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15th International Brick and Block

Masonry Conference
Florianpolis Brazil 2012

USE OF POZZOLAN IN REINFORCEMENT MORTAR FOR NONSTRUCTURAL MASONRY


Mota, Joo Manoel de Freitas1; Oliveira, Romilde Almeida2
1

MSc, Doctorate Student, Federal University of Pernambuco, Civil Engineering Department,


joo@vieiramota.com.br
2
D.Sc., Permanent Professor, Federal University of Pernambuco, Graduate Program Civil Engineering,
Professor, Catholic University of Pernambuco, Civil Engineering Department,
romildealmeida@gmail.com

In the metropolitan area of Recife (Brazil), the existence of several buildings known as
caixo with up to four floors and built with non-structural block is perceived. These nonstructural masonries have been used for structural purposes and were designed without
technological basis and relevant technical standards. The materials used, basically the blocks,
do not have satisfactory performance. Several surveys were carried out in order to better
understand the behavior of these buildings and establish a way of strengthening aiming at an
adequate performance in service, and ensuring conditions for durability. It was verified that
the mortar coating contributes to the hardness of the walls. This suggests the use of mortar
with addition of pozzolan with steel as reinforcement, due to substantial increases in the
mechanical properties and related durability. This study evaluates the influence of the
metakaoline pozzolan in mortars through experimental studies. The mechanical properties and
other related durability at 28 days and 90 days were evaluated. The results indicate that the
addition of metakaoline mortars improves the properties studied.
Keywords: non-structural masonry, reinforced mortar, pozzolan.

INTRODUCTION
In the Metropolitan Region of Recife-Brazil, masonry buildings were widely used since
colonial times, due to the abundance of materials combined with the Portuguese culture
regarding the use of ceramic masonry.
From the 1970s, there was a great raise in the construction of affordable housing on a large
scale. Buildings of up to four stories started to be built using blocks characterized as nonstructural blocks that nevertheless were used for a structural purpose. These constructions
were executed in an empirical way without following specific technical standards and without
any technical scientific basis to allow the establishment of acceptable structural reliability
standards, which in turn resulted in the emergence of a number of pathologies and accidents.
So far, 12 buildings have collapsed, resulting in 11 fatalities and many injured. In addition, a
large number of buildings have been interdicted, for they do not provide safe conditions to
their users.

It is known that these buildings were built without any technical basis and that materials and
processes that did not meet structural requirements were used (MOTA, 2006).
It is estimated that around 6.000 caixo buildings, are in use in the Recife Metropolitan
Region, housing approximately 250.000 people (OLIVEIRA, 2004). These high numbers of

buildings using non-structural masonry made of ceramic blocks with no structural function
were conceived due to their low cost when compared to concrete buildings (OLIVEIRA;
SOBRINHO, 2006).
In addition, several pathologies were identified in these buildings so that about 160 buildings
have been interdicted. Surveys of the buildings showed that the most loaded walls do not meet
the safety requirements established by the relevant technical standards, mainly because the
blocks do not meet strength requirements and resistance concerning to environmental agents.
Nevertheless, buildings with over 30 years of existence are still in use (MOTA; OLIVEIRA,
2007).
Generally, the most important cause of collapse of the so called caixo buildings was the
brittle rupture of the foundation walls above the concrete slabs due to the deterioration of the
foundation materials (OLIVEIRA, 2004). Figure 1 shows the generic scheme that well
characterizes these buildings.
In this context, reinforcement models for these buildings were developed by several
researchers. Initially in Recife, Mota (2006) presented studies of prisms of ceramic blocks
with the objective of analyzing the influence of coating mortar on stiffness. The author
concluded that the best result (sample P6) increases axial compressive strength up to 322% in
relation to the reference sample (P1), see Fig. 1.
The identification of the samples are given as follows: P1 (reference single prisms); P2
(prisms with rough cast on both sides, ratio 1:3 cement and coarse sand); P3 (prisms with
rough cast and plaster on both sides, the thickness of the coating of 2.0 cm and the use of a
weak proportion 1:2:9, cement, lime and coarse sand); P4 (prisms with rough cast and coating
on both sides, the thickness of the coating of 2.0 cm and the use of a medium proportion
1:1:6, cement, lime and coarse sand); P5 (prisms with rough cast and coating on both sides,
the thickness of the coating of 3.0 cm and the use of a weak proportion) and P6 (prisms with
roughcast and coating on both sides, the thickness of the coating of 3.0 cm and the use of a
medium ratio).
INCREASES IN
AVERAGE VALUE 350
(%)

