Supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs), such as fly ash (FA) and ground granulated blast-furnace slag (GGBS), are often used as a partial replacement of cements to improve the sustainability of Portland cement-based materials and reduce their environmental impact. Superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) can be successfully used as internal curing agents in ultra-high performance cementitious materials by facilitating the hydration process and controlling the water supply in both fresh and hardened states. This paper intends to characterise the physical and chemical properties of SAPs and their sorption properties in different blended cement environments. The swelling capacity and kinetics of absorption of three superabsorbent polymers with different chemical compositions and grading were tested in different cement environments. Experimental results of their sorption performance in distinct solutions, including deionised water (DI), Portland cement (PC), and blended cements (PC-FA and PC-GGBS) and changes in pH of different solutions over time were investigated. The results showed that PC-FA solution had the lowest pH followed by PC-GGBS solution. Moreover, SAPs samples displayed the highest absorption capacities in PC-FA solutions, and the lowest swelling capacities were found in PC-GGBS solutions. Furthermore, SAP with smaller particle sizes had the greatest absorption capacity values in all solutions.
- superabsorbent polymers (SAPs); supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs); characterisation; water absorption capacities (WAC)