Biomimetic antifreeze polymers: A natural solution to freeze-thaw damage in cement and concrete

October 02, 2020

Mohammad Matar (1), Shane Frazier (2), Wil V. Srubar III (1)

XV International Conference on Durability of Building Materials and Components, Conference Paper, September 2020.


Biomimetic antifreeze polymer; Freeze-thaw durability


Ice is one of the few substances on Earth that expands when it freezes. Consequently, this phase change causes damage to porous cementitious materials that absorb water and undergo freezethaw cycling. Inspired by nature, the objective of this work is to characterize biomimetic antifreeze polymers (BAPs) that explicitly mimic the behavior of antifreeze proteins (AFPs) and antifreeze glycoproteins (AFGPs) naturally found in plants, fish, insects, and bacteria for use as a concrete additive. The ultimate goal of this work is to enhance the freeze-thaw durability of ordinary portland cement (OPC) concrete without the use of traditional air entraining agents (AEAs). This work will highlight recent research that has shown that small additions, less than 0.1% by wt. of cement, of BAPs that exhibit ice recrystallization inhibition (IRI) activity can mitigate freeze-thaw damage in OPC paste and concrete while entraining less than 3% air.

How Our Software Was Used

Dragonfly was used to identify voids and to calculate their cumulative volume within the scanned volume.

Author Affliation

(1) Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder, ECOT 441 UCB 428, Boulder, Colorado 80309, USA
(2) Materials Science and Engineering Program, University of Colorado Boulder, UCB 027, Boulder, Colorado 80303, USA