Nanotechnology has nowadays a pronounced impact on several areas of science and industry. Among several advantages, nanomaterials have been reported to introduce improvements in terms of system reliability, extend functionality beyond traditional applications and decrease energy consumption in structures. Nanomaterials can enable better utilization of natural resources and reaching required materials properties with minimal usage. Nano-cement and nano-silica are among the recently used materials in this regard. The objective of this study is to explore the effect of incorporating nano-silica to cement mortar on enhancing mechanical properties and durability. Three types of nano silica with three nominal particle sizes have been used with two percentages (4% and 8% per weight of cement) and a w/c of 0.4. Testing program included compressive strength, tensile strength, rapid chloride permeability, microstructure analysis, chemical durability and the effect of mixing techniques on strength. The results were compared against both ordinary Portland cement mortar a well as conjugate mortar with 8% of cement silica fume. Results reveal adding nano-silica to cement mortar enhances its physical and mechanical properties such as compressive strength, tensile strength, permeability and chemical durability. The SEM pictures demonstrate that nano-silica contributes to enhancement of mortar through yielding denser, more compact and uniform mixtures. It was also found that nano-silica is superior to silica fume in enhancing the properties of cement mortar although a generalization at that stage needs further examination. The findings of this study should be validated by wider studies and testing scheme. It is recommended that codes of practice should be introduced for testing construction materials with nano-particles.

Degree Name

MS in Construction Engineering

Graduation Date


Submission Date

May 2012

First Advisor

Abou-Zeid, Mohamed Nagib



Document Type

Master's Thesis

Library of Congress Subject Heading 1

Cement -- Additives.

Library of Congress Subject Heading 2



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Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item


First of all, I would like to thank God for all of His guidance and care throughout my life and for helping me overcome all the difficulties I encountered over the course of this study. This thesis would not have been possible without the help and support of my supervisor Dr. Mohamed gib Abou-Zeid. I would like to express my deepest gratitude to him for his patience, guidance and thoughtful advice throughout the various stages of this work. His advice has been precious on both an academic and persol level, for which I am extremely grateful. I am also thankful to Dr. Kamal Mostafa for providing me with the three types of no-silica required for this study. Moreover, I would like to thank the concrete laboratory personnel who were extremely helpful during this study. A special thanks to Ragab, Haytham and Abd El-Salam for their tremendous assistance in the laboratory, and also a special thanks to Eng. Mamdouh Kamel. Without the help of Dr. Sherif Sedky and Eng. Ramy in the no-lab in taking the SEM photos and conducting the EDS alysis, this work could not have been accomplished. I'm also thankful to my friend Eng. Sherif Shaaban for his help. I would like to express my deepest appreciation to my lovely parents, my sisters and my brother in law Amgad who have given me their unequivocal support throughout, as always, for which my mere expression of thanks likewise does not suffice. Many thanks to my friend Mohamed Shosha and my cousin Faten Fayed whose editing suggestions and precise sense of language contributed to the fil copy. Also, many thanks to my friends Mohamed Salama and Islam Gad for their help.