Journal of Materials Science

, Volume 49, Issue 21, pp 7604–7619 | Cite as

Sisal fiber-reinforced cement composite with Portland cement substitution by a combination of metakaolin and nanoclay

Original Paper


This paper reports the partial replacement of Portland cement (PC) by combination of metakaolin (MK) and nanoclay (NC) in sisal fiber-reinforced cement composites by studying the microstructure, mechanical behavior, and the interfacial properties between fiber and cement matrices. The mechanical properties of cement matrix and natural fiber-reinforced composites are studied using compressive strength development and flexural behavior, respectively. The tensile behavior of the natural fiber was also investigated and analyzed by Weibull distribution model. The characteristics of hydration products were analyzed by scanning electron microscope, X-ray diffraction, and thermogravimetry analysis. Our results show that the combination of MK and NC can improve the hydration of cement more effectively, with better microstructure and enhanced mechanical properties, than mixes without them. The calcium hydroxide (CH) contents of matrixes with 50 wt% combined substitutions, containing 1, 3, and 5 wt% of nanoclay, were 58.12, 60.16, and 64.25 % less than that of PC, respectively. The ettringite phase is also effectively removed due to the substitution of MK and NC, which improve both Al/Ca and Si/Ca ratios of calcium silicate hydrates (C–S–H) due to the high content of SiO2 and Al2O3. The interfacial bond between fiber and cement matrix and flexural properties of sisal fiber-reinforced cement composites are also significantly improved. The optimum interface adhesion between sisal fiber and matrix was achieved by replacing cement by 27 % MK and 3 % NC, which increased the bond strength and pull-out energy by 131.46 and 196.35 %, respectively.


Compressive Strength Portland Cement Natural Fiber Calcium Hydroxide Ettringite 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors would like to express their sincere thanks to Dr. Liming Li of Columbia University’s Carleton Laboratory for his assistance and cooperation throughout this study and Mr. Hugh Mckee from Bast Fibers LLC, Creskill, New Jersey, for supplying the sisal fiber.


