"EFFECTS OF WATER TO CEMENTITIOUS RATIO ON COMPRESSIVE STRENGTH OF CEMENT MORTAR CONTAINING FLY ASH"*

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1 "EFFECTS OF WATER TO CEMENTITIOUS RATIO ON COMPRESSIVE STRENGTH OF CEMENT MORTAR CONTAINING FLY ASH"* By Tarun R. Naik, Ph.D., P.E. Director, Center for By-Products Utilization Shiw S. Singh, Ph.D., P.E. Post-Doctoral Fellow Center for By-Products Utilization and Amr S. Hassaballah Research Associate Center for By-Products Utilization Department of Civil Engineering and Mechanics College of Engineering and Applied Science The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee P.O. Box 784 Milwaukee, WI Telephone: (414) Fax: (414) *Presented and Published at the ACI/CANMET-EPRI Sponsored Fourth International Conference on Fly Ash, Silica Fume, Slag and Natural Pozzolans in Concrete, Istanbul, Turkey, May 1992.

2 "Effects of Water to Cementitious Ratio on Compressive Strength of Cement Mortar Containing Fly Ash" by Tarun R. Naik, Shiw S. Singh and Amr S. Hassaballah ABSTRACT This study was directed toward studying performance of ASTM Class C and F fly ashes in mortars under varying water to cementitious materials ratio. Four different basic mixtures were proportioned. These mixes were proportioned to have cement replacements in the range of percent by the weight of fly ash. For each basic mix, water to cementitious materials ratio varied between An ASTM Type I Portland cement obtained from one source was used in all the tests. Mortar mixes containing 20% Class C fly ash exhibited better results than that shown by both the control mix as well as other mixes containing Class F fly ash. The optimum water to cementitious materials ratio (weight of water divided by total weight of cement plus Class C or Class F fly ash) was found to range between 0.35 and 0.6 for mixes tested in this investigation. INTRODUCTION Researchers have shown that the addition of fly ash to concrete mixes reduces water requirement for a given workability [1, 2, 3, 7]. The decrease in water demand has been attributed to increase

3 in workability due to decreased fiction between paste and large aggregate particles resulting from ball bearing effects of spherical particles of fly ash present in these mixes. Minnick et al. [4] indicated that inclusion of fly ash can increase or decrease the water requirement of mortar or concrete mixes depending upon the carbon content (LOI), and the amount of material retained by the 45 μm sieve. The increase in water demand results due to water absorption by carbon particles and other porous materials [4], and coarse particles cause increased frictional resistance of the mix systems, especially between the paste and coarse aggregate particles. Therefore, mixes containing large and/or coarse fly ash particles, higher amounts of water will be required relative to the control mix in order to produce mortars/concrete at a fixed workability level. In general, mixes containing fly ash with finer particles show decrease in water demand with increasing amount of fly ash in the mixture. Helmuth [4] reviewed critically the water-reducing properties of fly ash in cement pastes, mortars, and concretes. Based on his critical analysis of test data derived from several studies, he concluded that the reduction in water requirement in these mixes may not be because of ball bearing effects of spherical fly ash particles, as generally described in the literature, but it may be primarily due to absorption of very fine fly ash particles on cement particles 3

4 surfaces which in turn causes dispersion of the cement particles similar to that obtained through addition of organic water-reducing admixtures. Variations in fly ash properties, physical, chemical, and mineralogical, can have substantial effects on its performance in mortar as well as in concrete. Also, considerable variations can also occur due to variations in properties of cements and other mineral admixtures depending upon their production processes, types and brands. Therefore, it is of special importance to develop optimum mix proportion for each fly ash type and source in order to make effective utilization of fly ashes in mortars/concrete. This research work was carried out to evaluate performance of fly ash in mortar as a function of water requirements and water to cementitious materials ratio. The result of this investigation would be useful in determining optimum mix proportion for fly ash mortars, and later concrete, containing either ASTM Class C or Class F fly ashes. PREVIOUS STUDIES Berry [6] studied development of compressive strength of mortars made from blends of slag, fly ash and Portland cement. No significant interaction was found to occur between them when granulated slag and fly ash was used together. Mortars were made with binary or ternary blends of cement, slag, and fly ash. Mortar cube specimens were tested 4

