Applied Physics A volume 122:524 (2016)
The production of the cement is a highly energy-intensive process and contributes to the release of pollutants into the atmosphere due to both the chemical reactions occurring in the kiln and, in most cases, the burning of fossil fuels for power production. So, the reduction of the cement content in a concrete would be indirectly useful to decrease the pollutant emissions in the atmosphere. The results of our investigation indicate that the replacement levels of cement by the 4 % of nanoparticles show a positive increasing of many physical and chemical properties allowing a relevant saving of cement content inside a concrete mixture. The compressive strengths, tensile splitting, propagations of ultrasonic pulses and water permeability tests were investigated on different models and realistic structures by the ISO EN rules. The influence of the nanoparticles on physical and mechanical properties was measured at different ripening times. Both silica and iron oxides make cement pastes harder and accelerated hydration processes of the cements. A remarkable decreasing in water permeability was also observed showing that nanoconcretes can be used as innovative restoration systems for cement-based historical and contemporary artefacts in order to avoid carbonation processes. Moreover, a smaller quantity of cement binder inside the mortar causes relevant positive effects on the reduction of carbon dioxide emission in the atmosphere.