Materiales de Construcción, Vol 66, No 321 (2016)

Influence of cactus mucilage and marine brown algae extract on the compressive strength and durability of concrete

E. F. Hernández
Instituto Politécnico Nacional/CIIDIR Unidad Oaxaca, Mexico

P. F. de J. Cano-Barrita
Instituto Politécnico Nacional/CIIDIR Unidad Oaxaca, Mexico

A. A. Torres-Acosta
Universidad Marista de Querétaro, Mexico


This paper presents the mechanical performance and durability of concrete with water/cement (w/c) ratios of 0.30 and 0.60 containing cactus mucilage and brown marine seaweed extract solutions (at 0.5° Brix concentrations). Cylindrical specimens (100 mm x 200 mm) were cast and moist-cured for 0 and 28 days. Compressive strength, rapid chloride permeability, and chloride diffusion tests were conducted to evaluate all of the concrete mixes at the ages of 60 and 120 days. In addition, accelerated carbonation tests were carried out on specimens at the age of 180 days by exposure to 23 °C, 60% RH and at 4.4% CO2 for 120 days. The compressive strength results showed that only one concrete mix with admixtures increased in strength compared to the control. Regarding the rapid chloride permeability, chloride diffusion and carbonation, the results indicated that the durability of concretes containing organic additions was enhanced compared to the control.


Concrete; Organic admixtures; Compressive strength; Chloride; Durability

Full Text:



1. Mehta, P.K. (1997) Durability- Critical issues for the future. Concrete International. 19 [7], 27–33.

2. Glasser, F.P.; Marchand, J.; and Samson, E. (2008) Durability of concrete- degradation phenomena involving detrimental chemical reactions. Cem. Concr. Res. 38 [2], 226–246.

3. Neville, A. (1995) Chloride attack of reinforced concrete: an overview. Mater Struct. 28 [2], 63–70.

4. Mehta, P.K.; Gerwick, B.C. (1982) Cracking-corrosion interaction in concrete exposed to marine environment. Concrete International. 4 [10], 45–51.

5. Neville, A.M. (1995) Properties of concrete, fourth edition, Pearson Education Limited, England.

6. Aïtcin, P.C. (2003) The durability characteristics of high performance concrete: a review. Cem. Concr. Comp. 25 [4–5], 409–420.

7. Mehta, P.K. (1999) Advancements in Concrete Technology. Concrete International. 21 [6], 69–76.

8. Ann, Y.K.; Jung, H.S.; Kim, H.S; Kim, S.S.; Moon, H.Y. (2006) Effect of calcium nitrite-based corrosion inhibitor in preventing corrosion of embedded steel in concrete. Cem. Concr. Res. 36 [3], 530–535.

9. Wu, X.; Chou, N.; Lupher, D.; Davis, L.C. (1998) Benzotriazoles: Toxicity and Degradation. Proceedings, The 13th Annual conference on hazardous waste research, Snowbird, Utah. Project no. 94–27, 374–382.

10. Cárdenas, A.; Arguelles, W.M.; Goycoolea F.M. (1998) On possible role of Opuntia Ficus Indica mucilage in lime mortar performance in the protection of historical buildings. J. Prof. Assoc. Cactus. 3, 1–8, Online at

11. Chandra, S.; Eklund, L.; Villarreal R.R. (1998) Use of cactus in mortars and concrete. Cement and Concrete. 28 [1], 41–51.

12. Hernandez-Zaragoza, J.B.; Caballero-Badillo, C.E.; Rosas- Juarez, A.; Lopez-Lara, T.; Hinojosa-Torres, J.; Castano, V.M. (2007) Modification of Portland cement mortars with cactus gum. Chemistry and Chemical Technology. 1 [3], 175–177.

13. Ramírez-Arellanes, S.; Cano-Barrita, P.F. de J.; Julián- Caballero, F.; and Gómez-Ya-ez, C. (2012) Concrete durability properties and microstructural analysis of cement paste with nopal cactus mucilage as a natural additive. Mater. Construcc. 62 [302], 327–341.

14. Leon-Martinez F.; Cano-Barrita P.F.J.; Lagunez-Rivera L.; Medina-Torres L. (2014) Study of nopal mucilage and marine brown algae extract as viscosity enhancing admixtures for cement based materials. Construct. Build. Mat. 53 [2], 190–202.

