DFT study on the polyol sacrificial agents for improved clay tolerance of polycarboxylate superplasticizers
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Xihua University
Southwest University of Science and Technology, Mianyang
Anshun University
Publication date: 2024-02-17
Corresponding author
Teng Huang   

Southwest University of Science and Technology, Mianyang
Physicochem. Probl. Miner. Process. 2024;60(1):184130
With the gradual scarcity of high-quality sand and gravel resources, the increasing mud content in concrete aggregates could strongly adsorb on polycarboxylate superplasticizers (PCE), greatly reducing their working performance. Modifying the molecular structure of PCE or compounding sacrificial agents can effectively improve the tolerance to clay minerals. In this article, using different small molecule polyols and polypropylene glycol (PPG) as examples, density functional theory (DFT) was employed to simulate the adsorption between clay minerals and hydration products. This exploration aims to further understand the anti-clay performance of various sacrificial agents from the perspective of adsorption energy. Ca-montmorillonite (CaMMT) exhibits the lowest adsorption energy among different clay minerals, making it the preferred site for sacrificial agent adsorption. With an increase in hydroxyl number, the adsorption energy between polyol sacrificial agents and montmorillonite decreases. Among polymeric polyols, the adsorption energy between PPG 600 and montmorillonite is the lowest (-10.86 eV), indicating superior anti-clay performance by preferentially occupying active sites on montmorillonite. As the interlayer spacing of montmorillonite increases, the adsorption energy between PPG 600 and montmorillonite initially decreases and then increases, reaching the lowest value at c=15.5 Å. There are more electron transfers (0.858) compared to the electron gain and loss, confirming more interaction between the sacrificial agents and montmorillonite at 15.5Å. This article also provides a crucial theoretical basis for the structural design of anti-clay sacrificial agents, offering insights into addressing compatibility issues between PCEs and clay minerals.
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