Lignosulphonates are an important group of plasticising additives for concrete. Different lignosulphonates have different effects on slump, slump loss and setting time. Lignosulphonates have a broad molecular weight distribution, and contain a number of different functional groups. We have investigated how the different functional groups influence the setting time by investigating the interactions between 18 different model compounds and both cement and a model system for cement. The functional groups include, carboxylic acids, sulphonic acids, phenols, catechols, metoxyls, guajacyls, esters, aldehydes and acetals. We have also looked at the interactions between these model compounds and the cations commonly found in the pore water.
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