5 for compressive strength. The results showed that optimum amount of fly ash containing finer particles (10.2% retained on Sieve # 325) can be blended with cement and slag in the range of 10-30% of the blend. Lin and Hwang [8] evaluated effects of design parameters for cement mortars containing Class F fly ash such as water to cementitious ratio and curing temperature on the replacements of cement and fine aggregates by fly ash. Based on the results obtained, they recommended that in order to increase the early strength grain of mortars containing fly ash: (a) replace part of cement by fly ash and reduce water-cement ratio simultaneously; (b) replace part of sand by fly ash and slightly increase the water-cement ratio to improve its workability; (c) replace part of cement and sand simultaneously; and, (d) cure with high temperature. Compressive strength of mortars containing slag and fly ash have been measured by Douglas et al. [9, 10]. Their study [9] revealed that high-lime content fly ash develops higher compressive strength than low-lime fly ash above 25% Portland cement replacement. They further indicated that 50 percent cement replacement by the high-lime content fly ash might provide an acceptable compromise with respect to compressive strength and heat of hydration. Douglas et al. [10] also reported that sulphate resistance of mortar containing 58 percent 5

6 of fly ashes with lime content up to 12.3 percent was significantly higher compared to the reference mortars containing no fly ash. TEST MATERIALS For the research project reported herein, test materials consisted of cement, sand, water, and fly ashes. ASTM Type I cement was used throughout these tests. ASTM Class C and F ashes were obtained from Pleasant Prairie Power Plant, Kenosha County, WI and Valley Power Plant, Milwaukee, WI, respectively. Natural sand was obtained from a local ready mix concrete producer. MIX PROPORTIONING In mixing the reference mortar mixes, cement to sand ratio was taken as 1:2.75. This mix proportion for the control mix was designated as Mix A. Mortars were also proportioned to have cement replacement by fly ash in the range of percent. Three different basic mortar mixtures containing fly ashes, designated as Mix B, Mix C, and Mix D, were also proportioned, Table 1. For all mixes, except Mix B, water to cementitious materials ratio was varied in the range of (Tables 2 through 5). For Mix B water to cement cementitious materials ratio varied in the range of

7 PREPARATION AND TESTING OF CUBE SPECIMENS For each mix, 2-in. mortar cubes were cast and moist-cured for 24 hours. Then demolded and stored in lime-saturated water until time of testing. All cubes were tested for compressive strength at 7 and 28 days in accordance with the ASTM Test C-109. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION Test data are presented in Tables 2 through 5, and in Figures 1 through 7. As expected, compressive strength increased with water to cementitious ratio up to a certain level and then decreased. This happens due to the well known fact that up to certain water to cementitious ratio, below optimum, strength decreases because insufficient amount of water is available for completion of hydration reaction, and/or because of low fluidity of the mix, "dryness" of the mix, compaction might be poor to achieve the potential strength. Whereas above the optimum water requirement, strength decreases due to increased porosity of the mortar mixture system resulting from increased water content. 7

8 Generally, for optimum strength/performance, higher water to cementitious materials is observed in the case of mortars compared to concrete. Several factors can influence the water to cementitious ratio of mortar and concrete mixes. The transition zone, the interfacial region between aggregate and paste, is larger due to size of coarse aggregate particles present in case of concrete with compared to mortar. Also, for concrete, porosity of the transition zone increases with increase in water content. The transition zone is the weakest link and thus dictates the extent of concrete strength that can be achieved due to the cementitious compounds hydration reaction. Probably due to this factor, less than the required amount of water for hydration could be added to concrete to avoid critical porosity beyond which strength diminishes rapidly. This effect is relatively small in case of mortars due to their finer aggregate particles relative to coarse aggregate particles used in concrete. Therefore, higher amount of water can be added to mortar mixes to derive potential strength gain due to hydration reactions. The peak strength, therefore, for mortars occurs at a higher value of water to cementitious ratio. Compressive strength data for Mix A as a function of water to cementitious ratio by weight is presented in Table 2. The compressive strength increased with increasing water to cementitious ratio up to 0.57 and then diminished, for both 7-day and 28-day test ages. 8