322,94

300

267,77

250

218,94

200

176,2
131,12

150

79,08

100
50

137,76

72,45
26,42

PRISMS
SAMPLES

13,78

0
P2

P2

P3

P3

P4

P4

P5

P5

P6

P6

Figure 1 Increase in resistance due to the influence of the coating


Oliveira et. al (2008) tested masonry prisms of ceramic blocks and non-structural concrete
blocks used for structural purpose. Prisms with and without coating, and prisms with steel
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mesh embedded in the interior of the rendering mortar with and without connectors that
interconnect the coating layers on both sides of the prisms were used.
The authors obtained results on ceramic blocks prisms where the coating contributed to
increase the load-bearing capacity of up to 335%. Several types of rupture were identified. It
was found that the rupture of the blocks occur due to the side traction in the horizontal
partitions of the blocks, leading to unbalance in the state of confinements of the laying mortar.
No significant load increases were observed when prisms with steel mesh without connectors
were tested. In concrete blocks masonry prisms, an increase of up to 72% was observed due to
the coating layer. However, the increase occurred at levels of up to 159% when steel mesh
was used; the steel mesh equalizes the load distribution inside the coating with a subsequent
influence on the rupture; when a double layer of reinforced mortar was used, the increase in
load bearing achieved almost 300%; the connectors increased axial load bearing capacity
65%, prisms with 3.0 cm of reinforced coating with connectors increased the load bearing
capacity 180%.
Pires Sobrinho et al (2009) tested 145 masonry small walls with the following characteristics:
dimensions 0.09 m 0.60 m 1.20 m, hollow ceramic blocks with eight holes (dimensions:
91919 cm each), a mixture of cement, lime and sand mortar with a volumetric mixture ratio
of 1:1:6. In this study, it was concluded that the mortar coating increases the stiffness of the
walls proportionally to the thickness and to the elasticity modulus of the mortar; the coating
does not change the rupture pattern of the masonry, which occurs in a brittle mode. However,
it was found that the coating does have an effective participation in the compressive behavior
of the walls; the steel mesh reinforcement, with the locking of the reinforcement inside the
coating, increases the load bearing capacity of the walls, and, basically, produces significant
change in the rupture pattern, leading to a plastic behavior, below the rupture level, allowing
for a redistribution of strains and deformations between the elements of a structure.
Therefore, nowadays a reinforcement model suitable for the use of reinforced mortar with the
addition of pozzolan is being researched in order to increase mechanical properties, as well as
those related to durability, thus this can be one of the reinforcement models recommended for
constructions with these characteristics i.e., buildings with resistant masonry (walls with nonstructural ceramic blocks).
In this case, the refinement of the pores in materials with a cementitious matrix, provides a
greater barrier to the reinforcement inside the mortar, preventing: sulfate attack, salt spray
(chloride ions), carbon dioxide, and humidity among other aggressive agents increasing as
well the mechanical resistance (MOTA; OLIVEIRA; DOURADO, 2011). Neville (1997)
states that the pozzolans added to the mortars and concretes, promote a higher density of the
mix generating a natural porosity reduction from the interface to the surface (due to the wall
effect).
Galvo (2004) observed that mortars with addition of metakaolin considerably increased
mechanical properties when compared to mixed mortars with no metakaolin. It is known that,
in a number of cases, mortars with metakaolin exceeded in terms of bonding properties.
It was concluded that in research with pozzolan, the addition of this material to mortars tends
to increase mechanical performance up to 2.75 times, especially in bonding strength of
inorganic mortars (TAHA, 2001).

Figure 2 shows the metakaolin positioned between the cement particles, filling the gaps
(physical effect filler) and reacting with the calcium hydroxide turning into C-S-H
(chemical effect). This physical phenomenon explains the decrease of gaps, for it takes place
before the pozzolanic reactions start, when the finer inert metakaolin particles fill the existing
spaces that would otherwise be occupied by air.

