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Herausgeber: Markus Greim, Wolfgang Kusterle und Oliver Teubert

Rheologische Messungen an Baustoffen


Tagungsband zum 25. Workshop und Kolloquium,

2. und 3. März an der OTH Regensburg
ISBN: siehe Umschlag

1. Auflage 2016

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Verlag: tredition GmbH; Grindelallee 188; 20144 Hamburg;

Printed in Germany

Publishers: Markus Greim, Wolfgang Kusterle and Oliver Teubert

Rheological Measurement of Building Materi-

als 2016

Proceedings of the 25th Conferences and Laboratory

Workshops, 2nd and 3rd March at OTH Regensburg
ISBN: printed on the cover

1. Edition 2016

Copyright: by the particular authors, else by Schleibinger Geräte

Teubert u. Greim GmbH,

All rights reserved.

The content and works published in this book are governed by the
copyright laws of Germany. Any duplication, processing, distribu­
tion or any form of utilisation beyond the scope of copyright law
shall require the prior written consent of the author or authors in

Layout: Benedikt Hoffmann

Typesetting: Benedikt Hoffmann, Tan Trung Le, Heide Seemann,

Lisa Mundt, Benjamin Härtwig, Nancy Tripke, Sarah Pfennig, Nath­
alie Welle, Christian Greim

Published: by tredition GmbH; Grindelallee 188; 20144 Hamburg;

Printed in Germany

Wolfgang Kusterle

Application of Rheology to Characterize the Stability of

Mortar Compositions under Vibration 8
Yared Assefa Abebe (M.Sc.) and Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ludger Lohaus

Experimental investigation of the effect of silica fume on

geopolymer mortar cured under ambient temperature 20
Mohammed Al-Majidi, Andreas Lampropoulos, Andrew Cundy

Experimental investigation of the effect of superplasticiz-

er/surfactant aided aqueous dispersion of multi-walled
Carbon nanotubes on workability and mechanical proper-
ties of cementitious composites 37
S. Alrekabi, A.B. Cundy, A. Lampropoulos, I. N. Savina

Influence of Flow Ability on Early Vertical & Horizontal

Length Changes in Cementitious Materials 54
Adrian Bajrami, Thomas A. Bier

Development of a lab-intensive mixer with integrated ab-

solute value rheometer and tribometer: KNIELE KKM-RT 15/22.5 72
Christian Baumert, Harald Garrecht IWB Stuttgart, Harald Kniele, Alexander

Structure-effect relationship between modern superplasti-

cizers and the rheological properties of fresh cement pastes 80
Dipl.-Ing. Raphael Breiner, Dr.-Ing. Michael Haist, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Harald S.

Rheological behavior of mortars: comparison between

rotational and squeeze-flow techniques 100
Fábio A. Cardoso, Vanderley M. John, Rafael G. Pileggi, Phillip F.G. Banfill

Zusammenhang von plastischer Viskosität, Strukturab-

baurate und Mischungsstabilität von Bindemittelsuspensionen 120
Dario Cotardo, Ludger Lohaus

A new empirical test method for evaluating sag/slip con-
trol and workability in mortars containing mineral rheo-
logical additives 139
Alberto Fernández-Ibarburu, Pedro Díaz del Castillo, David González

Admixtures and rheological properties of Self-Compacting Concrete 151

Jacek Gołaszewski

Rheology of Constructing Materials:

25 Years Ago - The Next 25 Years  169
Markus Greim

Messungen an Polymerbetonmischungen zur Prozessoptimierung 183

Klaus Hock, Eva-Maria Szargan-Hock

Bewertungsverfahren für die rheologischen Eigen-

schaften von Mörtel – Assessment procedures for the
rheological properties of mortars 192
M.Sc. Hakan Kilinc, Univ.-Prof. Dr.-Ing. Rolf Breitenbücher

