Cement Chemistry and Thermodynamics

Portland cement production counts for about 5-8% of the anthropogenic CO2 emissions, thus industry continues to work on new cements with improved CO2 balance. The composition of these new cements deviates considerably from the traditional Portland cement chemistry. A fundamental understanding of the hydration, the resulting mechanical properties and the effects on durability constitute the basis to develop and optimize such new materials most efficiently.

In the last fifteen years, our fundamental work on hydration mechanisms, durability and thermodynamic modelling has made a significant contribution in terms of reducing clinker content in cements produced in Switzerland and worldwide and of the potential use of novel cementitious materials with a low CO2-footprint. Currently, we work on the development of alternative cements (a notable example are MgO-based-cements) and on improved durability of cement-based materials in general.