Cellulose Nanocrystals Increase Hydration and Flexural Strength of Cement Pastes 

Recent research conducted by Fu and colleagues (2017) has shown increased hydration and improvements of flexural strength of cement pastes when cellulose nanocrystals are included as an additive. The researchers examined nine different cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs), each made with different raw material sources and processing techniques. The CNC additives were tested with two cement compositions: Type I/II and Type V cements. Results demonstrated that adding CNCs to cement paste increased hydration in all of the cement mixtures. Additionally, adding CNCs increased flexural strength up to 20% in both types of cement. Interestingly, there were differences in the performances of the various CNC-cement composites, suggesting the raw material source and production techniques used to make CNCs can affect their performance characteristics when used as a cement additive. P3 Nano (a collaboration of the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities and U.S. Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory) is funding a project in Yreka, California to build a cement bridge deck containing CNCs.