Calorimetric comparison of portland cements containing silica fume and metakaolin

Is silica fume, like metakaolin, characterized by pozzolanic activity that is more specific than generic?
  • R. Talero
  • V. Rahhal


This new study must be regarded to be a direct outcome of two previous studies published by these same authors, which were conducted to respond to interesting questions brought out about the effect of silica fume, SF and metakaolins, M and MQ, on the heat of hydration of portland cements, PC, with very different C3A and C3S contents. The answer to these so interesting questions has been the primary objective of the present research. For this purpose, the same PC, PC1 (14% C3A) and PC2 (≈0% C3A), metakaolins, silica fume and blended cements were once again used more 60/40 for sulphate attack, and the same analytical techniques (CC, pozzolanicity and XRD analysis) and parameters determined as well. In this new research, the sulphate attack was determined by two accelerated methods: Le Chatelier-Ansttet and ASTM C 452-68.

The experimental results of sulphate attack mainly, have demonstrated definitively that the high, rapid and early pozzolanic activity exhibited by SF also is, as in the case of the two metakaolins, more specific than generic, for it indirectly stimulated greater C3A than C3S hydration, but only in the first 16 h monitored in this study. Thereafter it is the contrary, i.e., anti- or contra-specific for the same purpose. And the longer the hydration time, the more anti- or contra-specific it became, since, when exposed to sulphate attack, SF blended cements resisted or even prevented the aggressive attack against PC1 which, with a higher C3A content than PC2, was the more vulnerable of the two. By contrast, metakaolin MQ not only failed to hinder or prevent the attack, but heightened its effects, rendering it more intense, aggressive and rapid, leading to what could be called a rapid gypsum attack.


heat of hydration metakaolins portland cements silica fume sulphate attack 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto de Ciencias de la Construcción ‘Eduardo Torroja’C.S.I.C.MadridSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Ingeniería Civil, Facultad de IngenieríaU.N.C.P.B.A.OlavarríaArgentina

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