The addition of polycarboxylate based surfactants cause particles dispersion in cementitious materials and enhances their fluidity. The polymeric structures of the polycarboxylates have been formulated to meet various performance requirements such as water-reducing and consistency-maintaining. A trend on the relation between the polymeric structures and the resultant performance certainly exists, but its modeling is hardly obtained due to uncertainty on the polymeric structures as well as cement compositions. The degree of adsorption of the a polycarboxylate on cement particles is then taken to describe its performance. The rheological properties of plasticized cement pastes were evaluated and discussed to quantitatively analyze the effect of the adsorption of various polycarboxylates. (C) 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.