15. Torres-Acosta A.A.; Martínez-Molina W.; Alonso-Guzmán E.M. (2012) State of the Art on Cactus Additions in Alkaline Media as Corrosion Inhibitors. International Journal of Corrosion. Article ID 646142, 9 pages. PMCid:PMC3428005

16. Fischer, F.G.; Dorfel, H. (1955) Polyuronic acids in brown algae. Hoppe-Seyler's Zeitschrift fur physiologische Chemie. 302 [4–6], 186–203.

17. Haug, A.; Smidsrød, O. (1965) Fractionation of alginates by precipitation with calcium and magnesium ions. Acta Chem. Scand. 19, 1221–1226.

18. Reyes-Tisnado, R.; Hernández-Carmona, G.; López- Gutiérrez, F.; Vernon-Carter, E.J.; Castro-Moyoroqui, P. (2004) Sodium and Potassium alginates extracted from Macrocystis Pyrifera algae for use in dental impression materials. Cienc. Mar. 30 [01B], 189–199. Online at

19. Pathak, T.S.; Yun, J-H.; Lee, J.; Paeng, K-J. (2010) Effect of calcium ion (cross-linker) concentration on porosity, surface morphology and thermal behavior of calcium alginates prepared from algae (Undaria pinnatífida). Carbohyd. Polym. 81 [3], 633–639.

20. Galán-Marín, C.; Rivera-Gómez, C.; Petric, J. (2010) Claybased composite stabilized with natural polymer and fibre. Construct. Build. Mat. 24 [8], 1462–1468.

21. Friedemann, K.; Stallmach, F.; Karger, J. (2006) NMR diffusion and relaxation studies during cement hydration-A non-destructive approach for clarification of mechanism of internal post curing of cementitious materials. Cem. Concr. Res. 36 [5], 817–826.

22. American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) (2003) ASTM Standard C33-03: Standard Specification for Concrete Aggregates, West Conshohocken, PA, 11.

23. American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) (2001) ASTM Standard C70-01: Standard Test Method for Surface Moisture in Fine Aggregate, West Conshohocken, PA, 3.

24. American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) (2001) ASTM Standard C127-01: Standard Test Method for Density, Relative Density (Specific Gravity), and Absorption of Coarse Aggregate, West Conshohocken, PA, 6.

25. American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) (2001) ASTM Standard C128-01: Standard Test Method for Density, Relative Density (Specific Gravity), and Absorption of Fine Aggregate, West Conshohocken, PA, 6.

26. American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) (2004) ASTM Standard C566-04: Standard Test Method for Total Evaporable Moisture content of Aggregate by Drying, West Conshohocken, PA, 3.

27. American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) (2003) ASTM Standard C29-03: Standard Test Method for Bulk Density ("Unit Weight") and Voids in Aggregate, West Conshohocken, PA, 4.

28. Medina-Torres, L.; Brito-De La Fuente, E.; Torrestiana-Sanchez, B.; and Katthain, R. (2000) Rheological properties of the mucilage gum (Opuntia ficus indica). Food Hydrocolloids. 14 [5], 417–424

29. Sáenz, C.; Sepúlveda, E. (1993) Alternativas de industrialización de la tuna (Opuntia ficus-indica). Alimentos. 18 [3], 29–32.

30. Sáenz, C.; Sepúlveda, E.; Matsuhiro, B. (2004) Opuntia spp mucilage's: a functional component with industrial perspectives. J. Arid. Environ. 57 [3], 275–290.

31. Abrajan, M.A. (2008) Efecto del método de extracción en las características químicas y físicas del mucílago de nopal (Opuntia ficus-indica) y estudio de su aplicación como recubrimiento comestible. PhD Thesis, Spain: Universidad Politécnica de Valencia, 1–244.

32. McGarvie, D.; Parolis, H. (1979) The mucilage of Opuntia ficus indica. Carbohyd. Res. 69 [1], 171–179.

33. Trachtenberg, S.H.; Mayer, A. (1981) Calcium oxalate crystals in Opuntia ficus indica (L.) Mill: development and relation to mucilage cells - a stereological analysis. Protoplasma 109 [3–4], 271–283.

34. Chhabra, R.P.; Richardson, J.F. (2008) Non-Newtonian flow and applied rheology. Second edition, Butterworth Heinemann, 536.

35. American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) (1999) ASTM Standard C305-99: Standard Practice for Mechanical Mixing of Hydraulic Cement Pastes and Mortars of Plastic Consistency, West Conshohocken, PA, 3.

