability.

4. Increased Resistance to Crack Propagation: Micro cracks occureasily in the ordinary stressed hardened cement paste. This leads to poor tensile strength and fracture toughness. Whereas, in the latex-modified mortar and concrete, it appears that the micro cracks are bridged by the polymer films or membranes, which prevent crack propagation and simultaneously, a strong cement hydrate-aggregate bond is developed.

5. Strength: PMM/PMC with styrene butadiene polymer (SBR) latexes have a noticeable increase in tensile and flexural strength but there is hardly any improvement in its compressive strength compared to ordinary mortar/concrete. An increase in the polymer content or polymer-cement ratio (defined as the weight ratio of the amount of total solids in polymer latex to the amount of cement in a latex-modified mortar or concrete) leads to increase in flexural tensile strength and fracture toughness. However, excess air entrainment and polymer inclusion cause discontinuities of the formed monolithic network structure, whose strength is reduced.

6. Chemical resistance of PMM/PMC: This depends on the type of polymer, polymer cement ratio and type of chemicals. Most PMM & PMC with styrene butadiene polymers including others like modified acrylics etc.) Are attacked by strong organic, and inorganic acids and sulphate but these resist alkalis and salts other than sulphate. Their resistance to chlorides, fats and oils is also rated as good while they have a poor resistance to organic solvents.

7. Temperature effect: The strength of PMMPMC depends on temperature. They generally show a rapid reduction in strength with increase in temperature. Most thermoplastic polymers have a glass transition temperature of 80 deg. to 100 deg. Centigrade.

8. Shrinkage: The drying shrinkage of PM/PMC may be larger or smaller than that of standard mortar or concrete depending on type of polymer and polymer. Cement ratio used. More is the polymer ratio, lesser is drying shrinkage.

9. Water proofing Quality or permeability: PMM/ PMC have a structure in which the larger pores are filed by polymer or these are sealed by continuous bomber flow The sealing effect and porosity due to the continuous bomber flow The sealing effect and porosity due to the polymer films or membranes formed in the structure also provides a considerable increase in water proofing or water tightness as well as resistance to chloride ion penetration, moisture transmission, carbonation and oxygen diffusion chemical resistance, and freeze- thaw durability. Such an effect is promoted with increasing polymer- cement ratio up to a certain level of polymer loading.

10. Adhesion or bond strength: A very usual aspect of PMMPMC is their improved adhesion or bond strength to various sub strata compared to conventional mortar/ concrete.

11. Abrasion Resistance: PMMPMCs have abrasion resistance better than the conventional mortar /concrete.

12. Durability and non-degradability Generally these materials are bio non- degradable after total polymerization takes place. However, certain polymers tend to disintegrate under any form of energy like ultra violet rays, heat etc. Particularly styrene based materials are reported to undergo such rapid disintegration and degradation and hence advised to be avoided. Whereas acrylate based materials are accepted due to their non-degradable and robust properties.

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