Paste Microhardness-Promising Technique for Estimating Water-Cement Ratio


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Title: Paste Microhardness-Promising Technique for Estimating Water-Cement Ratio

Author(s): B. Erlin and R. A. Campbell

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 191


Appears on pages(s): 43-56

Keywords: admixtures; blast-furnace slag; microhardness; water-cement ratio

Date: 12/1/1999

The Knoop microhardness method (ASTM 384) and the Rockwell microhardness method (ASTM E 18)-each show promise for estimating water-cement ratios of hardened paste. Tests of hardened pastes at water-cement ratios from 0.30 to 0.55 were completed. A good relationship of Knoop or Rockwell microhardness to water-cement ratio exists. The Rockwell microhardness method was done using automated image analysis equipment and was much faster. Further evaluations need to be done as follows: (1) the effect of indentation size, which can be controlled by varying the load weight; (2) rate of loading effect; (3) effects of inert and chemically active admixtures (e.g. limestone, ground granulated blast-furnace slag, pozzolans); (4) the effect of the degree of cement hydration; (5) effects of carbonation; (6) magnitude of spurious data resulting because of subsurface materials (e.g. residual cement, aggregate fines); and (7) effects of different surface preparation techniques. The microhardness method has promise as a means for estimating water-cement ratio of hardened concrete paste. It is hoped that the work completed to date will be continued by others.