The effects of nanosilica on the fresh and hardened properties of 3D printable mortars

Pawel Sikora, Sang Yeop Chung, Maxime Liard, Didier Lootens, Tobias Dorn, Paul H. Kamm, Dietmar Stephan, Mohamed Abd Elrahman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study presents the experimental results of an investigation on the effects of nanosilica (NS) on the material characteristics of printable mortars used for additive manufacturing. Printable cement mortars based on Ordinary Portland Cement, limestone filler and silica sand were modified with different dosages of nanosilica (from 2% to 6% by weight of binder) and its influence on their hydration, rheological, mechanical and transport properties was assessed. The study showed that NS accelerates significantly the setting and hardening of printable mortar, while reducing its open time. Moreover, an increment of yield stress, together with an increment in NS dosage, was found to have occurred. The incorporation of an optimal NS dosage results in a noticeable increase in the compressive strength and alteration of the pore structure as determined by the MIP measurements. Moreover, transport properties of the produced mortar are significantly improved due to incorporation of NS. In addition to the microstructure refinement, Micro-CT and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) studies revealed that 3D printed mortars exhibit pore anisotropy in accordance with the printing direction. However, incorporation of NS in the mixture resulted in improved buildability, thus decreasing pore anisotropy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122574
JournalConstruction and Building Materials
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Apr 26

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program, as part of Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant agreement no. 841592.

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Christian Lehmann from TU Berlin and Philipp Drabetzki from Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM) for supporting this research with SEM and MIP measurements, respectively.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s)

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Materials Science(all)


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