9 Compressive strength of mortar Mix B containing Class C fly ash at 20% cement replacement is shown in Table 3. This mixture showed higher compressive strength compared to reference mixture, Mix A, at both 7-day and 28-day ages, but the peak occurred at a lower water to cementitious ratio of 0.37 at both test ages. The maximum compressive strength exhibited by Mix B was 125 and 112 percent of the compressive strength attained by the reference mortar without fly ash at 7 days, and 28 days, respectively. Compressive strength as a function of water to cementitious ratio for Mix C having 20% cement replacement by Class F fly ash is given in Table 4. The optimum water to cementitious materials ratio for this mix was found to be 0.57 at both 7-day and 28-day ages. This mix attained maximum compressive strength of 84% and 85% of maximum strength of the reference mortar without fly ash at 7-day and 28-day ages, respectively. Concrete Mix C (20% Class F fly ash) gave lower strength compared to the reference Mix A (no fly ash) as well as Mix B containing 20% Class C Fly Ash. Test data for Mix D is presented in Table 5. The maximum compressive strength of this mix was obtained at water to cementitious ratio of This mix attained maximum compressive strength of 56% at 7-day and 72% at 28 days of the corresponding maximum values shown by the reference mortar without fly ash at both test ages. 9

10 The data presented above revealed that increase in Class F fly caused reduction in mortar strength. Furthermore, peak strength occurred at a lower W/C+F ratio for the 40% Class F fly ash mix with respect to the no fly ash mix and the 20% Class F fly ash mix (for which peak occurred at the W/C+F ratio of This may be because of the fact that slower pozzolanic reaction occurs at early age due to poor reactivity of the Class F ash used. Improvement in compressive strength were not achieved even at 20% Class F fly ash replacement. Mix B with 20% cement replacement by Class C fly ash showed encouraging results due to its better cementitious and pozzolanic properties relative to Class F fly ash. The higher pozzolanic activity in the case of Class C fly ash is associated with its improved fineness, and higher lime content. The test results showed that optimum water to cementitious ratio by weight was in the range of for all the mortar mixes with and without Class C or F fly ash. RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN WATER TO CEMENTITIOUS RATIO BY WEIGHT AND WATER TO CEMENTITIOUS RATIO BY VOLUME The water to cementitious ratio by weight can be expressed as: R W = W W W CM 1 R W = W W (W C + W FA ) 2 10

11 R W = W W W CM [(1 - P 100 ) + P*RR 100 ] 3 Where R W W W = Water to cementitious ratio by weight = Weight of water W CM = Weight of total cementitious materials (cement and fly ash) W FA = Weight of fly ash P RR = Percent cement replacement by fly ash = Replacement ratio, ratio of fly ash to cement replacement used The water to cementitious materials ratio by volume can be written as R V = V W V C + V FA 4 R V = W W ρ W [ (1-P) ρ W CM + P W CM RR C ρ ] FA 5 11

12 R V = W W 1 W [ CM (1-P) + P*RR ] 6 S FA S C R V = R W * CF 7 where R v = Water to cementitious materials ratio by volume ρ W = Density of water ρ C = Density of cement ρ FA = Density of fly ash S C = Specific gravity of cement S FA = Specific gravity of fly ash CF = Conversion factor, and it is given by the following relation: CF = 1 [( 1-P S ) + P*RR C S ] FA 8 The values of CF can be multiplied by water to cementitious ratio by weight to obtain the water to cement ratio by volume (Eq. 7). Eq. 8 provides general conversion factor (CF) for converting water to cementitious ratio by weight (R W ) to water is cementitious ratio by volume (R V ). When the replacement ratio (RR) is set to zero, 12

13 then R W and R V become W/C by weight and W/C by volume, respectively for mixes containing fly ash. For mixes containing no fly ash, both P and RR will be set to zero to obtain the desired water to cement ratios. The general trend of the results remains the same as described above for the weight ratio (R w ) when water to cementitious ratio is expressed by volume (R V ). However, the strength values will be represented at a higher water to cementitious ratio by volume relative to water to cementitious ratio by weight as determined by the factor CF. The CF factor is a function of amount of cement replacement by fly ash, replacement ratio (RR), specific gravity of cement and fly ash. The computed values of CF is shown in Table 6. Compressive strength data for mixes tested are plotted as a function of water to cementitious ratio on both weight and volume basis (Figure 1 through 7). CONCLUSIONS (1) Addition of ASTM Class F fly ashes caused reduction in compressive strength of cement mortars within the tested range of variables. (2)Mortar made with mixes with 20% cement replacement by Class C fly ash cement showed excellent results amongst all the mixes tested in this investigation. 13

14 (3)The optimum water to cementitious material ratio by weight varied in the range of for all mortar mixes tested. REFERENCES 1.Berry, E.E., and Malhotra, V.M., "Fly Ash for Use in Concrete - A Critical Review", ACI Journal, Vol. 77, No. 2, March/April, 1980, pp Naik, T.R., and Ramme, B.W., "High-Strength Concrete Containing Large Quantities of Fly Ash", ACI Materials Journal, Vol. 86, No. 2, March-April 1989, pp Berry, E.E., Hemmings, R.T., Langley, W.S., and G.G. Carette, "Beneficiated Fly Ash: Hydration, Microstructures, and Strength Development in Portland Cement Systems", in "Fly Ash, Silica Fume, Slag, and Natural Pozzolans in Concrete", V.M. Malhotra, Ed., proceedings of the Third International Conference, Trandheim, Norway, June 1989, pp

