Ettringite hysteresis under sorption from molecular simulations

T Honorio and M Maaroufi and S Al Dandachli and A Bourdot, CEMENT AND CONCRETE RESEARCH, 150, 106587 (2021).

DOI: 10.1016/j.cemconres.2021.106587

The response of ettringite under sorption is critical for the utilization of this mineral as an energy storage material and to understand the concrete durability problems associated with ettringite formation. We report molecular simulations directly sampling the osmotic ensemble to understand the sorption processes and structural changes in ettringite-metaettringite transition. Desorption branch and sorption- induced volume changes from simulations agree with the experiments. The structural changes at low relative humidity are analyzed, revealing for the first time details of metaettringite structure. The reversibility under sorption observed experimentally is captured by simulation in the ettringite domain. The reversibility in the conversion of metaettringite into ettringite is not captured by the direct simulations in the osmotic ensemble due to the large volume changes associated with ettringite desorption. Finally, we discuss the role of hydrogen bonds on the hysteresis in ettringite.

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