Effect of Carbonation on the Durability and Mechanical Performance of Ettringite-Based Binders


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Title: Effect of Carbonation on the Durability and Mechanical Performance of Ettringite-Based Binders

Author(s): Edward (Ted) G. Moffatt and Michael D. A. Thomas

Publication: Materials Journal

Volume: 116

Issue: 1

Appears on pages(s): 95-102

Keywords: calcium aluminate cement; calcium sulfoaluminate cement; carbonation; durability; ettringite-based binders; microstructure

Date: 1/1/2019

Ettringite-based binders are used in niche applications that require a high compressive strength in a very short period of time to minimize construction times and disruption to the traveling public or user. High early strength is achieved due to the formation of ettringite within the first few hours of hydration, which results in a non-expansive system capable of reaching strengths of approximately 20 MPa (2900 psi) in the first 3 hours of hydration. Ettringite-based binders also carbonate at a faster rate than ordinary portland cement (PC)-based systems as a result of the limited amount or absence of portlandite (CH). Carbonation results in the conversion of ettringite into products that occupy less space, resulting in a loss of strength and increased porosity. The formation of ettringite is achieved through the use of systems composed of calcium aluminate cement (CAC, main phase CA) and calcium sulfate (CS), or calcium sulfoaluminate cement (CSA, main phase C4A3S) interground with calcium sulfate. In many cases, ettringite-based binders are used to accelerate ordinary PC-based systems to achieve a relatively high compressive strength and a suitable working time while still maintaining the hydration characteristics of PC. This study compared the performance of carbonated and noncarbonated concrete in terms of the resistance of the near-surface concrete to deicer-salt scaling and chloride ion penetration. Chloride binding tests were also conducted on the carbonated and noncarbonated cement paste samples and mechanical properties conducted on mortar specimens. The results show that CSA-based binders carbonate at a much faster rate than both CAC and PC based systems as a result of the increased ettringite content within the system. A decrease in the mechanical properties of carbonated ettringite-based binders is also observed as a result of the conversion of ettringite.