Rheology Testing of Deep FoundationConcrete 211

Thomas Kränkel, Dirk Lowke, Christoph Gehlen

The Water Demand of Cement – Is There Any True Appli-

cation-Relevant Parameter Existing? 224
Peter Kruspan
Julian Link

Entwicklung eines faserbewehrten, selbstverdichtenden

Schwerbetons unter Berücksichtigung der Werksbedingungen 227
M. Sc. Klemens Laub, Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Markus Tenwinkel, Dr.-Ing. Barbara
Leydolph, Dr.-Ing. Ulrich Palzer

Studying printability of fresh concrete for formwork free

Concrete on-site 3D Printing technology (CONPrint3D) 236
V.N. Nerella, M. Krause, M. Näther, Viktor Mechtcherine,
Ivan Parić, Florian Fleischmann, Markus Greim, Wolfgang Kusterle

The Determination of Rheological Properties of “High
Slump Concrete” and SCC - the Advantages of a Modified
Online Ball Measuring System 247
Ivan Parić, Florian Fleischmann, Markus Greim, Wolfgang Kusterle1

X-ray computed tomography of porosity in fibre rein-

forced self-compacting concrete 265
Tomasz Ponikiewski,

Test Evaluations of a Fully Automatic Mortar Mixer with

Torque Measurement for Determining Water Demand 281
Garrecht, H.; Schließer, A.; Baumert, C.; Özogul, M.,

Influence of effects on nano and micro scale on the rheo-

logical performance of cement paste, mortar and concrete  294
Wolfram Schmidt, Berta Mota Gassó, Heinz Sturm, Jutta Pauli

Optimierung der Verarbeitbarkeit von Sichtbetonsorten 308

Rolf-D. Schulz,

Study of mix design parameters for self-compacting con-

crete based on the rheological characterization of cement
based mortars 329
José Roberto Tenório Filho, Everton Luiz da Silva Mendes, Profa. Dra. Karo-
line Alves de Melo Moraes

Bibliography of All Papers: Rheology of

Building Materials 1992 - 2016 339
Markus Greim (ed.)

In 1981 Prof. Juergen Teubert published his fundamental model for
reaching sufficient workability of fresh concrete in Betonwerk+Fer­
tigteiltechnik. Some years later he initiated a small conference on the
rheology of building materials. With about 20 participating experts
this event took place in 1992 at the University of Applied Sciences
Regensburg. This was the starting point for a series of annual con­
ferences and laboratory workshops in Regensburg. This year we are
proud to celebrate the 25th anniversary.

This anniversary has been possible only due to the dedication of

Prof. Teubert, the close cooperation with Markus Greim and Oliver
Teubert, Schleibinger Testing Systems and the staff of the OTH Re­
gensburg. Beside the professors, especially Johann Stolz has been
responsible for all the little organisational details during these con­
ferences. Personally, I took part in the conference in 1996 and have
been chairing it since 2002. In 2011 we had to organize two sessions
in order to accommodate 180 delegates. The following year the ven­
ue therefore moved from the campus at Pruefeninger Strasse to
Galgenbergstrasse in Regensburg where it has been ever since. The
language also changed from German to English (or bilingual). This
event is organized as a low cost conference without any attendance
fee. This is only possible by numerous hours of work put in by the
organizing committee, Schleibinger Testing Systems and by the hos­
pitality of the OTH.

Rheology has not been a core science within civil engineering, rather
within food and cosmetic industry. Civil engineers used for many
years quite rudimental one point methods for assessing the work­
ability of mortars and concrete. These methods provide sufficient
reliable results as long as comparing similar well known materials
during conformity testing. However, when using new constituent
materials, new mix design and new building materials, the one point
methods reach its limitation. PCE’s and self-compacting concrete
are examples for that. Therefore, rheometers like the historic VIS­
COCORDER or the Viscomat NT are used for the testing of cement
paste. But the application of the same principles on concrete is more
difficult due to the large aggregates. Finding a compromise between
“pure“ rheological theory and practical application was the topic of
these conferences. Beside the classic application of the rheology on
cement bound materials, other building applications have been pre­
sented as well. However, Ditmar Hornung summed it up correctly in
2012: Cement – nothing works without rheology.

Over the years we had the privilege to listen to presentations from

the world leading experts on applied rheology here in Regensburg.
The conference has also been the initiation for many new and fruit­
ful contacts, especially in late night sessions at Gravenreuther or
Dicker Mann.

