SEM/AFM studies of cementitious binder modified by MWCNT and nano-sized Fe needles

A. Cwirzen, K. Habermehl-Cwirzen, A.G. Nasibulin, E.I. Kaupinen, P.R. Mudimela, V. Penttala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

100 Citations (Scopus)


Several compositions of cement paste samples containing multiwalled carbon nanotubes were produced using a small-size vacuum mixer. The mixes had water-to-binder ratios of 0.25 and 0.3. Sulfate resistant cement has been used. The multiwalled carbon nanotubes were introduced as a water suspension with added surfactant admixtures. The used surfactant acted as plasticizing agents for the cement paste and as dispersant for the multiwalled carbon nanotubes. A set of beams was produced to determine the compressive and flexural strengths. The scanning electron microscope and atomic force microscope studies of fractured and polished samples showed a good dispersion of multiwalled carbon nanotubes in the cement matrix. The studies revealed also sliding of multiwalled carbon nanotubes from the matrix in tension which indicates their weak bond with cement matrix. In addition to multiwalled carbon nanotubes also steel wires covered with ferrite needles were investigated to determine the bond strength between the matrix and the steel wire. These later samples consisted of 15-mm-high cylinders of cement paste with vertically cast-in steel wires. As reference, plain steel wires were cast, too. The bond strength between steel wires covered with nano-sized Fe needles appeared to be lower in comparison with the reference wires. The scanning electron microscope studies of fractured samples indicated on brittle nature of Fe needles resulting in shear-caused breakage of the bond to the matrix.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)735-740
Number of pages6
JournalMaterials Characterization
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009


  • Carbon nanotubes
  • SEM
  • AFM


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