Why is the water-retaining and thickening material added to all premixed mortar?
The water-retaining and thickening material can slow down the water loss rate of mortar. The water loss of mortar includes two processes. One is that the water inside the mortar diffuses to the surface, and the second is that the water on the surface of mortar evaporates or diffuses to the substrate material.
Only if the water inside the mortar diffuses continuously to the surface, it is possible to evaporate on the surface or diffuse to the substrate material; only if the water on the surface evaporates largely or diffuses to the substrate material, it can form a larger humidity gradient in the mortar and promote the water inside the mortar to diffuse to the surface. These two processes are interdependent.
The water-retaining agent has the role of adsorbing water molecules, and even leads the water molecules to diffuse onto the surface by intermolecular forces, thereby slowing down the water loss rate of mortar. For construction occasions where environmental conditions are relatively poor, this water retention effect can not only win the time for stress relaxation, but also maintain the water required for the hydration reaction of cementitious materials, thereby ensuring the normal development of mortar performance and improving the ability to resist of mortar. The water loss rate of mortar is related to the ambient temperature, humidity, as well as the thickness of mortar. Different varieties of mortar correspondingly need different varieties of water-retaining and thickening materials.
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