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Towards molecular design of chemical additives for cementitious materials

Robert J. Flatt ETH Zurich, Switzerland

The use of chemical admixtures in cementitious materials has a long history of successes and spans numerous products as : Dispersants (superplasticizers), accelerators, retarders, shrinkage reducers, grinding aids, etc. The associated developments have involved a mixture of trial and error, enlightened pragmatism and true insight into the physical-chemistry of these complex systems. Recent advances have however brought us closer to explicit structure-function relations of such admixtures. To illustrate this, we examine a couple examples where the molecular structure of chemical admixtures can be related to measureable criteria of macroscopic performance.