The papers of this 25th conference are published in print in this pro­
ceedings. They cover the influence of new and known additives on
mortars and concrete as well as newly developed or improved test­
ing methods. For papers from previous conferences see http://www.

I would like to thank the Founding Fathers of this conference, all lec­
turers and visitors as well as all members of the organizing commit­
tee for their support. Without them this successful conference would
not have been possible.

“πάντα ῥεῖ - Panta rhei” – this Greek expression can be applied to our
conferences as well. They will never be the same, yet the important
topic of rheology will always be discussed and our visitors are very
faithful to attend. No doubt we will have interesting conferences in
the future. Therefore, I am looking forward to our further meetings
in Regensburg.

Wolfgang Kusterle

Experimental investigation of the effect of sil-
ica fume on geopolymer mortar cured under
ambient temperature
Mohammed Al-Majidi, Andreas Lampropoulos, Andrew Cundy
School of Environment and Technology, University of Brighton, Moulsecoomb,
Brighton BN2 4GJ, UK
Phone: +44 (0) 746-2671928, e-mail:

Geopolymer mortar is an environment friendly alternative to con­
ventional cementitious concrete made from by-product aluminosil­
icate materials with alkaline activator. Silica fume is a by-product of
the smelting process in the silicon and ferrosilicon industry which
can considerably improve the strength development of high per­
formance concrete [1]. Most of the previous work on geopolymer
mortar has focused on the properties of single or binary materials
hardened under heat curing conditions, which is considered as a lim­
itation for the production and utilisation of geopolymer concrete at
a large scale. In addition, there are no published studies on the effect
of silica fume on the generation of geopolymer mortar cured under
ambient temperature.

This paper investigates the effect of partial replacement of fly ash

with densified, undensified and slurry silica fume (SF) on the setting
time, workability and compressive strength of geopolymer mortar
cured under ambient temperature. The geopolymer mortar was pro­
duced by mixing fly ash and slag (with potassium silicate as alkaline
activator) with silica fume in varying proportions. Experimental re­
sults indicate that the inclusion of silica fume impacts setting time,
workability and strength performance, Key-parameters were found
to be the average silica fume particle size and the degree of agglom­
eration of silica fume particles.

1 Introduction
Concrete is the most widely used construction material in the world,
with a current consumption of 1m3 per person per year [2]. Ordinary
Portland Cement (OPC) has traditionally been used as the primary
binder material to produce the concrete. The huge demand for OPC
has resulted in high CO2 emissions, and depletion of natural resourc­
es. Currently, sustainable development is becoming a worldwide goal
for human activities, and many researchers are working on the de­
velopment of alternative cementitious materials in order to reduce
drastically the carbon dioxide emissions due to cement production.

A new type of material with cementitious characteristics termed geo­

polymer concrete has been developed in the recent years [3]. Geo­
polymer concrete is generally produced by mixing industrial alumi­
nosilicate waste materials (such as fly ash) with alkaline activator. Full
replacement of OPC by waste materials can lead to an 80% reduction
of carbon dioxide emissions related to cement production [4-6].

Fly ash is an industrial waste material with pozzolanic properties ob­

tained from thermal power plants. Low-calcium fly ash (Class F) has
been found to be a suitable material for geopolymer production and
can be used as a Portland cement replacement because of its wide
availability, useful silica (SiO2) and alumina-based composition, and
reduced water demand [7, 8]. Most previous studies on fly ash based
geopolymer cured at ambient temperature highlight its low strength
development properties due to a slow polymerisation process [9].
The key factors affecting the potential reactivity of fly ash include the
vitreous phase content, reactive silica content, and the particle size
distribution [10-12]. Therefore, some researchers have attempted to
enhance the reactivity of fly ash based geopolymer by increasing the
fineness of fly ash particle size, and by adding quantities of calcium
containing materials to react with fly ash particles.

