New Publication on C-S-H

A new publication titled “Nanoscale Ordering and Depolymerization of Calcium Silicate Hydrates in the Presence of Alkalis” was published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry C in September 2019.

Sustainable cements like alkali-activated materials often contain non-negligible amounts of alkalis (Na or K) which significantly influence the resulting material’s performance. However, the precise role of these alkalis is not fully understood. In this publication, using a combination of X-ray PDF and NMR, we present evidence on the silicate polymerization and the structure of the CNASH gel. Additionally, we also report novel data on the long-range atomic ordering of a series of 45 synthetic gels.

The article can be accessed here.

Research Funding on Concrete Subject to Neutron Radiation

Long term exposure to neutron radiation can lead to degradation of the concrete which is commonly employed in the structural elements of a nuclear power plant. Understanding and predicting this degradation, which is induced due to residual stresses and internal cracking, is the key to long term operation of the US nuclear fleet.

The group has recently obtained funding from the Department of Energy, Nuclear Energy University Program (DOE NEUP) for a three-year project to closely examine effects of neutron radiation on the microstructure of concrete specimens. The University of Illinois is leading this research project and will be working in close collaboration with the University of Tenessee at Knoxville, Oak Ridge National Lab, and KLA-Tencor. The project duration is from October 2019 to September 2022.

We are looking forward to exciting research in the world of radiation-induced damage.

New Publication on Clay Dissolution

A new publication titled “Dissolution Kinetics of Calcined Kaolinite and Montmorillonite in Alkaline Conditions: Evidence for Reactive Al(V) Sites” was published in Journal of the American Ceramic Society in July 2019.

Using solid-state Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectroscopy and Inductively-coupled Plasma – Optical Emission Spectroscopy, we followed the dissolution kinetics of calcined kaolinite and montmorillonite. It was shown that dissolution kinetics are correlated with pozzolanic reactivity and dissolution rates are strongly influenced by the presence of reactive Al(V) sites.

The article can be accessed here.

PCA Professors’ Workshop 2019

Prof. Garg recently attended the PCA Professors’ Workshop organized by the Portland Cement Association, held at the headquarters of the American Concrete Institute in Detroit, Michigan.

This was an excellent week-long workshop aimed at professors teaching concrete and concrete-related courses in a university setting. Access and exposure to live demos, course materials, pedagogy techniques, student competitions, and case studies introducing complicated phenomena in the concrete world were some of the things that made this workshop extremely useful. Highly recommended for fellow assistant professors!

10th Anniversary of ACerS Cements Meeting

The 10th Advances in Cement-based Materials meeting sponsored by The American Ceramic Society was held at our Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering from June 16-18, 2019. Co-chaired and organized by Prof. Garg and Dr. Matt D’Ambrosia, the meeting had a record attendance of 145+ members.

There were more than 50 posters and approx. 70 oral presentations, the details of which can be seen in the program here. Activities started on 16th June, Sunday, with the tour on Additive Manufacturing led Dr. Peter Stynoski at CERL, IL and an SEM workshop led by Paul Stutzman and Jeffrey Bullard from NIST.

Continue reading “10th Anniversary of ACerS Cements Meeting”

New Publication on C-S-H

A new publication titled “Symmetry-Induced Stability in Alkali-Doped Calcium Silicate Hydrate” was published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry C in May 2019.

Using first-principles quantum chemistry calculations on the model crystalline phase clinotobermorite, it was shown that there is a strong interplay between the thermodynamic stability of alkali-doped C-S-H and the symmetry of the alkali atoms in the structure. The article can be accessed here.

Invited Lecture: ICACC 2019

Prof. Garg presented an invited lecture titled “Manipulating Reaction Kinetics of Alkali-activated Materials using Nano-sized Additives” at the 43rd International Conference and Expo on Advanced Ceramics and Composites, held in January 2019 at Daytona Beach, Florida. 

The lecture was part of a special 2-day symposium on “Geopolymers, Inorganic Polymers, and Sustainable Materials”. The conference was organized by the American Ceramic Society.

Cements 2019 Conference in Illinois

The 10th Advances in Cement-Based Materials, organized by ACerS Cements Division, “Cements 2019” takes place June 16–18, 2019, at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Champaign, Illinois.

Co-chaired by Dr. Matt D’Ambrosia and Prof. Garg, the conference is currently accepting abstracts for oral and poster presentations. Interested participants can submit here.

The deadline for submission is 15 March, 2019.

Hiring Announcement

Our group is actively looking to hire a couple of graduate students to start working from Fall 2019. If you’re interested, please make a formal application and indicate your interest to work with Prof. Garg.