15 4.Minnick, L.J., Webster, W.C., and Purdy, E.J., "Predictions of the Effects of Fly Ash in Portland Cement Mortar and Concrete", ASTM J. of Materials, Vol. 6, No.1, 1971, pp Helmuth, R.A., "Water-Reducing Properties of Fly Ash in Cement Pastes, Mortars, and Concretes: Causes and Test Methods", in "Fly Ash, Silica Fume, Slag and Natural Pozzolans in Concrete", V.M. Malhotra, Ed., proceeding of the Second International Conference, Madrid, Spain, Sp-91, Vol. I, April 1986, pp Berry, E.E., "Strength Development of Some Blended-Cement Mortars", International Journal of Cement and Concrete Research, Vol. 10, No. 1, 1990, pp Naik, T.R. and Ramme, B.W., "Effects of High-Lime fly Ash Content on Water Demand, Workability, Time of Set and Compressive Strength of Concrete", Presented at the Third International Conference on the Use of Fly Ash, Silica Fume, Slag and Natural Pozzolan's, Trondheim, Norway, Lin, C.Y., and Hwang, C.L., "The Effect of Fly Ash on Properties of Cement Mortar" in "Fly Ash, Silica Fume, Slag and Natural Pozzolans in Concrete", V.M. Malhotra, Ed., proceedings of the Second International Conference, Madrid, Spain, April 1986, pp

16 9.Douglas, E., Elola, A., and Malhotra, V.M., "Characterization of Ground Granulated Blast-Furnace Slag and Ashes and Their Hydration in Portland Cement Blends", Cement, ASTM Journal of Concrete and Aggregates, Summer, 1990, pp Douglas, E., Huyssteen, E.V., and Malhotra, V.M., "Sulphate Resistance of Mortars Made with High Volumes of Class F Fly Ash or Granulated Blast-Furnace Slag - Progress Report", to be Published in the proceedings of the Second International Conference on Durability of Concrete, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Aug

17 Table 1 - Description of Mix Proportions Mix A - no fly ash Mix B - 20% Type C fly ash Mix C - 20% Type F fly ash Mix D - 40% Type F fly ash 17

18 Table 2 -Compressive Strength of Concrete as a Function of Water to Cementitious Ratio for Mix A (no fly ash) Water/ Cementitious Ratio C O M P R E S S I V E S T R E N G T H, p s i + 7 days 28 days Mean S.D. C.V.* Mean S.D. C.V.* ** ** ** psi = MPa *C.V.= S.D. Mean x100 * C V. = Coefficient of Variation S.D. = Standard Deviation 18

19 ** Cubes could not be made to an appropriate dimension. 19

20 Table 3 -Compressive Strength of Concrete as a Function of Water to Cementitious Ratio for Mix B (20% Class C Fly Ash) Water/ Cementitious Ratio C O M P R E S S I V E S T R E N G T H, p s i + 7 days 28 days Mean S.D.* C.V.* Mean S.D.* C.V.* ,000 psi = MPa 20

21 Table 4 -Compressive Strength of Concrete as a Function of Water to Cementitious Ratio for Mix C (20% Class F Fly Ash) Water/ Cementitious Ratio C O M P R E S S I V E S T R E N G T H, p s i + 7 days 28 days Mean S.D.* C.V.* Mean S.D.* C.V.* ,000 psi = MPa 21

22 Table 5 -Compressive Strength of Concrete as a Function of Water to Cementitious Ratio for Mix D (40% Class F Fly Ash) Water/ Cementitious Ratio C O M P R E S S I V E S T R E N G T H, p s i + 7 days 28 days Mean S.D.* C.V.* Mean S.D.* C.V.* ,000 psi = MPa 22

23 Table 6 - Conversion Factor (CF) for Converting the Water to Cementitious Materials Ratio by Weight to Water to Cementitious Materials Ratio by Volume. Conversion Factor (CF)* Mix No. W/C by Volume W/C + F by Volume A B C D *The specific gravity of cement, Class C fly ash, and Class F fly ash was taken as 3.15, 2.52, and 2.32, respectively. REP

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