Inclusion of ground granulated blast slag (GGBS) as source of calci­

um together with fly ash has been investigated, with some favorable
results [8]. Ultra-fine particles of amorphous silica, or Silica Fume
(SF), is available commercially in various forms depending on mate­
rial handling techniques (i.e. densified, undensified and water-based
slurries). Ivorra et al., [13] studied the effect of silica fume particle size
distribution on Portland cement mortar. Based on the experimental
results of this study [14], the strength of conventional concrete is in­
creased by using SF with fine particles. This can be attributed to the
enhanced filler effect of SF and to higher pozzolanic reactivity due to
the increased specific surface area. However, there are very limited
data on the use of such binary blended geopolymer concretes and
almost no studies to date on ternary blends of geopolymer concrete.

The present study examines the influence of different particle size

distribution of commercial silica fume on the development of fly ash
and slag based geopolymer mortar cured under ambient tempera­
ture. Ternary geopolymer binder composition, including fly ash, slag
and silica fume, with potassium silicate as an alkaline activator have
been examined. Extensive experimental studies have been conduct­
ed to examine the influence of slag content and particle size distri­
bution of SF on the mechanical properties of geopolymer concrete.
Fresh and hardened properties of geopolymer mortar were evaluat­
ed by setting time, workability, and compressive strength tests.

2 Experimental Program.

2.1 Materials.

Fly ash conforming to BS EN 450-1 [14] fineness category S was used

in this study. This was partially replaced by Ground Granulated Blast
Slag (GGBS) and Silica Fume (SF). SF with particle size less than 0.5
mm was used as fine aggregate in this study. The chemical properties
of fly ash, slag and silica sand are shown in table 1. Various types of
SF were utilized in the tests with different particle sizes distribution;
densified (DSF), undensified (USF) and slurry (SSF) (figure.1 and table

Potassium hydroxide pearl (85% purity) and commercial potassi­

um silicate solution (modulus ratio SiO2 to K2O equal to 2.23, water
content= 45-65 wt. %, specific gravity 1.6 g/mL) were used as alkaline

activator. The alkali activator solution was prepared by dilution of
potassium hydroxide pellets with distilled water in a fume cupboard.
The solution was left for 24 hours to cool down to room temperature
before mixing with potassium silicate solution (mass of KOH solu­
tion to Potassium silicate solution equal to 2.5), to form a solution
modulus equal to 1.25.

Figure 1: Material used; slag, fly ash and Silica fume

Chemical compositions (%) Fly ash Slag Silica Sand
Silicon Dioxide, SiO2 59 35 99.73
Aluminium Oxide, Al2O3 23 12 0.1
Calcium Oxide, CaO 2.38 40 --
Ferric Oxide, Fe2O3 8.8 0.2 0.051
Sulphur Trioxide, SO3 0.27 -- --
Sodium Oxide, Na2O 0.74 -- <0.05
Potassium Oxide, K2O) 2.81 -- 0.01
Magnesium Oxide, MgO 1.39 10 --
Loss on ignition, LOI 6.7 -- 0.09

Table 1: Chemical compositions of FA, GGBS and

Silica Sand.

Bulk density (kg/m3)
Undensified silica (USF) 130-430
Slurry silica (SSF) 1320-1440
Densified silica (DSF) 480-720
Surface area (BET) (m2/kg) 13,000–30,000
Specific gravity 2.22
Table 2: Bulk density of silica fume types (as received
from the manufacturer)

2.2 Mix proportions

A total of eight mixtures were examined with various slag to binder

weight ratios (20% and 30%) and different types of silica fume (densi­
fied, undensified and slurry). The optimum replacement of fly ash by
silica fume in term of workability was 10% for dry silica fume (den­
sified silica, undensified silica), and 5% for slurry silica. Based on the
results of an initial experimental investigation, the optimum mix de­
sign (in terms of mechanical strength and workability) is presented
slurry silica. Based on the results of an initial experimental investigation, the
in table 3. The
optimum molar(in
mix design ratio ofofpotassium
terms mechanical silicate solution
strength and (K2SiO
workability) -used
is pre-
as asented
chemical activator) remained at the same level for all mixtures
in table 3. The molar ratio of potassium silicate solution (K 2SiO3-used as
at 1.25.
a chemical activator) remained at the same level for all mixtures at 1.25.

Mix Fly Ash/ Slag / Silica fume/ K2SiO3/ Water/

No. Mix ID Binder Binder Binder Binder Binder Superplasticizer
1 20S 80% 20% 0%SF 12% 25% 1%
2 20S10DSF 70% 20% 10%DSF 12% 25% 1%
3 20S10USF 70% 20% 10%USF 12% 25% 1%
4 20S5SSF 75% 20% 5%SSF 12% 25% 1%
5 30S 70% 30% 0%SF 12% 25% 1%
6 20S10DSF 60% 30% 10%DSF 12% 25% 1%
7 20S10USF 60% 30% 10%USF 12% 25% 1%
8 20S5SSF 65% 30% 5%SSF 12% 25% 1%

Table 3: Mixture compositions of geopolymer mortar used in the present study.

Table 3: Mixture compositions of geopolymer mor­
tar used in the present study.
2.3 Mix preparation and testing

All geopolymer mortars were mixed using a 5 liter Hobart mixer. The mixing
procedure proposed by GEOASH [15] was used in this study. The liquid phase
including the alkali activator potassium silicate solution was prepared in ad-
24 vance and then was mixed with water and superplasticizer 5 minutes prior to the
mixing with the solids. The binder powder materials (fly ash, slag and silica
fume) were dry mixed for 5 minutes at low speed (140±5r/m) to ensure ade-
2.3 Mix preparation and testing

All geopolymer mortars were mixed using a 5 liter Hobart mixer.

The mixing procedure proposed by GEOASH [15] was used in this
study. The liquid phase including the alkali activator potassium sili­
cate solution was prepared in advance and then was mixed with wa­
ter and superplasticizer 5 minutes prior to the mixing with the sol­
ids. The binder powder materials (fly ash, slag and silica fume) were
dry mixed for 5 minutes at low speed (140±5r/m) to ensure adequate
mixing. The liquid phase was then added to the solid phase and the
mixer run at medium speed for 5 minutes. Finally, sand was added
and the mixer run for a further 3 minutes to give a total mixing time
of 13 minutes. In the case of mixes with slurry silica fume, this was
added at the end of the mixing to avoid flash setting, as slurry silica
very fine and reactive material.

The physical characteristics of silica fume, fly ash and slag powder
were determined using particle size analysis (Malvern mastersizer
2000) and scanning electronic microscopy (SEM). For SEM analysis,
the examined materials were coated with carbon and imaged using a
Zeiss LEO 1455 VP SEM.

For each mortar mixture, two different tests were conducted for fresh
state mortar: setting time and workability (figure.2). Initial and final
setting times of the fresh geopolymer mortar were determined using
a vicat needle according to BS EN 480-2:2006 [16]. Flow tests were
conducted immediately after the end of the mixing in accordance
with ASTM C230 [17] and ASTM C1437-07 [18]. A conical brass mould
was placed at the center of the table and filled with geopolymer mor­
tar in two layers. Each layer was tamped 20 times with a tamping rod
to ensure uniform filling of the mould. When the mould is removed,
the mortar changes from a conical shape with a 100mm base to a
“pancake” shape. The mortar is vibrated as the flow table rises and
drops, through a height of 12.5 mm, 25 times in 15 seconds. The geo­
polymer flow is the resulting increase in average base diameter of the
mortar mass, measured on at least four diameters at approximately
equally spaced intervals (figure. 3) [19].

(a) (b)

Figure. 2: (a) Setting time apparatus, (b) Flowability


Compressive strength tests were carried out to evaluate the strength

characteristics of hardened geopolymer mortar. For each mixture,
twelve 50mm3 cubes were examined. The specimens were demold­
ed 24 hours after casting and were cured under ambient tempera­
ture (21-23°C) until testing. The molds were covered with plastic film
to avoid evaporation of water during the curing period. Compres­
sive tests were carried out 3, 7, 14 and 28 days after casting with a
loading rate of 45 KN per minute, as specified by ASTM C109 [20]

(a) (b) (c)

Figure 3: flow table test as per ASTM C230 (a) before

removal of flow mould, (b) immediately
after the removal of the flow mould, and (c)
after 25 drops.
3 Results and discussions

3.1 Particle size analysis

Figure. 4 shows a representative image of the primary particles and

agglomerates of slag, fly ash and different silica fume forms. Fly ash
and silica fume particles consist of spherical primary particles (fig­
ure.4a and 4c); agglomerates of silica fume particles are formed in
densified silica fume (figure.4d) while the angular particles of slag are
shown in figure.4b.

