A principal goal of our research is to explore structure and reactivity of cementitious materials, mainly by solid-state nucleic magnetic resonance (NMR) techniques, and to utilize this information in the development of the next generation of sustainable cement-based materials. The reactivity can often be significantly increased by introducing structural disorder in the materials.
Our research focuses on the application of solid-state NMR spectroscopy in inorganic materials research. The main areas are cement-based materials, heterogeneous catalysts, inorganic framework structures, glasses, and new materials for hydrogen storage. Our principal field is cement-based materials. In this field, academia and industry face the global challenge of developing more sustainable cement production, since today’s production is responsible for roughly 5% of the total anthropogenic CO2 emissions. We contribute to this task by the development of new cement binders based on alkali-activated systems and new supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs) which can partly replace the CO2-intensive Portland clinkers in cement blends. A main advantage of solid-state NMR is the equal detection of crystalline and amorphous materials. This is utilized to study disorder in the SCMs introduced either by guest-ion incorporation or thermal treatment procedures.
Our current research in both cementitious materials and heterogeneous catalysts involve collaborations with national and international industrial and academic partners.