CTS Cement Manufacturing Corp. has announced the discovery of new structures in cement.
Discovered in mixtures of coal fly ash and hydrated calcium sulfoaluminate cement, these intriguing structures consist of micron-sized glass spheres upon which needles have grown radially. While these needles usually grow randomly in CTS’ Rapid Set cement, they organize themselves as spines on round fly ash particles in fly ash/cement mixtures.
According to Dr. Eric Bescher, vice president for cement technology at CTS Cement, this is the first time these complex structures have been seen. These structures are very small, typically a few tens of microns in size, and can only be seen clearly under an electron microscope.
“We are excited about discovering these new self-organized inorganic architectures,” said Bescher in a news release. “Think of these structures as micron-sized sea urchins shells embedded in cement paste. We have some indications that they may play a beneficial role in the reinforcement of concrete or in shrinkage mediation. Our work is in progress and we are investigating the influence they could have on other properties of construction materials.”
CTS Cement is not aware of reports on similar structures in scientific literature to date. It is possible these structures grow and develop only in mixtures of calcium sulfoaluminate and fly ash.
BescherBalls is the working name for these innovative structures. CTS Cement is investigating further to understand their significance and the role they can play in construction materials.