Superabsorbent Polymers as a Means of Improving Frost Resistance of Concrete

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Superabsorbent polymer (SAP) was introduced in cementitious materials about 15 years ago. Since then, several studies on the frost resistance of concrete with SAP have been published. However, an up-to-date review across the different studies is missing. This paper presented a literature review on how SAP influences concrete frost resistance. Moreover, it also presented a larger experimental study on the topic. The conclusions that were drawn from the experimental study were in line with the extract of the pool of results from the literature, first of all that SAP addition can improve frost resistance of concrete. The improvement was attributed to voids created by SAP. As was clearly demonstrated in the paper, it was crucial to document the void structure of the hardened concrete. Other factors than SAP could lead to void formation. For example, residue of surfactant on SAP particles, originating from the production of suspension polymerized SAP, can have an air entraining effect in concrete. Therefore, assuming that SAP generated voids are the only voids may lead to erroneous conclusions. When SAP is used, it is, in principle, possible to produce concrete with a pre-defined void structure as regards total void volume and void size. However, the optimum SAP void structure in relation to frost resistance is not known, and as long as the target is not clear, it is hard to use the design option of controlled void structure in a constructive way.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAdvances in Civil Engineering Materials
Pages (from-to)237–256
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Concrete
  • Internal curing by superabsorbent polymer (SAP)
  • Frost resistance


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