Background: Buildings in high altitude region often face low pressure and low humidity service environment, which has a great impact on the mechanical properties and durability of cement- based materials.
Objective: In this paper, the effects of nano-silica (NS) on the strength and water absorption of cement mortar exposed to the low pressure and low humidity environment were studied.
Methods: Mechanical properties (compressive strength and flexural strength) and durability (water absorption) were measured. Moreover, the hydration degree of cement was tested to assist analysis.
Results: The flexural strength of mortar decreased and the compressive strength increased slowly after 28 days of exposure under low pressure and low humidity environment. Especially, the introduction of 1% NS could reduce the compressive strength loss and flexural strength loss of mortar under low pressure and low humidity environment. It was also found that the water absorption of the mortar in low pressure and low humidity environment was related to the tortuous degree of the pores inside the specimen.
Conclusion: The introduction of 1% NS contributed the most to the mechanical properties (compressive strength and flexural strength) and durability (water absorption) of cement mortar.