Applied research

In collaboration with universities and the central research organizations of AkzoNobel, we build technology platforms to provide new solutions in mortar application. One of the main focuses of our attention is on the systematic understanding of mortars. In the last few years we have been developing analytical methods and models that help us to more easily understand how our materials influence the properties of a mortar. 

TGA Profiling
Image by A. Jenni

Materials research - TGA profiling of mortar layers
The image shows the inhomogeneous distribution of cellulose ether (dyed green) in a tile adhesive. “TGA profiling” confirms the strong fractionation of mortar constituents. In this method, the mortar bed is sampled from top to bottom in a series of thin layers each of which is then subjected to separate thermal analysis. The concentrations in all of the layers of a constituent element of mortar can then be compiled into a concentration profile across the entire mortar bed (see yellow graphic). 

R. Zurbriggen (2001): Investigation of the segregation behavior of different mortar constituents with TGA/SDTA, UserCom (Information for users of METTLER TOLEDO thermal analysis systems), 13, 9-11. 
A. Jenni, M. Herwegh, R. Zurbriggen, T. Aberle, L. Holzer, Quantitative microstructure analysis of polymer-modified mortars, Journal of Microscopy, 212 (2) (2003) 186-196. 

Early shrinkage of mortars 
The non-contact, laser device allows the shrinkage of thin mortar layers to be measured from the very first moment. Akzo Nobel Chemicals applies this technique to the study of shrinkage/expansion behavior in fresh mortar and swelling/shrinking behavior under different storage conditions. 

Early shrinkage of mortars
Image by Erwin Bühler, Akzo Nobel Chemicals AG

Bühler, E. and Zurbriggen, R. (2004): Mechanisms of early shrinkage and expansion of fast-setting flooring compounds. Submitted to GDCh Baufachtagung, Erlangen, Germany 

Shear Bond Strength 
The ability to measure shear bond strength and shear bond deformation (flexibility) is indispensable in the study of the relationship between polymer properties and the performance of tile adhesives. 

In addition to other tests, shear bond strength measurements provide important data for product development. 

Shear Strength
Image by Jörg Lang, Akzo Nobel Chemicals AG
Collaboration with Universities 
Right from the start, a major focus of our collaboration with universities has been the basic micro-structural evolution of polymer-modified mortars. The study of microstructures is an essential component for the integrated understanding of polymer-cement composite materials. Depending on the formulation and environmental conditions, specific microstructures are obtained together with the associated macroscopic properties. The research into the microstructures and the associated mechanisms provides the basis for understanding the related physical properties in each case. 

Dr. A. Jenni and his co-authors show the basic research and the scientific article in a different way, as an interactive presentation. The presentation is available in English at: