Improvements in Aggregate-Paste Interface by the Hydration of Steelmaking Waste in Concretes and Mortars.


Department of Architecture and Building Technologies, Technical/Polytechnic University of Cartagena, Paseo Alfonso XIII, 30203 Cartagena, Spain. [Email]


The objective of the experimental work is to study the mechanical properties in self-compacting concretes (SCC) in which part of the limestone aggregate has been replaced by granulated blast furnace slag (GBFS) in different percentages ranging from 0% to 60%. The results show that at early ages the SCC with the largest content in slag tend to have lower compressive strengths due to the poor compacting of the aggregates, although in the long-term their strength increases due to the reactivity of the slag. In fact, at the age of 365 days, the mortars made with the substitution of 50% of cement by ground GBFS reach compressive strength similar to that of the mortar made with 100% of cement. The consumption of calcium hydroxide during the hydration of the GBFS and the formation of hydrated calcium silicate (CSH) improve the mechanical properties of the slag-paste interface. The new compounds formed by the hydration of anhydrous oxides of the GBFS improve the aggregate-paste transition zone. The chemical interaction between the dissolution of the cement pore and the GBFS ends up generating new compounds on its surface. The increasing hydration of the GBFS produces a greater amount of silica gel that polymerises, densifying the matrix and reducing the porosity, which improves the mechanical properties of the concrete and perhaps its durability. The topography of the particles and their interface are analysed with atomic force microscopy techniques to assess the morphology depending on the aggregate used. On the other hand, a study was carried out of the aggregate-paste interface with scanning electronic microscope at different ages. It can be seen that in the contours of the hydrated GBFS particles, a band or ring forms with the new reaction products. The results obtained strengthen the previous conclusions. The new hydrated compounds fill the reaction ring, introducing chemical bonds between the aggregate and the interface, occupying part of the original pores or substituting spaces occupied originally by large portlandite crystals, of lesser mechanical strength and easily leached. For all this, the benefit is twofold. On the one hand, use is made of industrial by-products and, on the other hand, part of the destruction of natural quarries to obtain the necessary raw materials is avoided.


granulated slag,mechanical properties,microstructure,self-compacting concrete,

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