Figure 2 Metakaolin Electronic Microscopy magnified 3000 X


(Source: www.metacaulim.com.br)
Figure 3 shows pozzolan particles in the cement interstitial spaces.

Figure 3 Metakaolin pozzolan particles in the cement interstices


(Source: www.metacaulim.com.br)
Figures 4A and 4B show the electronic microscopy of the region located between the
reference paste with pure cement (left) and the paste with an 8% metakaolin content (right)
replacing cement, both at 28 days. The darker regions represent porosities or interstices.

A
B
Figure 4 Metakaolin pozzolan particles in the cement interstices
(Source: www.metacaulim.com.br)
This study aims to evaluate the increase in mechanical properties of reinforced mortar with
addition of metakaolin.
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METHODOLOGY AND MATERIALS


The study was conducted on four samples of mortar mix consisting of cement, hydrated lime
and sand, with percentages of 0 %, 10 %, 15 % and 20 % addition of metakaolin in relation to
the cement volume. Cylindrical specimens were prepared for each case in order to investigate
mechanical properties (axial compressive strength, traction by diametral compression and
tensile bond strength).
All studies were performed at the Civil Engineering Laboratory (LEC), of Vale do Ipojuca
College FAVIP (Caruaru, Pernambuco), which is part of the developed research.
During the preparation of the samples, mortar workability was kept constant, measured from
the flow table at a value of 200 mm + 20 mm. The quantities of materials used are listed
below:
sample 1 (reference - 0% metakaolin) 1:1:6:1.5 (cement:lime:sand:water/cement ratio);
sample 2 (10% metakaolin replacing cement) 1:1:6:1.5;
sample 3 (15% metakaolin replacing cement) 1:1:6:1.5;
sample 4 (20% metakaolin replacing cement) 1:1:6:1.5.
To evaluate the influence of metakaolin on the mechanical performance of the mortars, tests
were performed at 28 and 90 days, using the same amount of samples in both cases. 15
replicas per sample for each age 28 days and 90 days, were used. For all tested specimens,
cylinder surfaces were capped with sulfur on both sides.
The tensile bond strength test was accomplished by cutting the mortar into a 10 cm 10 cm
square shape. After bonding the metal plates with epoxy, rupture of the sample was carried
out after 24 hours. Both sides of the wall were used for the test, one with conventional
roughcast in a 1:3 ratio (cement and sand) and the other side with roughcast with replacement
of 5% metakaolin.
Statistical analysis was performed by calculating the standard deviation of all results,
eliminating values more than three times the standard deviation away from the mean, for each
side. Afterwards, a new mean value, standard deviation and variation coefficient were
calculated, according to the table.
MATERIALS
Binders - CP II-F-32 cement and CH-II hydrated lime were used, both are widely used in
the region;
Additions The metakaolin used is industrialized in the Recife Metropolitan Region,
originating from high reactivity kaulinitic clay, with the following basic characteristics
(informed by manufacturer): White color; specific mass density 2.49 g/cm3 and apparent mass
density 0.43 g/cm3;
Fine aggregates Natural quartz sand widely found in the region of the city of Caruaru
(PE), was used. This material is characterized by specific and apparent mass density, and
determination of the granulometric curve and coefficient of uniformity according to the AllenHazem method. This method relates C = d60/d10, meaning the equivalence of percent passing
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of material.
Table 1 shows the features of the natural sand.
Table 1 Features of the sand used in the research
Maximum characteristic dimension
Fineness module
Apparent density (g/cm)
Specific mass (g/cm)
Uniformity coefficient

2.36
2.15
1.63
2.56
1.20

Blocks: The masonry base executed with non-structural ceramic blocks was built next to the
laboratory and had the following features: average length, height and width measurements
(19.0 cm; 9.5cm and 19.1cm); mass 2.510 g; IRA (Initial Rate Absorption) 12.2 g/200
cm2/min and total absorption 12.3 %;
Water: The water used came from the water supply system of the Pernambuco Sanitation
Company (COMPESA). It was verified that the pH of the water used, was close to 6.5.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSIONS
The results of mechanical tests regarding compressive strength are presented on Table 2.

