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Physico-chimistry of construction materials

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The first research direction is dedicated to the understanding of the interactions between hydraulic binders (lime and cements) with natural materials (soils) and minerals (clays) in civil ingeneering applications to reuse local soil in earth work projects or include new natural additives in cements. The aim is to deconvolve the physico-chemical mechanisms that occur at the atomic level (solid NMR, XAS, TEM) and lead to the modification of the macroscopic properties through analyses at the particle scale (microstructure study, XRD, SEM). These physico-chemical analyses are conducted in relation with geotechnical characterizations in order to relate mechanisms initiated at the level of exchange sites at the phyllosilicates particles surface (clay minerals, micas) to macroscopic mechanical phenomena in the soil.


A second research direction is dedicated to cements, to evaluate the potential use of natural materials (zeolites and pouzzolanes) to reduce the part of clinker and contribute to the reduction of CO2 emission. The use of techniques such as Solid NMR, Infra-red and Raman vibrational spectroscopies allow following in details the cement hydration to then describe the modification by additives of the mechanical performances of materials. In parallel, a new action concern the development of new binders based on geopolymers obtained from the chemical reaction of an aluminum-silicon bearing source (clay or metakaolin) with an alkalin (NaOH ou KOH media) silicon-rich solution, and the study of their potential use for civil ingeneering applications (soil stabilization in earth works or dredged sediment stabilization).

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