THz Fingerprints of Cement-Based Materials

To find materials with an appropriate response to THz radiation is key for the incoming THz technology revolution. Unfortunately, this region of the electromagnetic spectra remains largely unexplored in most materials. The present work aims at unveiling the most significant THz fingerprints of cement-based materials. To this end transmission experiments have been carried out over Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) and geopolymer (GEO) binder cement pastes in combination with atomistic simulations. These simulations have calculated for the first time, the dielectric response of C-S-H and N-A-S-H gels, the most important hydration products of OPC and GEO cement pastes respectively. Interestingly both the experiments and simulations reveal that both varieties of cement pastes exhibit three main characteristic peaks at frequencies around ~0.6 THz, ~1.05 THz and ~1.35 THz, whose origin is governed by the complex dynamic of their water content, and two extra signals at ~1.95 THz and ~2.75 THz which are likely related to modes involving floppy parts of the dried skeleton.