Document Type : Regular Article

Authors

1 Branch of Materials Sciences, Department of Applied Sciences, University of Technology – Iraq

2 Branch of Chemistry Sciences, Department of Applied Sciences, University of Technology – Iraq

Abstract

The brittleness and porosity of cement mortar leads to low compressive, flexural, and tensile strengths and poor hardness, making it susceptible to environmental degradation. This study aimed to improve the mechanical and physical properties of cement mortar using a simple and cost-effective approach of impregnating pre-cured hardened mortar with polymers. Three polymers - polyethylene glycol (PEG), polyacrylamide (PAM), and polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) - were used for impregnation. The polymers were blended with a magnetic stirrer and the impregnation was performed via three methods: vacuum, ultrasound, and 24-hour immersion. The results showed significant improvements in mechanical and physical properties. PEG-impregnated samples exhibited the highest compressive strength (24.47 MPa), flexural strength (1.38 MPa), and splitting tensile strength (2.08 MPa) compared to reference samples with 17 MPa, 0.52 MPa, and 1.35 MPa respectively. PAM-impregnated cement mortar displayed the highest hardness value of 81 versus 70.08 for the reference sample. Optimal results were achieved via the vacuum method, with increases in bulk density. The polymer impregnation filled pores and improved bonding, enhancing the mechanical properties of the brittle cement mortar.

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