Chemical Additives for Construction Materials

Chemical Additives

Modern construction materials have to be designed to be as sustainable as possible. Chemical Additives have a very important role to play to achieve more sustainable construction materials. For example, additives allow the fabriaction concretes which significantly reduced amounts of cement and help to reduce CO2 emissions and raw material use. Our mission is to advance the structure-activity knowledge for all major classes of concrete additives. We synthesize functional polymers, molecules and nanophases which influence surface- and interphase properties of construction materials. Using state of the art methods of chemical analysis and material characterization, we elucidate the interaction between additives and inorganic binders like cement or gypsum.

Material processing

Processing and placing is central aspect during the fabrication of construction materials. Contrary to steel which has properties that are designed in the steel plant, the properties of concrete are developed on-site during mixing and curing. During placing and curing, complex chemical transformations of the cementitious binder phase determine the properties of the material. The reactivity of the different phases in cement and their interactions are an active field of research. We focus on the design and understanding of additional tailor-made chemical species which influence the reactivity and colloidal properties of the binder phases. This can be leveraged to control the rheological properties of fresh concrete. Thereby, we provide formulation concepts based on chemical additives which enable new processing technologies like 3D printing of concrete.

Material properties

We are convinced that a long established material like concrete still has great potential for further improvements. These improvements have to be aligned with significantly increased sustainability demands. We contribute our knowledge and synthetic skill in the field of chemical additives to the community of engineers and material scientists working on existing and new concretes. In academic and industrial collaborations, we want to play our part to make tomorrow's construction materials as sustainable as possible.