Materials and Structures

, 51:155 | Cite as

Influence of carbon nanotubes on steel–concrete bond strength

  • A. HawreenEmail author
  • J. A. Bogas
Original Article


In this study, the bond strength between steel and concrete reinforced with multi-walled carbon nanotubes (CNTs) is analysed. To this end, pull-out tests were carried out for concretes with incorporation of 0.05–0.1% of different types of functionalized and unfunctionalized CNTs with distinct aspect ratios and dispersion techniques. The results showed that CNTs can improve both compressive strength and steel–concrete bond up to 21% and 14% respectively, as compared to plain concrete. The highest compressive strength was found in concrete with higher amounts of lower aspect ratio CNTs, while the best steel–concrete bond performance was attained for concrete with lower amounts of higher aspect ratio CNTs. CNTs were effective to retain the crack propagation, increasing the bonding stiffness and reducing the deformation of concrete consoles between steel ribs. CNTs of higher aspect ratio could better contribute with their microcrack bridging effect. Microscopic analysis confirmed the adequate dispersion and microcrack bridging provided by CNTs, delaying the macrocrack propagation within the aggregate–paste and steel–concrete interfacial transition zones.


Carbon nanotube Steel–concrete bond Pull-out Microstructure Microcrack bridging 



Carbon nanotubes


Carboxyl-functionalized nanotubes with –COOH groups and higher aspect ratio


Carboxyl-functionalized nanotubes with –OH groups and higher aspect ratio


Unfunctionalized carbon nanotubes with longer aspect ratio in the powder form


Unfunctionalized carbon nanotubes with longer aspect ratio in aqueous suspension


Unfunctionalized carbon nanotubes with shorter aspect ratio in aqueous suspension



The authors wish to thank SECIL Company for supplying the materials used in the experiments. The first author also would like to thank Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian (Portugal) for the financial support through Scholarship No. 125745.


This study was funded by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (FCT) CEris–ICIST/IST (Grant No. UID/ECI/04625/2013).


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Copyright information

© RILEM 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CERIS-ICIST, DECivil, Instituto Superior TécnicoUniversidade de LisboaLisbonPortugal

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