Joseph J. Biernacki

Tennessee Tech University

Stability of organic compounds in alkaline solutions

Ben McComb

Concrete is the world’s most used  construction material.  Unfortunately, cracking is a major cause of degradation that reduces the useful lifespan of concrete structures.  One cause of cracks is concrete shrinkage that occurs as the excess pore water is removed by evaporation.  Reducing the pore water surface tension, by adding a suitable chemical admixture, however, can reduce the amount of concrete shrinkage and therefore reduce the cracking.

Many organic chemicals unfortunately, are not stable in the basic environment of concrete pore solution.  Using a model compound, I am working on a technique to monitor the extent to which organic compounds degrade and the rate at which the degradation occurs.   The primary analytical tool being used is gas chromatography.

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