• Vol 11, No 2 (2020)
  • Chemical Engineering

Utilization of Poly(Polyvinyl Alcohol-g-2-Ethylhexyl Acrylate) as Admixture for Mortar

Lyazzat Bekbayeva, El-Sayed Negim, Yeligbayeva Gulzhakhan, Eshmaiel Ganjian

Corresponding email: lyazzat_bk2019@mail.ru

Cite this article as:
Bekbayeva, L., Negim, E., Gulzhakhan, Y., Ganjian, E., 2020. Utilization of Poly(Polyvinyl Alcohol-g-2-Ethylhexyl Acrylate) as Admixture for Mortar. International Journal of Technology. Volume 11(2), pp. 259-268
Lyazzat Bekbayeva School of Chemical and Biological Technologies, Satbayev University, 22 Satpayev Street, 050013 Almaty, Kazakhstan
El-Sayed Negim School of Chemical Engineering, Kazakh-British Technical University, 106 Walikhanov Street, Almaty, 050010, Kazakhstan
Yeligbayeva Gulzhakhan School of Chemical and Biological Technologies, Satbayev University, 22 Satpayev Street, 050013 Almaty, Kazakhstan
Eshmaiel Ganjian School of Energy, Construction and Environment, Faculty of Engineering, Environment & Computing, Sir John Laing Building, JL138, Coventry University, Coventry, CV1 2HF
Email to Corresponding Author


We investigated the physico-mechanical properties of mortar mixed with copolymers based on polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and 2-ethylhexyl acrylate (2-EHA) and synthesized by grafting using ammonium persulfate (APS) as an initiator. Increasing the amount of 2-EHA in the copolymer from 4% to 8% reduced the water/cement (W/C) ratio, the initial and final setting times, and the water absorption of mortar, while it increased its compressive strength.

Admixture; Cement; Copolymer; Mortar; PVA; Workability


A number of researchers have investigated concrete admixtures based on polymers to improve different properties of concrete, such as workability, setting time, and compressive strength (Akers, 2001; Duggal, 2008; Plank and Sachsenhauser, 2009). These admixtures are used in various latexes, powders, and water-based and epoxy resins (Liao et al., 2006; Zingg et al., 2009) to enhance the physical and mechanical characteristics of cement, mortar, and concrete (Ashadi et al., 2015). The main mechanism of polymer addition to concrete is the formation of a thin film on the surface of the cement aggregate, as well as pores, which exhibit good adhesion and promote compressive strength and an increase in bending (Sakai and Sugita, 1995; Allahverdi et al., 2010). PVA is a hydrophile polymer often used in industrial applications as a binding agent, modifier, and aggregate surface pretreatment and fiber reinforcement agent in cement-based composite substances (Kim and Robertson, 1998; Kim et al., 1999; Niken et al., 2017). Generally, adding PVA to cement and cement-based materials, such as mortar and concrete, in small amounts improves their properties (Kim et al., 1999; Singh and Rai, 2001). Singh and Rai (2001) found that the incorporation of 3.0-wt.% PVA to cement pastes increased their strength and decreased their porosity. Furthermore, adding 1.0-wt.% PVA increased the flexural strength of cement pastes, as observed by Knapen and Van Gemert (2015). On the other hand, Sathidevi and Pushpendra  (2017)  demonstrated  that  the  compressive  strength  of  cement  pastes  as observed by Knapen and Van Gemert (2015). On the other hand, Sathidevi and Pushpendra (2017) demonstrated that the compressive strength of cement pastes decreased and their flexural strength remained unchanged by adding 2.0-wt.% PVA.  Fan et al. (2019) studied the effect of 0.6-wt.% and 1.0-wt% PVA on cement mortar properties. The compressive and flexural strengths of the mortar mixes were higher than for the reference. This may be due to the complex interaction between PVA and the ingredients of cement. In contrast with what was reported by Topi? et al. (2015), the addition of PVA to paste and mortar results in decreased workability, density, and compressive strength, while it increases the bending strength. A number of studies have focused on modified PVA and investigated its effects on the mechanical properties of cement and other building materials (Krepplet et al., 2002; Allahverdi, 2010; Kou and Poon, 2010). PVA is modified by grafting vinyl monomers onto PVA using free radicals. Some previously used vinyl monomers are 2-hydroxy hexyl acrylate (Negim et al., 2019), acrylic acid and acrylamide (Singh & Rawat, 2013), and styrene (Koohmareh et al., 2011). Negim et al. (2019) synthesized a copolymer by grafting 2-EHA on PVA using APS as a free-radical initiator and subsequently found that the properties of the cement improved with increasing the 2-EHA/grafted copolymer ratio.

Negim et al. (2014, 2016) investigated the physico-mechanical properties of mortar containing the following cosurfactants: 2-wt.% dodecyl benzene sodium sulfonate (DBSS) and either 1.5-wt.% PVA or 1.5-wt.% polyoxyethylene glycol monomethyl ether (POE)  as an air entraining agent. Additionally, the latex copolymers: styrene/butyl methacrylate (St/BuMA), styrene/methyl methacrylate (St/MMA), styrene/glycidyl methacrylate (St/GMA), and styrene/butyl acrylate (St/BuA) were prepared by emulsion in the presence of the abovementioned cosurfactants. The study investigated the workability, W/C ratio, initial and final setting time, water absorption, compressive strength, and combined water. The conclusion was that the latexes enhanced the paste and mortar properties compared with the cosurfactants.

In this context, the present work was designed to study the effect of grafted copolymers (PVA-g-2-EHA) on the following physico-mechanical properties of mortar: W/C ratio, workability, water absorption, and compressive strength, as well as to modify the workability of mortar mixes.


        We investigated the physical and mechanical properties of mortar premixed with copolymers. The results show that the W/C ratio is inversely proportional to the 2-EHA concentration; i.e., the grafted copolymer M1 acts as a water-reducing agent. The flow table test indicated that the workability of mortars also enhances by 60% because of the grafted copolymer acting as surface-active agent. Furthermore, mixing grafted copolymer with mortar resulted in mortar setting times inversely proportional with the 2-EHA content. Modified mortar also exhibited a higher compressive strength than the reference mortar, while the water absorption decreased with increasing the amount of 2-EHA in the copolymers. This effect is attributed to the formation of polymer films that may have filled the pores, reduced the water absorption, and improved the mortar strength.


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