Plastic, Mechanical, Corrosion and Chemical Resistance Properties of Silica Fume (microsilica) Concretes
N. S. Berke, M. P. Dallaire, and M. C. Hicks
Appears on pages(s):
chemical attack; compressive strength; concretes; corrosion; flexural strength; modulus of elasticity; silica fume; tensile strength; Materials Research
Three of the major uses of silica fume (microsilica) additions to concrete have been to improve mechanical properties, improve corrosion resistance by reducing permeability to aggressive anions such as chlorides, and improve concrete resistance to chemical degradation. In the last two uses, the mechanical properties are also enhanced beyond those of ordinary portland cement concretes of the same mix proportions without silica fume. Thus, the production of durable concrete often leads to an improvement in mechanical properties. Long-term resistance in accelerated laboratory corrosion testing in sodium chloride solutions is documented. It is shown that silica fume significantly lowers chloride ingress with increasing efficiency as the water-cementitious ratio decreases. A clear improvement in corrosion performance with the addition of calcium nitrite corrosion inhibitor became evident in this long-term program. It is also documented that high concrete resistivities do not necessarily prevent severe corrosion from occurring. Chemical resistance of silica fume (microsilica) concretes to numerous acids, bases, and salts is also examined. The results show significant improvements with the addition of silica fume in the time to 25 percent mass loss in cyclic and continuous ponding experiments for most chemicals. For some highly alkaline solutions, there is no improvement with microsilica. Improvements in compressive strength are documented for the mixtures used in the corrosion and chemical resistance studies. Additional mixtures were examined to determine flexural strength and modulus of elasticity. These mixtures were similar in composition to those typically used for corrosion protection. The results showed that silica fume significantly increased strengths and the modulus of elasticity. The improvement in flexural strength was greater than that expected from formulas typically used for moderate strength concretes and the increase in modulus of elasticity was less. It is hoped that the design engineer will be able to utilize the data to take full advantage of the property improvements and not merely durability or strength improvements with silica fume.