Aging mechanisms in cellulose fiber reinforced cement composites

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This paper examines the effects of laboratory scale accelerated aging exposures on the changes in physical and mechanical properties of commercially produced cellulose fiber reinforced cement composites. Two different accelerated aging methods were used to simulate the possible aging mechanisms for which the material may experience under service conditions, both methods being compared to material naturally weathered for 5 yr in roofing. The first aging method consisted of different cycles of water immersion, carbonation, and heating exposures whereas in the second method, cycles of water immersion, heating and freeze-thaw exposures were used. The porosity, water absorption, permeability of nitrogen and compressive shear strength of the composites were examined before and after aging exposures. The surface morphologies of the composites fractured in compression shear tests were examined using scanning electron microscope. Experimental results showed that the compressive shear strength of the accelerated aged composites were related to the microstructures within the composites. Both natural weathering and accelerated aging in CO2 environment reduced the porosity, water absorption, and nitrogen permeability in the cement matrix, and enhanced the durability of the cellulose fiber-cement composites. The aging test based on artificial carbonation was more effective in simulating natural aging performance of the composites, while the freeze-thaw cycling method failed to induce significant aging effects on the composites even after 21 cycles.

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Cement and Concrete Composites