  1. 1.
    Antoni M, Rossen J, Martirena F, Scrivener K (2012) Cement substitution by a combination of metakaolin and limestone. Cem Concr Res 42:1579–1589CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Li Z, Ding Z (2003) Property improvement of Portland cement by incorporating with metakaolin and slag. Cem Concr Res 33:579–584CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Caldaron MA, Gruber KA, Burg RG (1994) High-reactivity metakaolin: a new generation mineral. Concr Int 16(11):37–40Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ding Z, Shao H, Wu K, Zhang X (1997) Influence of metakaolin on properties of Portland cement. China Concr Cem Prod 25Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Coleman NJ, Page CL (1997) Aspects of the pore solution chemistry of hydrated cement pastes containing metakaolin. Cem Concr Res 27:147–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Sha W, Pereira GB (2001) Differential scanning calorimetry study of ordinary Portland cement paste containing metakaolin and theoretical approach of metakaolin activity. Cement Concr Compos 23:455–461CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Batis G, Pantazopoulou P, Tsivilis S, Badogiannis E (2005) The effect of metakaolin on the corrosion behavior of cement mortars. Cement Concr Compos 27:125–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ramezanianpour AA, Bahrami Jovein H (2012) Influence of metakaolin as supplementary cementing material on strength and durability of concretes. Constr Build Mater 30:470–479CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Wild S, Khatib JM, Jones A (1996) Relative strength, pozzolanic activity and cement hydration in superplasticised metakaolin concrete. Cem Concr Res 26:1537–1544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Courard L, Darimont A, Schouterden M, Ferauche F, Willem X, Degeimbre R (2003) Durability of mortars modified with metakaolin. Cem Concr Res 33:1473–1479CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Güneyisi E, Gesoğlu M, Algın Z, Mermerdaş K (2014) Optimization of concrete mixture with hybrid blends of metakaolin and fly ash using response surface method. Compos B Eng 60:707–715CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Gesoğlu M, Güneyisi E, Özturan T, Mermerdaş K (2014) Permeability properties of concretes with high reactivity metakaolin and calcined impure kaolin. Mater Struct 47:709–728CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Mermerdaş K, Gesoğlu M, Güneyisi E, Özturan T (2012) Strength development of concretes incorporated with metakaolin and different types of calcined kaolins. Constr Build Mater 37:766–774CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Fernandez R, Martirena F, Scrivener KL (2011) The origin of the pozzolanic activity of calcined clay minerals: a comparison between kaolinite, illite and montmorillonite. Cem Concr Res 41:113–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Rocha JKJ (1990) Festkörper-NMR-Untersuchungen zur Struktur und Reaktivität von Metakaolinit. Angew Chem 102:539–541CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Coleman NJ, McWhinnie W (2000) The solid state chemistry of metakaolin-blended ordinary Portland cement. J Mater Sci 35:2701–2710. doi: 10.1023/A:1004753926277 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    He C, Osbaeck B, Makovicky E (1995) Pozzolanic reactions of six principal clay minerals: activation, reactivity assessments and technological effects. Cem Concr Res 25:1691–1702CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Murat M, Comel C (1983) Hydration reaction and hardening of calcined clays and related minerals III. Influence of calcination process of kaolinite on mechanical strengths of hardened metakaolinite. Cem Concr Res 13:631–637CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Jahromi SG, Khodaii A (2009) Effects of nanoclay on rheological properties of bitumen binder. Constr Build Mater 23:2894–2904CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Arabani AKHM, Mohammadzade Sani A, Kamboozia N (2012) Use of nanoclay for improvement the microstructure and mechanical properties of soil stabilized by cement. In: Proceedings of the 4th international conference on nanostructures (ICNS4) 12–14 March, Kish Island, I.R. IranGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Manzano H, Enyashin AN, Dolado JS, Ayuela A, Frenzel J, Seifert G (2012) Do cement nanotubes exist? Adv Mater 24:3239–3245CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Amato I (2013) Green cement: concrete solutions. Natural 494:300–301CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Perumalsamy SPS, Balaguru N (1992) Fiber-reinforced cement composites. McGraw-Hill, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Elie Awwad DC, Helmi Khatib (2013) Concrete masonry blocks reinforced with local industrial hemp fibers and hurds. In: Third international conference on sustainable construction materials and technologies, Kyoto, JapanGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Savastano HJ, Turner A, Mercer C, Soboyejo WO (2006) Mechanical behavior of cement-based materials reinforced with sisal fibers. J Mater Sci 41:6938–6948. doi: 10.1007/s10853-006-0218-1 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Chen R, Ahmari S, Zhang L (2014) Utilization of sweet sorghum fiber to reinforce fly ash-based geopolymer. J Mater Sci 49:2548–2558. doi: 10.1007/s10853-013-7950-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Alomayri T, Shaikh FUA, Low IM (2013) Thermal and mechanical properties of cotton fabric-reinforced geopolymer composites. J Mater Sci 48:6746–6752. doi: 10.1007/s10853-013-7479-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Silva FA, Mobasher B, Soranakom C, Filho RDT (2011) Effect of fiber shape and morphology on interfacial bond and cracking behaviors of sisal fiber cement based composites. Cem Concr Compos 33(2011):814–823CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Blankenhorn PR, Blankenhorn BD, Silsbee MR, DiCola M (2001) Effects of fiber surface treatments on mechanical properties of wood fiber–cement composites. Cem Concr Res 