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In (ACI 237R-07 Emerging Technology Series), the American Concrete Institute (ACI) defines SCC as "highly flowable, nonsegregating concrete that can spread into place, fill the formwork, and encapsulate the reinforcement without any mechanical consolidation [or vibration]." ACI continues, "SCC has also been described as self-compacting concrete, self-placing concrete, and self-leveling concrete." For SF applications, the placed concrete mixture also must become firm enough to hold the vertical pavement edge as the paving machine moves forward.Therefore, the new materials used to make SF-SCC (that is, slipform self-consolidating concrete) require cutting-edge technological and scientific developments for studying the fresh-state properties of SF-SCC.(A nanometer is one billionth of a meter.) To understand concrete properly, to better control its properties, and to design new materials with specific properties, starting at the smallest scale is necessary—that is, understanding the micro- and nanostructure is the first step.Nanotechnology research today provides the necessary tools for establishing the relationships between the processing, properties, and performance of concrete.In the recent research, the first theme involved understanding the micro- and nanostructures of concrete using advanced experimental tools such as atomic force microscopy, which uses a high-resolution probe to measure properties, and nanoindentation, which consists of a set of tests for investigating hardness and other mechanical properties of materials in small dimensions.The second theme is development of a new type of self-consolidating concrete (SCC) for slipform (SF) paving processes by adding materials such as nanoclays (very small, plate-like, water-absorbent minerals) and fly ash to the composition.This technique originated from the Mohs scale of mineral hardness developed in 1812, in which one material is considered to be harder if it can leave a permanent scratch on another material.
The outcomes of this project led to further research focused on additional themes that are supported by multiple organizations.Fourth, nanotechnology shows promise in the development of smart sensors.Because concrete develops its properties (such as strength) with time and chemical reactions (called hydration), it is critical to monitor concrete at early ages.Among the various phases, the first one—C‑S‑H—is the most important product of hydration and accounts for 50 to 70 percent of the total paste volume.This main binding phase governs the macroscopic properties of the cement paste, but the micro- and nanoscale structure of C-S-H is not well established.