Influence of the Sulfate Level in the Clinker Phase on the Performance of Superplasticized Concretes


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Title: Influence of the Sulfate Level in the Clinker Phase on the Performance of Superplasticized Concretes

Author(s): L. Coppola, R. Troli, P. Zaffaroni and M. Collepardi

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 179


Appears on pages(s): 271-282

Keywords: clinker; compressive strength; gypsum; slump; superplasticizers

Date: 6/1/1998

Portland cement contains sulfur compounds from the clinker phase and from added calcium sulfate (e.g. gypsum) which acts as a set regulator. The purpose of this investigation was to study the influence of the sulfate content in the clinker phase on the performance of superplasticized concrete mixtures in terms of initial slump level at a given water-cement ratio (0.49, slump-loss rate, and compressive strength at early and later ages. Two batches (A and B) of clinker from the same kiln source were studied, the main difference being the content of sulfate (SOs) in the clinker (0.72% and 1.40% respectively). Different percentages of natural gypsum, as set regulator, were interground in a laboratory mill to manufacture portland cements: A1 , A2 , A3 from clinker A, and B1 , B2 , B3 from clinker B. Three levels of total sulfate content in terms of SOs were set: 3.0% in portland cements A1 and B1 , 3.5% in portland cements A2 and B2 ; 4.0% in portland cements A3 and B3. At a given sulfate content in portland cement, the lower the clinker sulfate content, the more effective is the slump increase of the concrete caused by the superplasticizer addition. Moreover, the lower is the clinker sulfate content, the lower is the slump-loss rate of the superplasticized concrete mixture. Finally, at a given water-cement ratio, there is a reduction in the compressive strength at early ages (< 3 days) when the low sulfate clinker is used to manufacture portland cements. These results are related to the effect of the clinker sulfate content on the degree of cement hydration: the lower the clinker sulfate content, the lower the early cement hydration in terms of gypsum consumption, ettringite formation, and tricalcium silicate (alite) hydration.