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Journal of Nanomaterials
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 9375293, 11 pages
Research Article

Dispersion of High Concentrations of Carbon Nanofibers in Portland Cement Mortars

Department of Civil Engineering, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Zachary Grasley

Received 25 September 2016; Revised 2 March 2017; Accepted 20 March 2017; Published 5 April 2017

Academic Editor: Albert Nasibulin

Copyright © 2017 Joshua Hogancamp and Zachary Grasley. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This research focuses on creating and maintaining a stable dispersion of carbon nanofibers (CNFs) in portland cement based materials. A microfine cement is used in conjunction with an untraditional dispersion method to encourage and stabilize the dispersion of CNFs in concentrations up to 5% by mass of cement. A computational simulation was utilized to examine an effect called geometric clustering on the dispersion of CNFs among Type I/II and microfine cement grains. The geometric clustering simulation revealed a higher achievable dispersion for microfine cement than for Type I/II cement. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) was used to quantify the dispersion of CNFs among Type I/II and microfine cement grains. SEM image analysis indicated excessive CNF clumping among Type I/II cement grains, while the dispersion of hybrid microfine cement mortar continued to improve as the concentration of CNFs increased up to 5% by mass of cement. Mortar cube elastic stiffness and mortar prism flexure tests revealed that high concentrations of CNFs had detrimental effects in hybrid Type I/II cement mortar, whereas similar concentrations of CNFs had negligible or beneficial effects in hybrid microfine cement mortar.