Cementitious macro-defect-free (MDF) materials can be obtained processing a mixture of a water-soluble polymer, namely polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and the calcium aluminate cement. Based on process techniques typical of plastics, the MDF products can be obtained in complex forms and, thanks to the reduced water to cement ratio, w/c, their strength is very high compared to standard cements. However, these materials show both the sensitivity typical of water-soluble polymers, presenting a low glass transition temperature (Tg), and the brittle behavior typical of ceramic materials and therefore low toughness. The aim of this work is to modify the mechanical properties of MDF cements by tuning their unacceptable brittle behavior. Water solution of carboxylate styrene butadiene rubber is used as reactive additives, and different mixture formulations are tested changing the rubber-like content both with respect to the fixed water content and PVA amounts. It is shown that the modifications of the organic phase imply small or negligible effects on paste formation of different recipes as detected by the torque–time responses. From flexural and fracture toughness tests, a wide range of responses was observed, and depending on the particular recipe, the mechanical behavior can be tuned from a brittle to a ductile behavior.
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