Durability of calcium aluminate and sulphate resistant Portland cement based mortars in aggressive sewer environment and sulphuric acid

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Journal Article
Cement and Concrete Research, 2019, 124
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© 2019 Elsevier Ltd This study aims to compare the performance of sulphate resisting (SR) Portland cement mortar (SRm) and calcium aluminate cement mortars (CACm) in both natural sewer environment and sulphuric acid. Specimens were extracted after 12 and 24 months from field exposure, and were also removed from 1.5% sulphuric acid (H2SO4) after 6 months to investigate the deterioration caused by chemically induced corrosion. Visual, physical and extensive microstructural analyses were performed to evaluate the degradation of CACm and SRm matrix using techniques such as Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Energy Dispersive X-Ray (EDX), X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) and Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) Spectroscopy. Surface pH was estimated after 12 and 24 months of field exposure to identify the initiation of biotic film development due to microbial induced corrosion (MIC). Material properties such as mass loss, compressive strength, linear expansion, and pH profile with respect to neutralization depth were also measured. The difference in mechanism of deterioration was also highlighted based on microstructural investigations between in field experimentation and acid exposure. The results showed that overall CACm performed significantly better than SRm in onsite sewer environment and sulphuric acid solution in terms of visual observations, loss in mass, compressive strength reduction, depth of neutralization, reduction in pH and penetration of sulphur. Crystallization of gypsum within the matrix of both mixes was the main factor behind the deterioration observed using XRD and FTIR from both in field and acid attack exposure, with higher deterioration within the matrix of SRm as compared to CACm. Moreover, sulphuric acid testing is suitable for screening the mixes rapidly against acidic environment, but due to the major differences observed in deterioration processes with natural field conditions this method is unsuitable for service life design of sewage structures.
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