Structural and Mechanical Properties of Doped Tobermorite

Xiaopeng Li, Hongping Zhang, Haifei Zhan, Youhong Tang

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As calcium silicate hydrate (C-S-H) is the main binding phase in concrete, understanding the doping behavior of impurity elements in it is important for optimizing the structure of cementitious materials. However, most of the current studies focus on cement clinker, and the doping mechanism of impurity elements in hydrated calcium silicate is not yet fully understood. The hydrated calcium silicate component is complex, and its structure is very similar to that of the tobermorite mineral family. In this study, the effects of three different dopants (Mg, Sr and Ba) on a representing structure of C-S-H—tobermorite—was systematically explored using densify functional theory (DFT) calculations. The calculations show that Mg doping leads to a decrease in lattice volume and causes obvious structure and coordination changes of magnesium–oxygen polyhedra. This may be the reason why high formation energy is required for the Mg-doped tobermorite. Meanwhile, doping only increases the volume of the Sr- and Ba-centered oxygen polyhedra. Specifically, the Mg-doped structure exhibits higher chemical stability and shorter interatomic bonding. In addition, although Mg doping distorts the structure, the stronger chemical bonding between Mg-O atoms also improves the compressive (~1.99% on average) and shear resistance (~2.74% on average) of tobermorillonite according to the elastic modulus and has less effect on the anisotropy of the Young’s modulus. Our results suggest that Mg doping is a promising strategy for the optimized structural design of C-S-H.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2279
Number of pages12
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 8 Aug 2023


  • calcium silicate hydrate
  • density functional theory
  • doping
  • mechanical property
  • structural optimization design
  • tobermorite


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