Phase-field modeling of cement paste: Where particle physics meets continuum mechanics
A phase-field model for the solidification and microtextural evolution of cement paste is introduced. In this mean-field approach the Gibbs free energy of the system defines the evolution of a set of reaction-diffusion equations that model the dissolution of a source phase and the precipitation and growth of Calcium-Silicate-Hydrates (C-S-H) as a density field of nanoparticles. Results for isothermal simulations at three temperatures are discussed with additional analyses focusing on the hydration kinetics, the coarsening of the pore structure, and the development of the elasticity. A tool scarcely explored by the cement science community, the potential of phase-field approaches to refine the current modeling capability of the nucleation and growth of C-S-H and to upscale information gleaned from its colloidal building-blocks are examined.