31:1049–1055CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Benzerzour M, Sebaibi N, Abriak NE, Binetruy C (2012) Waste fibre–cement matrix bond characteristics improved by using silane-treated fibres. Constr Build Mater 37:1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Tonoli GHD, Belgacem MN, Bras J, Pereira-da-Silva MA, Rocco Lahr FA, Savastano H Jr (2012) Impact of bleaching pine fibre on the fibre/cement interface. J Mater Sci 47:4167–4177. doi: 10.1007/s10853-012-6271-z CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Wei J, Meyer C (2014) Improving degradation resistance of sisal fiber in concrete through fiber surface treatment. Appl Surf Sci 289:511–552Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Hakamy A, Shaikh FUA, Low IM (2014) Thermal and mechanical properties of hemp fabric-reinforced nanoclay–cement nanocomposites. J Mater Sci 49:1684–1694. doi: 10.1007/s10853-013-7853-0 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Zhandarov S, Mäder E (2005) Characterization of fiber/matrix interface strength: applicability of different tests, approaches and parameters. Compos Sci Technol 65:149–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Liu C-H, Nairn JA (1999) Analytical and experimental methods for a fracture mechanics interpretation of the microbond test including the effects of friction and thermal stresses. Int J Adhes Adhes 19:59–70CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Deschner F, Winnefeld F, Lothenbach B, Seufert S, Schwesig P, Dittrich S, Goetz-Neunhoeffer F, Neubauer J (2012) Hydration of Portland cement with high replacement by siliceous fly ash. Cem Concr Res 42:1389–1400CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    De Weerdt K, Haha MB, Le Saout G, Kjellsen KO, Justnes H, Lothenbach B (2011) Hydration mechanisms of ternary Portland cements containing limestone powder and fly ash. Cem Concr Res 41:279–291CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    De Rosa IM, Kenny JM, Puglia D, Santulli C, Sarasini F (2010) Morphological, thermal and mechanical characterization of okra (Abelmoschus esculentus) fibres as potential reinforcement in polymer composites. Compos Sci Technol 70:116–122CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Satyanarayana KG, Sukumaran K, Mukherjee PS, Pavithran C, Pillai SGK (1990) Natural fibre–polymer composites. Cement Concr Compos 12:117–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Chand N, Tiwary RK, Rohatgi PK (1988) Bibliography resource structure properties of natural cellulosic fibres: an annotated bibliography. J Mater Sci 23:381–387. doi: 10.1016/S0149-1970(97)00032-2 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. 41.
    Mukherjee PS, Satyanarayana KG (1984) Structure and properties of some vegetable fibres. J Mater Sci 19:3925–3934. doi: 10.1007/BF00980755 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. 42.
    Matschei T, Lothenbach B, Glasser FP (2007) The AFm phase in Portland cement. Cem Concr Res 37:118–130CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. 43.
    Black L, Breen C, Yarwood J, Deng CS, Phipps J, Maitland G (2006) Hydration of tricalcium aluminate (C3A) in the presence and absence of gypsum-studied by Raman spectroscopy and X-ray diffraction. J Mater Chem 16:1263–1272Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Hewlett P (2004) Lea’s chemistry of cement and concrete. Butterworth-Heinemann, San DiegoGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Campbell MD, Coutts RSP (1980) Wood fibre-reinforced cement composites. J Mater Sci 15:1962–1970. doi: 10.1007/BF00550621 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Coutts RSP, Kightly P (1982) Microstructure of autoclaved refined wood-fibre cement mortars. J Mater Sci 17:1801–1806. doi: 10.1007/BF00540809 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 47.
    Andonian R, Mai YW, Cotterell B (1979) Strength and fracture properties of cellulose fibre reinforced cement composites. Int J Cem Compos 1:151–158Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Ambroise J, Maximilien S, Pera J (1994) Properties of metakaolin blended cements. Adv Cem Based Mater 1:161–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. 49.
    Said-Mansour M, Kadri E-H, Kenai S, Ghrici M, Bennaceur R (2011) Influence of calcined kaolin on mortar properties. Constr Build Mater 25:2275–2282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Karihaloo BL, Wang J (2000) Micromechanics of fiber-reinforced cementitious composites. Adv Eng Mater 2:726–732CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Tolêdo Filho RD, Scrivener K, England GL, Ghavami K (2000) Durability of alkali-sensitive sisal and coconut fibres in cement mortar composites. Cem Concr Compos 22:127–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Toledo Filho RD, Silva FA, Fairbairn EMR, Filho JAM (2009) Durability of compression molded sisal fiber reinforced mortar laminates. Constr Build Mater 23:2409–2420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Mohr BJ, Biernacki JJ, Kurtis KE (2007) Supplementary cementitious materials for mitigating degradation of kraft pulp fiber-cement composites. Cem Concr Res 37:1531–1543CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Gram HE, Nimityongskul P (1987) Durability of natural fibres in cement-based roofing sheets. In: Proceedings of the symposium on building materials for low-income housing: Asia and Pacific Region, New Delhi: Oxford & IBH Publications, Bangkok, Thailand, pp. 328–334Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Tolêdo Filho RD, Ghavami K, England GL, Scrivener K (2003) Development of vegetable fibre–mortar composites of improved durability. Cement Concr Compos 25:185–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. 56.
    Gram HE (1983) Durability of natural fibers in concrete, in. Swedish Cement and Concrete Research Institute, StockholmGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Singh SM (1985) Alkali resistance of some vegetable fibers and their adhesion with Portland cement. Res Ind 15:121–126Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Civil Engineering and Engineering MechanicsColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations