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Defined Performance Concretes using Nanomaterials and Nanotechnologies
1  Head of the Center for scientific and technical assistance at complex construction projects in the Scientific Research Institute for Concrete and Reinforced Concrete after A.A. Gvozdev (NIIZhB)
Academic Editor: Vilma Ducman


The industry of building materials and construction, despite of their obviously conservative character, quite often has to face so-called “industrial revolution of the XXI century”. New trends, new methods of experiments and research are becoming perspective foundation for creation of high-tech products and processes characterized by guaranteed reliability index, developing principles of manufacturing up-to-date “supermaterials” and are marking the start of the sixth technological wave.

An impressive breakthrough in the construction technologies in the 21st century was achieved due to the properties of modern concrete which have recently seemed unattainable. These include extremely low values of water/cement ratio and air content of the concrete mixture with long-lasting flowability, cohesion and uniformity; the fresh concrete ability to easily and completely fill in the formwork to concrete of any configuration with dense reinforcement without the use of energy with horizontal or vertical mix pouring; the concrete ability to achieve a given strength with an adjustable strength development subject to climatic factors; dense concrete structure at the nano-, micro- and macrolevel as a factor ensuring high strength, resistance and durability.

The presence of nanomaterials and nanotechnologies in the construction segment is becoming more prominent. The detailed analysis and long-term forecast for the development of research and application of nanomaterials and nanotechnologies in construction shows that the cement and concrete cover over 40 % of the nanotechnology products in construction materials (market value is about $ 5.6 billion) with a predicted annual growth more than 10 %.

Recent advances in nano-chemistry and the development of new methods for synthesis of nanoparticles are now expected to offer a new range of possibilities for improvement of concrete performance. Incorporation of nanoparticles into conventional construction materials can provide the materials with advanced or smart properties that are of specific interest for high-rise, long-span, or intelligent infrastructure systems.

Self-regulating concrete (SRС) is one the most in-demand subjects of the modern concrete science. The choice of components and the design of SRC compositions are based on a prognostic assessment of the direction of spontaneous processes to ensure high functionality at any technological and operational stage. The concept of “self-regulation” should be interpreted as the technologically predicted course of spontaneous processes in order to achieve the maximum possible functionality of the interacting components and concrete mixes, which meets the concept of defined performance concrete (DPC).

Examples of successful applications of SiO2, TiO2, Fe2O3, Al2O3, CaCO3 nanoparticles, nanosized spinel MgAl2O3, nanoferrit ZnFe2O4, and nanoclays in concrete are given. The most promising contemporary developments include the synthesis and application of new forms of carbon, viz fullerene (C60, C70, C540), graphene oxide (GO) and new types of carbon nanotubes.

In conditions of the planet population growth and inevitable emergence of raw material and power shortage in construction quite rapid displacement of traditional materials and technologies by energy-saving and material-efficient solutions must be a determining factor. Nano-binders and nano-engineered cement-based materials with nano-sized cementitious component or other nano-sized particles may be the next ground-breaking development.

Keywords: defined performance concrete; nanomaterials; nanotechnologies; sixth technological wave; smart properties: self-regulation