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Syed Ali Rizwan 1 and Thomas A Bier 1

(1) Institute for Ceramics, Glass and Building Materials Technology, Agricolastr. 17, T U Freiberg, 09599, Germany.


This study is an ongoing investigation by the authors on high performance (HP) self compacting cementitious systems (SCCS) and addresses early volume changes of cementitious systems using inert and pozzolanic powders. The systems investigated contained lime stone powder (LSP-relatively inert) and pozzolanic materials like fly-ash (FA), rice-husk ashes (RHA‟s both amorphous and crystalline) and as produced powder type silica fume (SF). Two sand types were used. One had 0-2 mm size fraction (S1) while the other had 80% 0-2 mm and 20% 2-4 mm size fractions (S2). Such systems were generally studied for linear early shrinkage in two exposure conditions in the laboratory wherein constant temperature and humidity conditions were maintained. The results on HP SCMs (self-compacting mortars) indicate that incorporating powdered superplasticizer (SP) reduced the shrinkage. Covering a formulation also did the same. At higher water-cement ratios shrinkage got reduced due to dilution effect. Regarding HP SCM systems using LSP, the early uncovered shrinkage remains almost the same for all the cements used in both exposure conditions. FA systems showed expansion in covered condition with all cements. The shrinkage of such systems got reduced when 20% RHA was incorporated into FA. However, 20% addition of RHAP (crystalline) gave a higher expansion in covered conditions with all cements compared with 100% FA system The effect of sand type demonstrated that coarser sand

S2 showed slightly lesser shrinkage with a higher maximum pore size. The study showed that suitable ternary binders when used in an appropriate way could reduce early shrinkage of HP SCCS.

Keywords: High performance. Self-compacting, early shrinkage, secondary raw materials,MIP.

1. INTRODUCTION Structural and construction engineers are only interested in the total magnitude of early shrinkage and certainly not in the contributions of various parallel operating mechanisms towards the total shrinkage of a cementitious system. This is perhaps the reason why most codes prescribe the total permissible shrinkage values only. HP SCCS are being increasingly used in

the construction industry. These systems use very high amounts of fillers usually selected from lime stone powder (LSP), fly-ash (FA), silica fume(SF) and rice-husk ash (RHA) or their combinations to replace part of the cement and to improve such properties like reduction in water demand/early shrinkage, high flow, easy placements, high strength and durability. Usually such systems use low w/c ratio and high flow levels obtained by using superplasticizer (SP). Volume change of the cementitious systems in early ages has been undertaken by several investigators using linear or volume measurements with each technique having its own plus and minus points [1-4] and no standard method for the determination of drying shrinkage measurement of concrete exists [5]. Moreover no or very little work has been done regarding the total early shrinkage determination of SCCS especially those containing pozzolanic powders. In general shrinkage has been attributed to the paste component or to cement content necessitating the systematic early volume change measurements starting with cement pastes and then moving on to mortars or concretes. Combination of pozzolanic additions with fly-ash (FA) in concrete are generally not recommended in Germany although their use in Scandinavian countries has been successful [6].These aspects were therefore the basis of this investigation. The data on flow, strength, microstructure, and on the other details of the systems reported herein can be seen elsewhere [7-9].


2.1 Materials For HP self-compacting paste (SCP) systems, secondary raw materials (SRMs) included SF, RHA and RHAP. XRD analysis showed that RHA was amorphous (imported from USA) while RHAP was crystalline (imported from Pakistan). SF was local German as produced powder type. In paste systems all these pozzolanic powders were 10% of cement mass. Table 1 gives the properties of powders used. LSP had 92.3% CaCO 3 content by mass. Table 1: Physical and chemical composition of cements and mineral admixtures.

