(a) (b)

(c) (d)

Figure 4: SEM images of (a) Fly ash, (b) slag, (c) USF,
and (d) DSF

The results of the laser diffraction particle size analysis for slag, fly
ash and different forms of silica fume are shown in Figure. 5 and ta­
ble 4. Table 4 shows the most common statistics used to analyses the
particle size: the mean of the particle size (d(0.5)), 10% (d(0.1)) and 90%
(d(0.9)) of the total volume of particle size smaller than particular
size diameter. It can be confirmed that the aqueous suspension (slur­
ry) with a dry silica fume content of 50% by mass gives the smallest
particle size followed by undensified silica fume (USF), and finally
densified silica fume (DSF). These results are due to particle agglom­
eration during the production and packaging procedure of the sil­
ica fume. During the formation of silica fume at high temperature
(>1000°C), primary particles condense and are bound immediately
to clusters of several spheres by sintered junctions through Si–O–Si
bonds. Agglomerates of clusters form either when the material cools
and is stored in the silo (i.e. undensified silica fume as used in this
study) or in the air densification process to produce densified silica
fume. It is likely that a finer particle size of silica fume can improve
the performance of mortar formulations.  It acts physically to opti­
mize particle packing of the concrete or mortar mixture and chem­
ically as a highly reactive pozzolanic with high specific surface area. 

DSF USF SSF Fly ash Slag

d(0.1) 36.4 4.3 0.1 1.8 1.2
d(0.5) 203.6 37.1 0.3 10.6 4.8
d(0.9) 428.8 126.7 1.5 44.4 22.3

Table 4: Particle size analysis by Mastersizer


12 8

Volume (%)
Volume (%)

6 4

4 3
0 0
0 1 2 3 0 200 400 600 800 1000
Particle size(µm ) Particle size (µm )
(a) (b)

slag fly ash

Volume (%)

0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100
Particle size (µm)


Figure 5: Particle size distribution of (a) SSF, (b) DSF

and USF, and (c) Slag and fly ash

3.2 Flow table test.
3.2 Flow table test.
The workability of the fresh geopolymer mortar determined by flow table test-
Theis presented in table
workability 5. fresh geopolymer mortar mixtures were de­
of the
termined by flow table testing is presented in table 5.

Mix ID Flow (mm)

20S 250
20S10DSF >250
20S10USF 230
20S5SSF 215
30S 210
30S10DSF 210
30S10USF 190
30S5SSF 165

Table Table
5: The workability
5: The workability properties of geopolymer
properties of geopolymer mortar
The experimental results indicate that the mixture with 20% slag to
binder ratio has the highest slump value. As the slag content is in­
creased from 20% to 30%, the slump of the geopolymer mortar is
reduced from 250mm to 210mm. This reduction in the workability
is attributed to the highly pozzolanic material and subsequently the
rapid reaction between the geopolymer binder and the alkaline acti­
vator (potassium silicate). The incorporation of densified silica fume
in the mixtures results in little change in workability. However, un­
densified and slurry silica fume incorporation reduces the workabil­
ity by 16%, 10%, 27%, and 10% compared with the control geopolymer
mixtures without silica fume (20S and 30S, respectively). Since very
fine silica fume particles have large effective surface area, they rap­
idly absorb water and thus reduce the workability of the geopolymer

3.3 Setting time test

Setting time tests were also conducted on the examined mixes and
the results are presented in figure. 6.

Figure 6: Effect of Silica fume forms and slag content
on the initial and final setting time of geo­
polymer mortar.

