Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Civil, Environmental & Architectural Engineering

First Advisor

Mija H. Hubler

Second Advisor

Wil V. Srubar

Third Advisor

Yunping Xi


Calcium-silicate-hydrate(C-S-H) gel is a primary nano-crystalline phase present in hydrated Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) responsible for its strength and creep behavior. Our reliance on cement for infrastructure is global, and there is a need to improve infrastructure life-times. A way forward is to engineer the cement with more durability and long-term strength. The main purpose of this research is to quantify the micro-structure of C-S-H to see if cement can be engineered at various length scales to improve long-term behavior by spatial arrangement. We investigate the micro-structure evolution of C-S-H in cement as a function of hydration time and confinement. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and Energy Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDS) were used to quantify the material and spatial properties of C-S-H as a function of hydration time. The data obtained from these experiments was used to identify C-S-H phases in cement sample. Pair Distribution Function (PDF) analysis of HD C-S-H phase with different hydration times was done at Advanced Photon Source, Argonne National Laboratory, beamline 11-ID-B. Only nonlinear trends in the atomic ordering of C-S-H gel as a function of hydration time were observed. Solid state 29Si Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) was used to quantify the effect of confinement on two types of C-S-H: white cement C-S-H and synthetic C-S-H. NMR spectra revealed that there is no significant difference in the structure of C-S-H due to confinement when compared with unconfined C-S-H. It is also found that there is significant difference in the Si environments of these two types of C-S-H. Though it does seem possible to engineer the cement on atomic scales, all these studies reveal that engineering cement on such a scale requires a more statistically accurate understanding of intricate structure of C-S-H than is currently available.