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COmputationally Driven design of Innovative CEment-based materials (CODICE)
Start date: 01 Sep 2008, End date: 31 Aug 2011 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Albeit the C-S-H gel constitutes the main ingredient of cementitious skeletons and their life-service depends crucially on it, the possibility of tuning the intrinsic nature and properties of the C-S-H gel has been simply out of reach. Fortunately this long-standing impossibility can be currently overcome by the complementary action of new experimental capacities and stronger simulations schemes which explicitly pay attention to the nanoscale. Recent nanoindentation experiments have revealed that the C-S-H gel can present itself either in a low stiffness and low density variety (called LD C-S-H gel) or in a variety with a high stiffness and high density (called HD C-S-H gel). This dissimilar bearing capacity is indeed much more pronounced in their resistance to osteoporosis-like degradation processes (aging!). The question that arises is straightforward: Could the formation of the stronger and more durable HD C-S-H varieties be promoted against the LD- ones? CODICE aims to answer to this question by means of on-top-of-the-art simulations. In fact CODICE project aims to develop a serial parameter-passing multi-scale modelling scheme to predict the structural evolution and the mechanical performance of non-degraded and degraded cementitious matrices as a function of macroscopical processing variables to guide the design of cementitious materials in which the HD-C-S-H forms are promoted against the LD- C-S-H ones. Improvements of the mechanical properties about the 50 % and 600 % are envisaged for non-degraded and degraded cementitious scaffolds respectively, when compared to conventional designs. Thus, CODICE largely impacts on the competitiveness of the Construction sector, since the simulations 1) will offer an unbeatable and cheap solution to the cement sector to assess and improve the efficiency of cheaper cement formulations and 2) will computationally drive the design of cementitious materials with drastically lower maintenance costs.
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