SiO 2









Na 2 O


  • 1.25 0.86









  • 1.38 7.50



  • 0.4 2.51




Al 2 O 3


  • 4.78 8.86



  • 0.2 <0.01



K 2 O


  • 1.01 0.70



  • 1.2 2.63













Fe 2 O 3



  • 2.27 0.88

    • 0.89 0.05





SO 3



  • 3.48 0.28

    • 3.76 -






  • 2.34 7.09

  • 0.19 4-6

  • 38.32 -




Particle size,

  • 18.91 11.82


  • 7.176 12.2






BET Surface Area, m 2 /g



  • 0.812 1.648

  • 4.987 20.5





Density ,g/cc




  • 2.748 2.35





The cements used in paste systems were CEM I 42.5R and CEM III/B 32.5 N-NW/HS/NA from Schwenk Germany. The powder superplasticizer (SP) was Melflux 1641F and 2651 F from Degussa Germany. For HP SCM systems relatively inert LSP and pozzolanic SRMs like class F FA conforming to EN 197-1 and ASTM C 618-85 and its 20% mass blends with amorphous and crystalline RHA and with as produced SF have been used. Mix proportions were 1:1:2 (cement powder: sand) by mass with w/c=0.40 and w/p=0.2 The cements used in SCMs included CEM I 42.5R, CEM II /A-LL 32.5R and CEM III/B 32.5 N-NW/HS/NA made by Lafarge Germany. The superplasticizer was Melfux 2500L 30%. Naturally occurring locally available sands of 0-2 mm size (S1, FM=2.8) and 80% 0-2 mm and 20%2-4 mm (S2, FM=3.2) were used in this powder type HP SCM systems. The target flow level was 31± 2 cm.

  • 2.2 Particle shape

It plays a very important role in the response of HP SCP/SCM systems. LSP required the highest amount of SP to meet target flow and to verify this particle shape through SEM were obtained and powder porosimetry using MIP was also performed. Fig 1 shows the SEM details of the powder particles.

Fig 1(a) LSP Fig 1(d) RHAP Fig 1(b) Fly ash Fig 1(c) RHA Fig 1(e) SF
Fig 1(a) LSP Fig 1(d) RHAP Fig 1(b) Fly ash Fig 1(c) RHA Fig 1(e) SF
Fig 1(a) LSP Fig 1(d) RHAP

Fig 1(a) LSP

Fig 1(d) RHAP

Fig 1(b) Fly ash Fig 1(c) RHA Fig 1(e) SF used. visible internal porosity. internal pores

Fig 1(b) Fly ash

Fig 1(c) RHA

Fig 1(e) SF

used. visible internal porosity. internal pores while RHA has minute with and irregular is LSP Fig
visible internal porosity.
internal pores while RHA has
Fig 1.0 shows SEM pictures of
Fig 1(a) LSP Fig 1(d) RHAP Fig 1(b) Fly ash Fig 1(c) RHA Fig 1(e) SF
Fig 1(a) LSP Fig 1(d) RHAP Fig 1(b) Fly ash Fig 1(c) RHA Fig 1(e) SF

The shape of LSP is irregular with rough morphology whereas SF and FA had spherical particle shapes. RHA (amorphous) had internal porosity while RHAP had little internal porosity and was crystalline. It is mentioned that irregular particles and those with high internal porosity require higher SP content for meeting the target flow in SCCS.

  • 2.3 Powder porosimetery

In addition to cement grains, powder particles also adsorb SP and internal pores of bottle neck type usually result in higher SP demand [10].MIP was done on pure powders to know their pore porosities. The results are shown in fig 2.

Fig 2(a) Partial MIP diagram of powders. Fig 2(b) Cumulative MIP diagram of powders.
Fig 2(a) Partial MIP diagram of powders.
Fig 2(b) Cumulative MIP diagram of powders.

LSP required highest amount of SP while FA required the lowest amount of SP with all cements for given flow target as shown in Table 2. The maximum pore sizes of the powders obtained from fig 2(a) were 54.46, 666, 518, 761 and 1641 nm for SF, RHAP, RHA, LSP and FA respectively.

Table 2: SP-cement ratio for the three cements with powders for the target flow.


SP/cement ratio (%) for the target flow with cements


























For pastes the dry mixed ingredients were put in mixer bowl containing mixing water. They were mixed at slow speed (145 rpm) for 30 seconds after which the mixer interior was cleaned. It was given another 150 seconds high speed mixing (285 rpm). Special mixing technique was developed for SCMs and consisted of mixing the ingredients dry in 10L Erisch tilted mixer for 30 seconds at slow speed(900 rpm) followed by addition of 80% of mixing water and 30 seconds slow mixing followed by fast mixing(1800) of one minute. Thereafter mixer interior was cleaned

and remaining 20% mixing water containing liquid type SP was added. The total mixing time was 5 minutes.




Water demands (WD) and setting times were determined as per EN 196-1 December 1994. SF and RHA had almost similar WD while WD of RHAP was lower than RHA due to lesser surface area. Addition of 10% crystalline RHAP in cements reduced setting times while amorphous RHA increased setting times.



