Materiales de Construcción, Vol 60, No 297 (2010)

A combined study of expansive and tensile strength evolution of mortars under sulfate attack: implications on durability assessment

P. Akpinar
Near East University, Lefkosa-TRNC, Turkey

I. Casanova
Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain


In this paper, we present a combined study of the length-change and tensile strength evolution of highand low-C3A Portland cements. This approach has proven useful to provide an assessment on the performance under severe and moderate sulfate attack. While higher expansion rates are observed in high-C3A samples, tensile strength evolution of both cement types is essentially identical. The simultaneous increase of expansion rate and decrease in tensile strength is strongly suggestive that both processes are related. This is attributed to the formation and development of microcracks that favor the ingress of the sulfate solution in the specimens. These results provide further insights into the commonly accepted idea that standard (accelerated) tests aiming to evaluate the expansion behavior do not provide reliable information on the expected performance (sulfate resistance) and damage potential of Portland cements.


Sulfate attack; sulfate resistant cements; expansion; tensile properties; accelerated tests

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