X-Ray Micro Tomography of Water Absorption by Superabsorbent Polymers in Mortar

Claudia Romero Rodriguez*, Maxim Deprez, Fernando F. de Mendonca Filho, Stefanie van Offenwert, Veerle Cnudde, Erik Schlangen, Branko Šavija

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
50 Downloads (Pure)


Superabsorbent Polymers (SAP) have been recently subject of investigation as smart admixtures for cement-based materials. The properties of these polymers enable their use for internal curing, increasing freeze/thaw resistance, boosting autogenous self-healing and providing a crack self-sealing effect in cementitious composites. Except for the earliest application, the functioning of these beneficial effects invloves the absorption by the polymers of ingress water in the hardened cementitious matrix and later release, as well as their capacity to complete multiple absorption/desorption cycles. In this work, the absorption of water in mortar with superabsorbent polymers is monitored during the first 60 min of absorption through micro-CT. The experimental series included the presence of cracks. The registration and differentiation of sub-minute (18 s) scans enabled the individuation of bulk water content distribution in the mortar with a resolution of 55 μm. The swollen volume of SAP could also be quantified and studied in time. The results point out that although embedded SAP absorb water from the matrix, this absorption is slow and reduced with respect to water absorption during mixing for the used SAP. Same effect is observed for SAP in the cracks.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSAP 2019: 3rd International Conference on the Application of Superabsorbent Polymers (SAP) and Other New Admixtures Towards Smart Concrete
EditorsWilliam P. Boshoff, Viktor Mechtcherine, Riaan Combrinck, Mateusz Wyrzykowski
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-33342-3
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-33341-6
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameRILEM Bookseries
ISSN (Print)2211-0844
ISSN (Electronic)2211-0852

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


  • Concrete durability
  • Mortar
  • SAP
  • X-ray micro computed tomography


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