Physico-Chemical Properties of Lithium Silicates Related to Their Utilization for Concrete Densifiers

Protection of concrete against aggressive influences from the surrounding environment becomes an important step to increase its durability. Today, alkali silicate solutions are advantageously used as pore-blocking treatments that increase the hardness and impermeability of the concrete’s surface layer. Among these chemical substances, known as concrete densifiers, lithium silicate solutions are growing in popularity. In the present study, the chemical composition of the lithium silicate densifiers is put into context with the properties of the newly created insoluble inorganic gel responsible for the micro-filling effect. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy was used as a key method to describe the structure of the formed gel. In this context, the gelation process was studied through the evolution of viscoelastic properties over time using oscillatory measurements. It was found that the gelation process is fundamentally controlled by the molar ratio of SiO2 and Li2O in the densifier. The low SiO2 to Li2O ratio promotes the gelling process, resulting in a rapidly formed gel structure that affects macro characteristics, such as water permeability, directly related to the durability of treated concretes.
Materials . 2023, vol. 16, issue 6, 10 p.
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