Evaluation of Metakaolins for Use as Supplementary Cementitious Materials
Justice, Joy Melissa
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Two metakaolins were evaluated for use as supplementary cementitious materials in cement-based systems. The metakaolins varied in their surface area (11.1 v. 25.4 m2/g), but were quite similar in mineralogical composition. Performance of metakaolin mixtures was compared to control mixtures and to mixtures incorporating silica fume as partial replacement for cement at water-to-cementitious materials ratios of 0.40, 0.50, and 0.60. In this study, the early age properties of fresh concrete and the mechanical and durability properties of hardened concrete were examined. Early age evaluations aimed to determine the reactivity of metakaolin (heat of hydration) and its effect on mixture workability (slump, setting time, unit weight). In addition, three types of shrinkage were monitored in metakaolin-cement systems: chemical, autogenous, and free. Compressive, tensile, and flexural strength and elastic modulus were measured at various concrete ages. The influence of metakaolin addition on durability was assessed through accelerated testing for sulfate resistance, expansion due to alkali-silica reaction, and through rapid chloride permeability measurements. To further quantify the underlying mechanisms of metakaolin's action, the microstructure of pastes was examined. Calcium hydroxide (CH) content was determined using thermogravimetric analysis and verified using differential thermal analysis. Surface area and pore size distribution were evaluated via nitrogen adsorption. These analyses yielded information about the pozzolanic reactivity of metakaolin, associated CH consumption and pore structure refinement, and resulting improvements in mechanical performance and durability of metakaolin-concretes.