Here we explore the structural properties and damage sensing of cementitious mortars after a freeze-thaw process (F-T) as a function of nano-modification. For this purpose, carbon nanotubes were added at 0.2-0.8 wt.% cement using two different dispersive agents. F-T resulted in reduced fracture energy in nano-modified specimens prepared using superplasticizer as a dispersant while the opposite held true for the surfactant-containing ones. All nano-modified mortars possessed significantly higher fracture energy compared to the plain specimens after F-T (up to 73% improvement). The acoustic emission activity was lower after F-T, while acoustic emission indicators revealed a more tensile mode of fracture in both plain and nano-modified mortars.
Keywords: CNTs; damage monitoring; dispersive agents; fracture; freeze-thaw.