A modified version of German classical “Schwindrinne” meaning “shrinkagechannel apparatus measuring 4x 6x 25 cm interfaced with computer was used at 201 C and RH of 315% with specimens in uncovered and then in fully covered conditions obtained by using plastic sheet and adhesive tape.The duration of measurement time was initial 24 hours



The effect of plasticizer addition and of covering, the neat cement pastes, on the shrinkage response is shown in figs 3 and 4. For these pastes, powder type PCE SP by Deggusa Germany was used. to obtain the target flow of 200 %( 30 cm spread as measured on Haggermann‟s mini- slump cone). The cement content for HP SCP systems at 20 and 40% water content was 1484 and 1070 Kg/m 3 respectively for CEM I while for RHA and SF pastes at these water contents it was 1366,1009, 1372 and 1011 Kg/m 3 respectively. In uncovered conditions plastic and drying shrinkage mechanisms seem to be operative while in covered conditions plastic and chemical shrinkage seem to be operative If mixing water is less than the water demand of the cementitious system, self-desiccation can be expected [11] in pastes with powders and 20% mixing water.

Fig. 3. Effect of plasticizer and plastic cover Fig. 4. Effect of plasticizer and plastic cover.
Fig. 3. Effect of plasticizer and plastic cover
Fig. 4. Effect of plasticizer and plastic cover.

In fig 3 shrinkage response of CEM I paste containing 40% water w.r.t cement mass is shown. The following aspects can be noted by comparing the relevant curves.

  • 1. Effect of plasticizer on uncovered sample shrinkage.

  • 2. Effect of plasticizer on covered sample shrinkage.

  • 3. Effect of cover on unplasticized paste shrinkage.

  • 4. Effect of cover on plasticized paste shrinkage.

It can be seen that addition of plasticizer to unplasticized paste reduces early shrinkage in uncovered condition possibly due to decrease in surface tension by SP which allows easy escape of 1-3% of entrapped air [12] and in covered condition HP SCP system without SP shows greater expansion than that with SP Covering the plasticized paste produces a slight expansion at the end of 24 hours measurement. A little shrinkage recovery is clearly seen in all curves after bout 8 hours possibly due to three parallel operating mechanisms consisting of 100% relative humidity [13], decreased rate of heat escape and to creation of expansive species especially large Ca(OH) 2

crystals. The reduction in shrinkage due to SP has also been pointed out by other researchers [13].Reduced surface tension due to SP seems to reduce the shrinkage and increase the expansion in uncovered and covered conditions respectively. Same comments are offered for CEM III formulations shown in fig. 4 with the difference that it shows more shrinkage in uncovered condition and more expansion in covered conditions possibly due to its finer particle size[14].Literature suggests surface area of cement[15], total alkalis, C 3 A and SO 3 contents of cement as major sources of shrinkage[5].


Firstly HP SCP systems with pozzolanic admixtures were investigated for early linear shrinkage and their responses are shown in figs 5 and 6. At 20% mixing water and to get 30 cm spread, high SP contents were needed especially for SF and RHA systems.

Fig. 5 Effect of powder type and cover Fig. 6 Effect of powder type and cover
Fig. 5 Effect of powder type and cover
Fig. 6 Effect of powder type and cover

Figs 5 and 6 show the response of similar HP SCP systems at 20% and 40% (w.r.t cement mass) mixing water contents. At 20 % mixing water content (fig.5), SF and especially RHA systems show a rather delayed setting in uncovered conditions due to very high SP content, availability of insufficient water which had been continuously lost due to evaporation and consumption during hydration. In covered condition they show a comparatively faster setting with obviously lesser shrinkage. Crystalline RHAP seems to be better than amorphous RHA, in terms of giving lesser shrinkage despite faster setting. At 40% mixing water (fig. 6), the trends were almost similar except that the shrinkage values were reduced because of the lesser cement and SP contents with rather earlier setting due lower SP content and adequate water availability even in uncovered condition. RHA systems show delayed setting possibly due to high unburnt carbon content. It is estimated that eliminating the evaporation reduces shrinkage by about 100% and even more. at 20% and 40% mixing water (w.r.t cement mass) respectively.


Thereafter HP SCM systems were studied. The flow level was maintained at 31± 2 cm The formulations with LSP, FA, and its 20% by mass blends with RHA, RHAP and SF with CEM I and sand S1 had cement content of 541, 522,521,523 and 522 kg/m 3 respectively.Incorporating FA in cementitious systems delays setting times due to higher carbon content [16] and it acts like

a calcium sink and removes the calcium ions from pore solution. This depresses calcium ions concentration during the first hours and delays the CH and CSH nucleation and the crystallization causing retardation in hydration [17]. In general SP requirements for SCM formulations decreased from CEM I to CEM III as their clinker content, particle size and densities also decreased in this order. The shrinkage response of mentioned powders with three cements in HP SCM systems is shown in figs 7-10. In fig 7 LSP in HP SCM systems shows highest and almost similar shrinkage with all cements in two evaporation conditions.

