Influence of supplementary cementitious materials on microstructure and transport properties of spacer-concrete interface

F. Muslim, H. S. Wong, T. H. Choo, N. R. Buenfeld

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Reinforcement spacers are a critical component of concrete structures. Their presence affects microstructure and transport properties of concrete cover though this is not widely appreciated. This paper presents the first study to determine whether the negative effects of spacers can be mitigated through the use of supplementary cementitious materials such as silica fume, fly ash and blast-furnace slag. Concrete samples (>200) with different spacers, binders, curing and drying regimes were prepared and tested for diffusion, permeation, absorption, electrical conductivity, carbonation and microstructure. It was found that spacers increase all transport properties, the extent depending on type of spacer, drying regime and transport mechanism. The spacer-concrete interface is weak, porous and micro-cracked, and this lowers the resistance of concrete to ingress of aggressive agents. The beneficial effects of SCMs (strength enhancement and densification) and prolonged curing (120-day) are insufficient to overcome the negative effects of spacers. Implications for durability are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106561
JournalCement and Concrete Research
Volume149
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2021

Keywords

  • Blended cement (D)
  • Durability (C)
  • Interfacial transition zone (B)
  • Microstructure (B)
  • Spacers
  • Transport properties (C)

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