C-A-S-H gels formed in alkali-activated slag cement pastes. Structure and effect on cement properties and durability
1 Eduardo Torroja Institute for Construction Sciences (IETcc-CSIC), Madrid, Spain
2 Nanostructured and Eco-efficient Materials for Construction Unit, Associated Unit Labein-Tecnalia/CSIC.IETcc, Spain
3 Institute for Building Materials-ETH Zurich, Switzerland
4 Labein-Tecnalia, Derio, Bilbao, Spain
5 Basque Country University UPV/EHU, Bilbao, Spain
6 Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Móstoles, Madrid, Spain
The development of alternatives to traditional Portland cement produced with more eco-efficient processes (lower energy consumption and CO2 gas emissions) is an item on climate change and innovation agendas. Alkaline cements and concretes are an effective alternative to traditional cements.
The structure of the C-S-H gel in Portland cements consists mostly of 14-nm tobermorite (with a chain length of five) and jennite (2-link chain). The mechanical properties of C-S-H gels can be explained in terms of the three types of packing found in these gels: low density (LD), high density (HD) and ultra-high density (UHD).
The main reaction product in alkali-activated slag (AAS) cements is a C-A-S-H gel, which adopts different structures depending on the nature of the alkaline activator. When the activator is a NaOH solution (4 % Na2O by slag weight), the C-A-S-H gel formed has an intermediate structure between 14-nm tobermorite with a chain length of five links and 11-nm tobermorite with 14 links. When the activator is a waterglass solution (4 % Na2O by slag weight), traits characteristic of 14-nm tobermorite with 11-link chains and 11-nm tobermorite with a chain length of 14 co-exist in the structure of the C-A-S-H gel formed. This densely packed structure (with three HD states) yields excellent mechanical properties. Like the C-A-S-H gels obtained in NaOH (4% Na2O)-activated AAS paste, the C-A-S-H gels forming in AAS gels activated with waterglass have no UHD states.
The structure and composition of these C-A-S-H gels determine strength development in AAS mortars and concretes as well as their resistance to aggressive chemicals.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2014
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