Ultra-high gamma irradiation of calcium silicate hydrates: Impact on mechanical properties, nanostructure, and atomic environments

Aniruddha Baral, Elena Tajuelo Rodriguez, William A. Hunnicutt, Ercan Cakmak, Hongbin Sun, Jan Ilavsky, Yann Le Pape, Thomas M. Rosseel, Nishant Garg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The concrete biological shield in a nuclear power plant receives ~100–200 MGy gamma dosage during an 80-year design life. However, precise changes in the mechanical properties and atomic environments of C-S-H at ultrahigh irradiation dosages have not been systematically documented. Here, we report that irradiation decreases C-S-H basal spacing (~ 0.6 ± 0.1 Å for 189 MGy) and increases its Young's modulus, which is attributed to the lower basal spacing as the nano porosity potentially increased and microporosity remained unchanged. Irradiation also decreased the molecular water content and increased hydroxyl groups in C-S-H, showing that interlayer water removal reduces the basal spacing. Finally, 1H and 29Si NMR results indicate some disorder in the local proton CaO-H species and slight depolymerization of the silicate structure. Together, these results indicate that the C-S-H gel stiffens upon ultrahigh gamma irradiation dosage, a finding which concerns long-term nuclear power plants operations worldwide.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106855
JournalCement and Concrete Research
Volume158
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2022

Keywords

  • Basal spacing
  • Calcium silicate hydrate
  • Gamma irradiation
  • H NMR
  • Nanoindentation
  • Si NMR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • Materials Science(all)

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