Effects of a strong polyelectrolyte on the rheological properties of concentrated cementitious suspensions

Hyun Joon Kong, Stacy G. Bike, Victor C. Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Strong polyelectrolytes, referred to as superplasticizers, are known to improve the initial fluidity of concentrated cement suspensions. To quantify how the polyelectrolytes affect the fluidity, we have studied the effect of a strong anionic polyelectrolyte, melamine formaldehyde sulfonate (MFS), on the zeta potential of cement particles and on the steady-shear and low-amplitude rheological properties of cement suspensions. Adsorption of low concentrations of MFS onto the cement particles leads to an inversion in the sign of the surface potential, causing the electrostatically flocculated particles to become electrostatically dispersed and giving rise to a corresponding decrease in the steady-shear viscosity and storage modulus. At an intermediate MFS concentration, the steady-shear viscosity and the storage modulus each display a minimum. This concentration corresponds to that at which the zeta potential becomes constant. Larger concentrations of MFS result in an increase in the viscosity and storage modulus, which is attributed to depletion flocculation. These results thus relate the interaction between particles to the suspension fluidity through the analysis on the surface potential of particles and microstructure of suspension.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)851-857
Number of pages7
JournalCement and Concrete Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Flocculation
  • Low-amplitude rheological properties
  • Surface potential

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Ceramics and Composites


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