Based on the results of figure. 6, it is evident that both initial and final
setting time are considerably reduced as the slag content is increased
from 20% to 30%. Initial and final setting time of the mix with 30%
slag content was further reduced, by 36% and 28% respectively, com­
pared to the respective results of the mix with 20% slag content. This
can be attributed to the increase of CaO content, which is the main
chemical component of slag (Table 1), and the subsequent accelera­
tion of the hydration reaction.

The incorporation of silica fume in the mixture also affects both ini­
tial and final setting time. In both of the examined mixes with 20%
and 30% slag to binder ratios, initial and final setting times were re­
duced when undensified (USF) and slurry silica fume (SSF) were add­
ed to the mix. This reduction is related to the finer particle size and
higher surface area of the USF and SSF compared to the larger parti­
cle size of densified silica fume (DSF).

3.4 Compressive test

The compressive strengths of all geopolymer mortars at 3, 7 and 28

days are shown in figure. 7.

Figure 7: Effect of silica fume on the strength develop­
ment of geopolymer concrete

It can be clearly seen from the results of figure. 7 that the compressive
strength was gradually developed with the age of the specimens. The
strength at 3 days was found to be equal to 25%-30% of the 28 days
strength. In case of binary blended geopolymer mortar (fly ash and
slag), the experimental results indicate that the compressive strength
was increased for higher slag content. This is attributed to the inclu­
sion of high reactive slag particles and to the filling of the pores by
formation of more hydration products.

For ternary blended geopolymer mortar mixtures with undensified

(USF) and slurry silica fume (SSF), the compressive strength was
higher than the strength of geopolymer mortars with binary blended
binder. However, the results show that the compressive strength was
decreased by inclusion of densified silica fume (DSF).

The particle size distribution of silica fume obviously affects the

compressive strength of geopolymer mortar. Undensified silica fume
with particle size (37µm) shows higher compressive strength than
geopolymer mortars with silica fume particles sizes of SSF (200nm)
and DSF (230µm). This development in strength with finer particle
size is due to infilling of pores by small particles, acceleration of the
geopolymerization process and improvement in interfacial bonding
between the binder particles. However, the very fine particles of sil­
ica fume (SSF) can agglomerate and show poor dispersion behavior
during the mixing, leading to a reduction in strength.

4 Conclusion
An extensive experimental study was conducted to evaluate the ef­
fect of silica fume forms alongside various slag contents on the fresh
and hardened properties of geopolymer mortar cured under ambi­
ent temperature. Workability, setting time and compressive strength
were conducted and, from the results of this study, the following
conclusions can be drawn;

1- As the slag to binder weight ratio of the examined mixes was in­
creased, flow and setting time were reduced.

2- The inclusion of silica fume in the geopolymer mortar has various

effects on the flow of fly ash and slag based geopolymer mortar. In
case of undensified and slurry silica in the mix, the workability was
considerably reduced. This is attributed to the instantaneous inter­
actions between the very fine silica particles and the alkaline activa­
tor, and the formation of a gel characterised by high water retention
capacities. The addition of densified silica fume did not significantly
affect workability.

3- Compressive strength of geopolymer mortar was increased as the

slag content was increased and with the age of the specimens.

4- The addition of fine silica fume had a more pronounced effect on

the compressive strength of the geopolymer mortar, particularly in
the case of undensified silica fume. The specimens with 10% undensi­
fied silica fume had higher compressive strength than the respective
control slag/fly ash mortar by 5 MPa and 4MPa for 20S and 30S, re­
spectively. The strength gain of specimens with ultra-fine silica fume
(slurry silica fume) was lower than the respective values for speci­
mens with undensified silica fume due to the agglomeration of slurry
silica fume particles and their poor dispersion during the mixing.

5- The specimens with 10% densified silica fume showed a reduction
of the compressive strength compared to the respective values of the
control mixtures.

The lead author gratefully acknowledges financial support from the
Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Uni­
versity of Basrah. The authors would also like to thank Hanson Hei­
delberg Cement Group, PQ Corporation and Sika Limited for pro­
viding raw materials.

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