Creep properties of cementitious materials : effect of water and microstructure : An approach by microindentation

Abstract : Cementitious materials such as concrete, cement and gypsum are widely used in construction, as the raw materials of which they are made are abundant on Earth. Such trend is unlikely to change in the coming decades. But these materials suffer from creep. The creep of cementitious materials is a complex issue. On one hand, in cementitious materials creep is often coupled with other phenomena such as drying, hydration and cracking, and can be influenced by various parameters such as temperature, level of stress, water content and mix design. On the other hand, measuring creep by traditional macroscopic creep testing is time-consuming (creep test on concrete is recommended to be carried out over several months in order to provide a reliable characterization of long-term creep) and tedious, since experimental parameters need to be well controlled over extensive periods of time. This thesis studied microindentation at the scale of cement paste or gypsum plaster for the assessment of long-term basic creep properties of cementitious materials, by comparing creep functions obtained by minutes-long microindentation testing with those obtained with macroscopic creep experiments which lasted up to years. For cement paste, the comparison was made at the scale of concrete with the aid of upscaling tools. The study validated that minutes-long microindentation testing can provide a measurement of the long-term creep properties of cementitious materials. With the validated indentation technique, we studied the effect of microstructure (i.e., the distribution and the spatial organization of phases) and of water on long-term basic creep of cementitious materials. The effect of microstructure was studied on materials such as C3S pastes and C2S pastes as well as on compacts of synthetic C-S-H, portlandite (CH) and their mixtures prepared by compaction of powders. For all samples considered, we identified the right micromechanical model that allows predicting the results. The choice of micromechanical model was consistent with microstructural observations. The effect of relative humidity was studied by conditioning and testing some of those materials (i.e., C3S paste, compact of C-S-H, and compact of CH) in various relative humidities ranging from 11% to 94%. Relative humidity had a significant effect on creep: for all materials tested, a greater humidity led to a greater creep. The compact of portlandite was the most sensitive to relative humidity, probably because creep occurs at interfaces between portlandite crystals. For C3S paste, a linear relation was identified between long-term creep properties and water content at relative humidities ranging from 11% to 75%.Finally, we proposed micromechanical models that allow predicting long-term basic creep properties of cementitious materials with a wide range of volume fraction of crystalline phase and over a wide range of relative humidities
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Qing Zhang. Creep properties of cementitious materials : effect of water and microstructure : An approach by microindentation. Other. Université Paris-Est, 2014. English. ⟨NNT : 2014PEST1054⟩. ⟨pastel-00996571⟩

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