Authors: Henry E. Cardenas, Huayuan Zhong
Electrokinetic pozzolanic nanoparticle treatments have been reported in the literature to achieve rapid porosity reductions and deeply penetrating strength enhancement of cement and concrete. The high electric fields required to achieve these results have tended to be accompanied by particle suspension instability. Coagulation is an instability that can limit the efficiency and effectiveness of a treatment by removing particles from suspension. The current study examines how electro-coagulation impacts electrokinetic treatment effectiveness. The nano-pozzolan suspension used in this study was Nalco 1056, alumina-coated silica (24-nm). A threshold electric field strength of 0.4 V/cm was identified for avoiding direct electro-coagulation. Treatments conducted at this threshold value exhibited a 50% strength increase. Treatments conducted above this threshold value exhibited significant particle electro-coagulation losses and strength increases of only 25%. This study found that electro-coagulation was influenced by the electric field strength, through a combination of particle crowding at pore entrances and pH shifts as driven by electrolysis.
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