Effect of Nano-SiO₂ Particles and Curing Time on Development of Fiber-Matrix Bond Properties and Microstructure of Ultra-High Strength Concrete


Bond properties between fibers and cementitious matrix have significant effect on the mechanical behavior of composite materials. In this study, the development of steel fiber-matrix interfacial bond properties in ultra-high strength concrete (UHSC) proportioned with nano-SiO2 varying between 0 and 2%, by mass of cementitious materials, was investigated. A statistical model relating either bond strength or pullout energy to curing time and nano-SiO2 content was proposed by using the response surface methodology. Mercury intrusion porosimetry (MIP) and backscatter scanning electron microscopy (BSEM) were used to characterize the microstructure of the matrix and the fiber-matrix interface, respectively. Micro-hardness around the embedded fiber and hydration products of the matrix were evaluated as well. Test results indicated that the optimal nano-SiO2 dosage was 1% in terms of the bond properties and the microstructure. The proposed quadratic model efficiently predicted the bond strength and pullout energy with consideration of curing time and nano-SiO2 content. The improvement in bond properties associated with nano-silica was correlated with denser matrix and/or interface and stronger bond and greater strength of hydration products based on microstructural analysis.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


The authors would like to acknowledge financial support of the National Science Foundation of China (Nos. U1305243 and 51378196) and Energy Consortium Research Center (No. SMR-1406-09) as well as the RE-CAST University Transportation Center (No. DTRT13-G-UT C45) at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

Keywords and Phrases

Concretes; Curing; Fibers; High performance concrete; High strength steel; Hydration; Mercury (metal); Microhardness; Microstructure; Scanning electron microscopy; Steel fibers; Microstructural analysis; Nano- SiO; Pullout energy; Statistical modeling; UHSC; Bond strength (materials); Nano-SiO2; Statistical model

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Article - Journal

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© 2017 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 May 2017