Fig 7: Early shrinkage response of LSP with three cements and two exposures Fig 8: Early
Fig 7: Early shrinkage response of LSP with
three cements and two exposures
Fig 8: Early shrinkage response of FA with
three cements and two exposures
Fig 9: Response of FA+RHA with three
cements and two exposures.
Fig 10: Response of FA+RHAP with three
cements and two exposures.

The higher shrinkage is attributed to the faster setting, high SP contents entrapping and releasing more air during self-compaction process and higher pore sizes. Fig 8 shows that FA powder in SCM system gave the lowest shrinkage with all cements in uncovered conditions possibly due to delayed setting resulting from high unburnt carbon content.In covered conditions all gave expansion due to.higher effective water content in the presence of FA encouraging the creation of expansive species including calcium hydroxide. In fig 9, the addition of 20% RHA in FA increases the shrinkage in uncovered conditions (compared with FA system) while the expansion in covered condition is reduced. This may be due to reduction in CH crystal content and their size as the SiO 2 in RHA reacts with it.Water entrapment in RHA particles can also be a reason. Fig 10 is another interesting response having 20% RHAP in FA. This system gave almost similar shrinkage and expansions in covered and uncovered conditions respectively with all cements. Crystalline RHAP further increases the effective water (due to its relatively lower WD

and lower pozzolanic activity) and hence seemed to favor the growth of hydration products more than other powders in covered conditions. In fig 11 the response. of 20% SF blend of FA in HP SCM system. is shown This combination gave total shrinkage more than FA+RHA combination with the latter appearing to be the most efficient powder combination .CEM I and CEM II gave almost identical shrinkages in covered condition while CEM III with FA+SF registered almost nil shrinkage/expansion in the covered condition possibly due to lower clinker content.

Fig 11: Early shrinkage response of FA+SF with three cements and two exposures Fig. 12 Effect
Fig 11: Early shrinkage response of FA+SF
with three cements and two exposures
Fig. 12 Effect of sand type on age-pore
size relation.

MIP was done with the help of Autoscan 33 Porosimeter. The contact angle was taken as 140 . Specimens were oven dried at 110 C for 24 hours. Fig 12 shows MIP results of HP SCM systems.A side investigation showed that with coarser sand S2 the trends of shrinkage/expansion response were the same as those with sand S1 except that shrinkage was slightly reduced in uncovered condition and expansion, was slightly increased. in covered condition The strength was also slightly increased.Higher pore sizes with S2 resulted possibly due to higher effective water content. At the age of 3 and 7 days, SF and RHA brought almost similar microstructural improvements. A slight reduction in shrinkage values with S2 could be due to higher strength and hence higher modulus of the resulting system.


Based on this study the following conclusions can be drawn.

  • 1. Addition of certain types of third generation PCE based SP reduces the shrinkage of

cement paste systems and delays the setting times.

  • 2. Covering unplasticized HP SCP reduces more shrinkage than covering a plasticized one

and sometimes a small expansion is registered during early 24 hours linear measurement.

  • 3. Crystalline RHAP in the paste systems seems to be more effective than amorphous RHA

for shrinkage reduction in uncovered condition.

  • 4. If evaporation after placement could be prevented, FA+RHA in 80:20 ratio seems to be

useful combination.

  • 5. In HP SCM systems, crystalline RHAP as a partial FA substitution results in expansion in

covered condition.


Despite massive literature reported use in self-compacting systems, LSP gives the

maximum early linear shrinkage, the lowest strength and the highest maximum pore size in

comparison to other powders used in both the exposure conditions.

  • 7. In general early linear shrinkage response trends of SF and RHA in HP SCP/SCM

systems are comparable.

  • 8. Increasing the coarse particles fraction in sand results in slight reduction of the shrinkage

of HP SCM systems.


The authors are thankful to Mr. Karl Kiser, Plant Manager, Agrilectric International Technologies, Lake Charles, LA USA for providing the amorphous RHA used in this investigation. Thanks are due to Dr. Muhammad Sharif Nizami, Ceramics and Glass division, PCSIR laboratories Lahore, Pakistan for providing crystalline RHA used. We are grateful to Mr. Javed Bashir Malik, Associate/Structural group leader, Carter &Burgess, Houston Texas, USA for bearing the expenses of the ash transportation.



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