Molecular-level investigation on the effect of surface moisture on the bonding behavior of cement-epoxy interface

Ashraf A. Bahraq, I. B. Obot, Mohammed A. Al-Osta*, Omar S. Baghabra Al-Amoudi, Mohammed Maslehuddin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Epoxy resins are widely used as construction and repair materials. However, their bond with the concrete substrate under wet conditions is of concern as the loss of compatibility will lead to the failure of the bonded system. The reported study investigated the effect of surface moisture at the epoxy/cement interface using molecular dynamics (MD) simulation. The model of the interface was built using calcium silicate hydrate (C–S–H), as a hydrated cement substrate and diglycidyl ether of bisphenol-F (DGEBF) as an epoxy resin. Subsequently, different layers of water molecules were inserted into the model to represent varying moisture concentrations at the interface. The interfacial properties of the dry and wet models were evaluated in terms of adhesion, debonding, and energy ratios. In addition, the radial distribution function (RDF) was employed to deeply investigate the atomic interaction between the cement surface and epoxy. The results of the model indicated that the adhesion properties were adversely affected by the presence of moisture at the epoxy/cement interface. The degradation in the adhesion at moisture contents of 3% and 6% was 37.49% and 72.02%, respectively. Additionally, it was found that the detachment increased, as evident from the values of debonding, at higher moisture contents due to an increase in the adhesion between the C–S–H and water molecules where the latter form hydrogen bonds with the substrate. This work provides valuable molecular-level insights into the epoxy/cement bond that can be used to design new epoxy resins suited for cement and concrete applications.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105299
JournalJournal of Building Engineering
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier Ltd


  • C–S–H
  • Debonding
  • Epoxy
  • Moisture
  • Molecular dynamics simulation
  • Temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Mechanics of Materials


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