Soon, cements that self-repair cracks, store latent heat energy

March 3rd, 2011 - 6:21 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Mar 3 (ANI): Cements that self-repair cracks and store latent heat energy could be the future building materials - thanks to the efforts of a Spanish researcher.

Idurre Kaltzakorta studied the possibility of incorporating additional functions into cement - one of the materials most commonly used in construction, given its good performance at low cost.

She created silica microcapsules with organic material inside, the idea being to provide the cement with new functions, and opted for two types of organic materials, each corresponding to one of the two added features mentioned above.

Thus, on the one hand, the microcapsules were filled with various epoxy resins (used in the manufacture of adhesives), to provide the cement with the capacity for the self-repair of cracks. On the other, phase change materials were encapsulated.

These are materials that absorb or free a great quantity of heat on the phase of the material changing (from solid to liquid or liquid to gas and vice versa), and enable the storage of latent heat energy in the cement material.

Kaltzakorta studied the synthesis of the encapsulated material, opting for synthesising microcapsules by combining sol-gel chemistry with emulsion technology.

This route enabled the encapsulation of organic material, difficult with other routes, under mild temperature and pressure conditions.

Once the microcapsules were obtained, the thesis analysed the effect of the addition of these to the cement matrix, to verify the viability of the technique.

With this in mind, Kaltzakorta used a number of techniques with which the features of the new cement material could be studied.

The thesis showed the viability of the development of a new generation of cements capable of the self-repair of cracks as well as storing latent heat energy, based on the application of silica microcapsules with various organic materials.

Her PhD thesis, undertaken at Tecnalia’s Construction Unit, has been presented at the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). (ANI)

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