Mechanical parameters of cementitious composites differ quite significantly based on the composition of cement matrix. They are also influenced by mixing times and procedure. The research presented in this paper was aimed at identification of differences in microstructure of normal strength (NSC) and differently mixed high strength (HSC) cementitious composites. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) investigation together with energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) phase analysis of NSC and HSC samples was conducted. Evaluation of interfacial transition zone (ITZ) between the aggregate and cement matrix was performed. Volume share, thickness, porosity and composition of ITZ were studied. In case of HSC, samples obtained by several different mixing procedures were compared in order to find the most suitable procedure. In case of NSC, ITZ was identified around 40-50% of aggregate grains and its thickness typically ranged between 10 and 40 µm. Higher porosity and lower share of clinker was observed in this area as a result of increased water-to-cement ratio (w/c) and the lack of fine particles improving the grading curve of the aggregate. Typical ITZ with lower content of Ca was observed only in one HSC sample, where it was developed around less than 15% of aggregate grains. The typical thickness of ITZ in this sample was similar to ITZ in NSC (between 5 and 40 µm). In the remaining four HSC samples, no ITZ was observed. In general, the share of ITZ in HSC samples was found to be significantly smaller than in NSC samples. As ITZ is the weakest part of the material, this result explains to large extent the improved mechanical properties of HSC compared to NSC. Based on the comparison of characteristics of ITZ in HSC samples prepared by different mixing procedures, the most suitable mixing procedure from the point of view of properties of ITZ was identified.
This study investigates the potential of using crushed concrete as aggregates to produce green and sustainable concrete. Crushed concrete was sieved to powder fine recycled aggregate (PFRA) less than 80 µm and coarse recycled aggregates (CRA). Physical, mechanical, and microstructural properties for PFRA and CRA were evaluated. The effect of the additional rates of PFRA and CRA on strength development of recycled aggregate concrete (RAC) was investigated. Additionally, the characteristics of interfacial transition zone (ITZ) between cement paste and recycled aggregate were also examined. Results show that concrete mixtures made with 100% of CRA and 40% PFRA exhibited similar performance to that of the control mixture prepared with 100% natural aggregate (NA) and 40% natural pozzolan (NP). Moreover, concrete mixture incorporating recycled aggregate exhibited a slightly higher later compressive strength than that of the concrete with NA. This was confirmed by the very dense microstructure for concrete mixture incorporating recycled concrete aggregates compared to that of conventional concrete mixture.
The properties of locally produced metakaolin (MK) as cement replacing material and the comparison of reactivity with commercially available micro-silica have been investigated. Compressive strength, splitting tensile strength, and load-deflection behaviour under bending are the properties that have been studied. The amorphous phase of MK with micro-silica was compared through X-ray diffraction (XRD) pattern. Further, interfacial transition zone of concrete with micro-silica and MK was observed through Field Emission Scanning Electron Microscopy (FESEM). Three mixes of concrete were prepared. One of the mix is without cement replacement as control mix, and the remaining two mixes are 10% cement replacement with micro-silica and MK. It has been found that MK, due to its irregular structure and amorphous phase, has high reactivity with portlandite in concrete. The compressive strength at early age is higher with MK as compared to micro-silica. MK concrete showed higher splitting tensile strength and higher load carrying capacity as compared to control and micro-silica concrete at all ages respectively.
In this study, a comprehensive approach has been adopted to examine in detail the effect of various hook geometries on bond-slip characteristics. Extensive single fibre pull-out tests on ultra-high performance matrix with three different W/B ratios and embedded lengths have been carried out. Test results showed that the mechanical deformation of fibre hook is the main mechanism governing the pull-out behaviour. Furthermore, the quantitative analyses have been completed to compare the hook design contribution of 3D, 4D and 5D fibres to assess overall pull-out behaviour. It was also revealed that there is a strong relationship between the magnitude of hook contribution and W/B ratio (i.e. matrix strength). Reducing the W/B ratio from 0.20 to 0.11 greatly optimizes the interfacial transition zone (ITZ) and enables better mobilization, straightening of the hook and results in bond-slip-hardening behaviour.
The research investigates the effects of super plasticizer and molarity of sodium hydroxide alkaline solution on the workability, microstructure and compressive strength of self compacting geopolymer concrete (SCGC). SCGC is an improved way of concreting execution that does not require compaction and is made by complete elimination of ordinary Portland cement content. The parameters studied were superplasticizer (SP) dosage and molarity of NaOH solution. SCGC were synthesized from low calcium fly ash, activated by combinations of sodium hydroxide and sodium silicate solutions, and by incorporation of superplasticizer for self compactability. The workability properties such as filling ability, passing ability and resistance to segregation were assessed using slump flow, T-50, V-funnel, L-Box and J-ring test methods. It was found that the essential workability requirements for self compactability according to EFNARC were satisfied. Results showed that the workability and compressive strength improved with the increase in superplasticizer dosage. An increase in strength and a decrease in workability of these concrete samples were observed with the increase in molarity of NaOH solution from 8M to 14M. Improvement of interfacial transition zone (ITZ) and micro structure with the increase of SP and increase of concentration from 8M to 12M were also identified.