The effect of fly ash fineness on heat of hydration, microstructure, flow and compressive strength of blended cement pastes

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Case Studies in Construction Materials, 2019, 10
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© 2019 In this paper, an experimental study on the effect of fly ash fineness on the heat of hydration, microstructure, flow and compressive strength of blended cement pastes was carried out and evaluated against control cement paste. Fly ashes with different fineness: classified fly ash, run-of-station fly ash and grounded run-of-station fly ash; with a median particle size of 17.4, 11.3 and 5.7 μm, respectively, from the same power station source in Australia were used to partially replace Portland cement at 20% and 40% by weight of cement using a fixed water-to-binder ratio of 0.40. Results of this study showed that the cumulative heat of hydration of blended cement paste decreased as fly ash content in blended cement paste was increased. For a given cement replacement level, blended cement paste containing finer fly ash released more heat of hydration when compared to coarser fly ash. Moreover, increasing the fineness of fly ash resulted in a higher consumption of calcium hydroxide at 7 and 28 days reflecting pozzolanic reactivity and, thus, a denser microstructure than blended pastes containing coarser fly ash as revealed by the X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and compressive strength results. In addition, the incorporation of fly ash in the blended pastes led to the introduction of an additional hydration peak in the heat evolution curve possibly due to the late activation of fly ash by calcium hydroxide renewing the C 3 A reaction and converting ettringite to monosulfate. The flow of the freshly blended cement pastes was also found to improve slightly with increasing fineness of the fly ash. In addition, the hardened blended cement pastes containing 20% ground run-of-station fly ash showed comparable compressive strength with the control cement pastes at both 7 and 28 days mainly due to the higher fineness of the ground run-of-station fly ash and increased reactivity compared to coarser grade fly ash.
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