Advances in atomistic modeling and understanding of drying shrinkage in cementitious materials

MJA Qomi and L Brochard and T Honorio and I Maruyama and M Vandamme, CEMENT AND CONCRETE RESEARCH, 148, 106536 (2021).

DOI: 10.1016/j.cemconres.2021.106536

Despite more than a century of research, drying shrinkage still causes unwanted stresses and cracks in our concrete infrastructures. This is partly due to the lack of understanding of the underlying mechanisms governing the drying shrinkage in cementitious materials. Inspired by the tremendous impact of atomistic simulations on materials science, we expect such innovative simulation techniques to hold a key to unlocking the enigmatic nature of drying shrinkage at the nanoscale. In this treatise, we first introduce basic physics concepts and atomistic simulation methods in detail. Afterward, we discuss the progress brought by atomistic simulations in understanding the drying shrinkage in cementitious materials and other nanoporous and nanolayered systems. This review also highlights important remaining fundamental questions and practical issues regarding drying shrinkage and delineates how atomistic simulations can help resolve them.

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