Age
in
days

Avg

28
90

5.01
6.25

Table 2 Results of compressive strength tests


AXIAL COMPRESSIVE STRENGTH (MPa)
Samples
1
2
3
COV
COV
COV
SD
Avg SD
Avg SD
Avg
%
%
%
0.37 7.39 5.28 0.20 3.79 5.86 0.41 6.99 6.33
0.39 6.24 6.50 0.18 2.77 6.94 0.42 6.05 8.46

4
COV
%
0.48 7.58
0.27 3.19
SD

Figure 5 shows the rupture mode of the specimens.

Figure 5 Specimen during the compressive strength test


An increase in compressive strength in the samples with addition of metakaolin was observed
when compared to the reference sample and in relation to time, as well.
In regards to traction by diametral compression, Table 3 presents the results of the tests
performed.
Table 3 Results of traction by diametral compression

Age
in
days
28
90

TRACTION BY DIAMETRAL COMPRESSION (MPa)


Samples
1
2
3
COV
COV
COV
Avg SD
Avg SD
Avg SD
Avg
%
%
%
0.54 0.03 5.56 0.93 0.17 18.28 0.99 0.08 8.08 1.00
0.78 0.04 5.12 1.07 0.03 2.56 1.15 0.13 11.3 1.38

4
COV
%
0.02 2.00
0.07 5.07
SD

Figure 6 shows a specimen during traction by diametral compression test.

Figure 6 Traction test by diametral compression test


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Satisfactory results were also observed for the tensile strength test, considering the increase
for the samples with metakaolin in relation to the reference sample. There was also an
increase in the results when compared the 28-days age with 90-days age. Table 4 presents the
results for the tensile bond strength test.
Table 4- Results of tensile bond strength test
Samples
1

Age in days

COV
%

Avg

0.28 0.067 23.93

0.29

Avg
ROUGH CAST
WITHOUT
ADDITION
PREDOMINANT
RUPTURE
ROUGH CAST
WITH
ADDITION

SD

ROUGH
CAST/BLOCK
0.37

0.05

13.51

0.41

COV
%

Avg

SD

COV
%

Avg

0.074 25.51

0.36

0.06

16.67

0.38

SD

ROUGH CAST
/BLOCK

BLOCK

RUPTURE

0.07

14.89

ROUGH CAST
AND BLOCK

ROUGH CAST
/BLOCK
0.41

0.012

2.93

ROUGH CAST
AND MORTAR

SD

COV
%

0.035 9.21

ROUGH CAST
0.43

0.026 6.05

ROUGH CAST
/BLOCK

It was observed that there was an increase in tensile bond strength as pozzolan was added. It
was also found that bonding increased at 90-day age when compared to 28-day age.
Figures 6a and 6b show the test in loco.

B
Figure 7 Tensile bond strength test

CONCLUSIONS
- It was observed that axial compressive strength of the mortars increased as of addition of
pozzolan increased, and in relation to time, as well. The largest increase was in sample 4 at 90
days in relation to the reference sample at 28 days (69.9%), thus evidencing the effect of
pozzolanic reactions;
- The tensile bond strength by axial compression, with the addition of metakaolin increased in
relation to time. The greatest increase occurred in sample 4 at 90 days in relation to sample 1
at 28 days (155%);
- Concerning to tensile bond strength, it increased when the extraction in the reference sample
was compared to samples with addition, as well as to the side where the rough cast had
pozzolan addition. The most significant increase achieved 53.5%;
- This study indicated that the addition of pozzolan in mortars contributes to the improvement
of mechanical properties, an important fact for the entire universe of mortars, and,
significantly, for the reinforcement of mortars.

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cement modified by polymers and containing mineral additions (in portuguese). Master
Thesis (UFG), 2004.
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Ceramic Blocks Masonry Prisms (in portuguese) Master Thesis. UFPE Federal University
of Pernambuco. Recife, 2006. PE.
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prisms (in portuguese). II Brazilian Congress of Bridges and Structures, Rio de Janeiro, 2007.
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OLIVEIRA, R. A.; SILVA, F. A. N. ; SANTOS, L. V. ; AZEVDO, A. C. Compressive


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