Tricalcium silicate is the main compound of Ordinary Portland Cement which is the main binder used to build up our infrastructure and housings. The reaction of tricalcium silicate with water leads to the formation of nanoscaled hydrate phases- so-called calcium-silicate-hydrates (C-S-H). These phases are very sensitive in terms of dehydration and decomposition during experimental observation.
In our report we show that gentle sample preparation in combination with new sophisticated techniques, such as atom probe tomography (APT) and high resolution scanning electron microscopy (HRSEM), the hydration progress can be followed close-to-native. Again by combination with other techniques (isothermal conduction calorimetry, ion concentrations in the aqueous phase by Ion coupled plasma-optical emission spectroscopy, ICP-OES) we are able to draw a detailed picture on the early stages of hydration of tricalcium silicate. These experimental data enable the modeling of the hydration kinetics of tricalcium silicate which is debated since nearly one hundred years.