Study of carbonation in novel lime based materials

  • Gianluca Pesce

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


This research advances the current understanding of the carbonation reaction in porous materials by investigating pH changes during the hardening process of lime, the role of pore-water in the dissolution process of calcium hydroxide and the effects of pore size on precipitation of calcium carbonate solid phases.To achieve this, carbonation is studied within a thin film of an aqueous solution of calcium hydroxide, that simulates the conditions existing in porous media once most of the liquid water has evaporated. The research introduces novel approaches such as the use of specially manufactured micro-electrodes used to measure pH variations during the carbonation process. The effect of pore size on the solid phases precipitated by carbonation is investigated using a novel lime based material called nano-lime. Influence of pore-water on the hardening process of lime is studied in formulated lime using impedance spectroscopy: an electrochemical technique which is new in the study of lime based materials.Overall, results demonstrate that the micro-electrodes can operate reliably in very alkaline environments such as those produced by the dissolution of lime. Their potentiometric response, in fact, was found to be Nernstian up to pH 14. Furthermore, the electrode response proved to be sufficiently sensitive and reproducible to differentiate, on the basis of pH, between the formation of calcite and vaterite. It is likely that these micro-electrodes are currently the only analytical tools capable of monitoring high pHs in confined places and, for this reason, they can be considered highly valuable for the study of chemical processes involving very alkaline waters. The study on the role of pore-water in the hardening process of formulated lime has, instead, demonstrated the potential of impedance spectroscopy as a non-destructive technique for real time in situ monitoring of the reaction between lime and hydraulic additives.
Date of Award2 Jun 2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorRichard Ball (Supervisor), Pete Walker (Supervisor) & Chris Bowen (Supervisor)


  • Lime
  • Carbonation
  • Air Lime
  • metakaolin
  • kaolin
  • NMR spectroscopy
  • Thermal analyses
  • portlandite
  • calcium carbonate
  • DRMS
  • electrochemical impedance spectroscopy
  • PdH
  • pH
  • pH-meter

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