Enhancing the Freeze-Thaw Durability of Concrete through Ice Recrystallization Inhibition by Poly(vinyl alcohol)

Zhengyao Qu, Shuaiqi Guo (Corresponding author), Christian C.M. Sproncken, Romà Surís-Valls, Qingliang Yu, Ilja K. Voets (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Frost weathering of porous materials caused by seasonal temperature changes is a major source of damage to the world's infrastructure and cultural heritage. Here we investigate poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVA) addition as a means to enhance the freeze-thaw durability of concrete without compromising its structural or mechanical integrity. We evaluate the ice recrystallization inhibition activity of PVA in a cementitious environment and the impact of PVA on key structural and mechanical properties, such as cement hydration (products), microstructure, strength, as well as freeze-thaw resistance. We find that a low amount of PVA significantly reduces the surface scaling of concrete and displays excellent ice recrystallization inhibition in the saturated Ca(OH)2 solution, which has a similar pH value as cement pore solution, while it does not affect cement hydration, microstructure, nor its mechanical properties. These findings contribute to new insights on the freeze-thaw damage mechanism, and more importantly, we disclose a new direction for the design of concrete with excellent freeze-thaw resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12825-12831
Number of pages7
JournalACS Omega
Issue number22
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jun 2020


Z.Y.Q. is grateful to the China Scholarship Council (20160695006) for its financial support. I.K.V. is grateful to the European Union (ERC-2014-StG Contract No. 635928), the Dutch Science Foundation (NWO ECHO Grant No. 712.016.0002), and the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (Gravity Program 024.001.035) for their financial support.

FundersFunder number
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme635928
European Commission
Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap024.001.035
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek712.016.0002
China Scholarship Council20160695006


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