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The effect of different Ordinary Portland cement binders, partially replaced by fly ash and slag, on the properties of self-compacting concrete
Almuwbber, Omar Mohamed
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Self-compacting concrete (SCC) is a flowable self-consolidating concrete which can fill formwork without any external vibration. A self-compacting concrete mix requires the addition of superplasticiser (SP), which allows it to become more workable without the addition of excessive water to the mixture. The effect of different CEM I 52.5N cements produced by one company at different factories on self-compacting concrete was investigated. The properties of SCC are highly sensitive to changes in material properties, water content and addition of admixtures. For self-compacting concrete to be more accepted in South Africa, the effect that locally sourced materials have on SCC, partially replaced with extenders, needs to be investigated. The European guidelines for SCC (2005) determined the standard, through an extensive study, for the design and testing of self-compacting concrete. Using these guidelines, the properties of self-compacting concrete with the usage of local materials were investigated. The effect on SCC mixes was studied by using four cements; two types of SPs – partially replaced with two types of fly ash; and one type of slag. Mix design and tests were done according to the European Specification and Guidelines for Self-Compacting Concrete (2005). Using locally sourced materials (different cements, sand, coarse aggregate, fly ashes and slag), mixes were optimised with different SPs. Optimisation was achieved when self-compacting criteria, as found in the European guidelines, were adhered to, and the binders in these required mixes were then partially replaced with fly ash and slag at different concentrations. Tests done were the slump flow, V-funnel, L-box, sieve segregation resistance as well as the compressive strength tests. The results obtained were then compared with the properties prescribed by the European guidelines. The cements reacted differently when adding the SPs, and partially replacing fly ash and slag. According to the tests, replacing cement with extenders – in order to get a sufficient SCC – seemed to depend on the chemical and physical properties of each cement type, including the soluble alkali in the mixture, C3A, C3S and the surface area. The range, in which the concentration of these chemical and physical cement compounds should vary – in order to produce an acceptable SCC partially replaced by extenders – was determined and suggested to the cement producer. The main conclusion of this project is that cement properties vary sufficiently from factory to factory so as to influence the performance of an SCC mix. The problem becomes even bigger when such cements are extended with fly ash or slag, and when different SPs are used. When designing a stable SCC mix, these factors should be taken into account.