36. Fagerlund, G. (2009) Chemically bound water as measure of degree of hydration- Methods and potential errors. Report TVBM-3150, 31.

37. Meiboom, S.; Gill, D. (1958) Modified spin–echo method for measuring nuclear relaxation times. Rev. Sci. Instrum. 29, 688–691.

38. Aïtcin, P.C.; Mehta, K. (1990) Principles underlying production of high-performance concrete. The American Society for testing and materials, cement, concrete and aggregates. 12 [2], 70–78.

39. ACI Committee 211. (1991) Standard Practice for Selecting Proportions for Normal, Heavyweight, and Mass Concrete (ACI 211-1-91). American Concrete Institute, Farmington Hills, MI, 38.

40. American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) (2003) ASTM Standard C39-0: Standard Test Method for Compressive Strength of Cylindrical Concrete Specimens, West Conshohocken, PA, 5.

41. Hall, C. (1989) Water Sorptivity of Mortars and Concretes: A Review. Mag. Concrete Res. 41 [147], 51–61.

42. American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) (1997) ASTM Standard C642-97: Standard Test Method for Density, Absorption, and Voids in Hardened concrete, West Conshohocken, PA, 3.

43. American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) (1997) ASTM Standard C1202-97: Standard Test Method for Electrical Indication of Concrete's Ability to Resist Chloride Ion Penetration, West Conshohocken, PA, 6.

44. NT BUILD 443, NORDTEST METHOD. (1995) Concrete, hardened: accelerated chloride penetration. NORDTEST, Tekniikantie 12, FIN-02150 ESPOO, FINLAND, Approved 1995–11, 5.

45. Crank, J. (1975) The mathematics of diffusion, second edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

46. Bentz, D.P.; Snyder, K.A.; Cass, L.C.; Peltz, M.A. (2008) Doubling the Service Life of Concrete. I: Reducing Ion Mobility Using Nanoscale Viscosity Modifiers. Cement and Concrete Composites. 30, 674–678.

47. Bentz, D.P.; Peltz, M.A.; Snyder, K.A.; Davis, J.M. (2009) VERDiCT: Viscosity Enhancers Reducing Diffusion in Concrete Technology. Concrete International. 31 [1], 31–36. Online at:

48. Leemann, A.; Lothenbach, B.; Thalmann, C. (2011) Influence of superplasticizers on pore solution composition and on expansion of concrete due to alkali-silica reaction. Construct. Buid. Mat. 25, 344–350.

49. Peschard, A.; Govin, A.; Grosseau, P.; Guilhot, B.; Guyonnet, R. (2004) Effect of polysaccharides on the hydration of cement paste at early ages. Cem. Concr. Res. 34, 2153–2158.

50. Mehta, P.K.; and Monteiro, P.J.M. (2006) Concrete - Microstructure, Properties, Materials. Third Edition, McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. 684.

51. Coates, G.R.; Xiao, L.; Prammer, M.G. (1999) NMR Logging Principles Applications. Halliburton Energy Service, 234.

52. Trachtenberg S.; Mayer M. (1982) Biophysical properties of Opuntia ficus-indica mucilage. Phytochemistry. 21 [12], 2835–2843.

53. De Larrard F.; Aitcin P.C. (1993) Apparent strength retrogression of silica-fume concrete. ACI Materials Journal. 90 [6], 581–585.

54. Hughes, D.C. (1985) Pore Structure and Permeability of Hardened Cement Paste. Magazine of Concrete Research. 37 [133], 227–233.

55. Caballero, J.F. (2008) Secado, absorción de agua y difusión de cloruros en concreto conteniendo extracto de nopal. MSc. Thesis, Oaxaca, México: CIIDIR IPN, 1–116.

56. Poinot, T.; Govin, A.; Grosseau, P. (2014) Influence of hydroxypropylguars on rheological behavior of cement-based mortars. Cem. Concr. Res. 58, 161–168.

57. Ventolà, L.; Vendrell, M.; Giraldez, P.; Merino, L. (2011) Traditional organic admixtures improve lime mortars: New old materials for restoration and building natural stone fabrics. Construct. Build. Mat. 25 [8], 3313–3318.

58. Sisomphon, K.; Franke, L. (2007) Carbonation rates of concretes containing high volume of pozzolanic materials. Cem. Concr. Res. 37 [12], 1647–1653.

Copyright (c) 2016 Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Contact us

Technical support