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Characterization at Early age and in Long-term of Heat-Treated

Self-Compacting Concrete: Effect of the use of Crystallized Slag


R. Derabla1, M.L. Benmalek2
1
2

Department of Civil Engineering, University of 20 August 1955, Skikda, Algeria, derabla_riad@yahoo.fr


Department of Civil Engineering, University of 8 May 1945, Guelma, Algeria, bmalek2@yahoo.fr

Abstract
The self-compacting concrete (SCC) is characterized by its establishment without vibration. In the field of the
precast concrete, the heat treatment of the products can reduce the curing time. This process helps to meet the
challenge of productivity and extend the use of these materials. Thus, the reduction of the final price of the
products is still being sought. For this, low cost additions are used to replace an amount of the cement in the
concrete, and of course, they allow increasing the volume of the paste and as a result the flow and the stability of
the mixture will be improved.
These aspects guide this experimental work. It comes to study the combined effect of the incorporation of the
crystallized slag powder at the levels of 20 and 40% by the cement and the heat treatment process on the behavior
of prepared SCC at the fresh and hardened state. The physical-mechanical tests were carried out on samples of
SCC at early age (1 day) and in long term (28 days and 180 days). The heat treatment cycle used has a maximum
temperature of 60 C and total duration of 24 hours. The obtained results indicate that the heat treatment cycle
used is very effective especially at early age. In long term, the slag allows to the heat-treated SCCs to have a
limited porosity especially with the dosage of 40% and minim losses in strength (< 16%). The incorporation of the
slag with 20% permits to the heat-treated SSC to obtain a gain in strength of 9%.
Keywords: Self-compacting concrete, heat treatment, crystallized slag, compressive strength, porosity.

1 Introduction
The Shortening of the curing time of the concrete allows the precast concrete industry to meet its challenge of the
productivity and to extend the field of the application of these materials. Several methods are developed and
applied in order to achieve a short period of realization and a sufficient strength levels. Heat treatment is amongst
the methods widely used for this purpose (Naik, 1997). This method is based on the principle of acceleration of the
hydration reactions. According to the experimental researches, the concrete subjected to high temperatures at early
ages attains higher early-age mechanical strengths but has lower later-age mechanical strengths than concrete
subjected to normal temperatures. Several parameters have an effect in this case e.g. the cement type, the concrete
composition, the type and the amount of admixtures used and the parameters of the heat treatment cycle (Zhao et
al., 2012) and (Ramezanianpour et al., 2013).

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The use of the mineral admixtures in concretes has several interests. It can diminish the final cost of the production
by reducing the cement content which is the most expensive component in the concrete; it can reduce the emission
of CO2 generated by the ordinary portland cement production. Many researchers (Gonen and Yazici, 2007)
(Tasdemir, 2003) and (Uysal and Yilmaz, 2011) reported that the quality of the concrete made with mineral
admixtures e.g. silica fume (SF), fly ash (FA), pozzolans (PZ), limestone fillers (LF) and ground granulated blast
furnace slag (GGBFS), is higher than that of the concrete made with pure cement. When the hardening of the
concrete is accelerated by heat treatment, the researches (Liu et al., 2005) (Jacquemot et al., 2005) and (Felekoglu,
2007) have proven the effectiveness of these additives. Under the heat curing, the high temperature will strongly
enhance the reactivity of FA and GGBFS in the concrete and consequently the hydration action of the mineral
additions (Zhimin et al., 2012).
And as a part of the valorization of local building materials, a trial to consume crystallized slag (CZS) by its
incorporation as addition to minimize the final cost of the cement and reduce energy production, and also to
minimize the space it occupies to avoid its impact on the environment. However, the blast furnace slag is
characterized by its low hydraulic capacity that can be activated either mechanically (Sajedi, 2012), thermally
(Sajedi and Abdul-Razak, 2010) or chemically (Michel, 2009).
This paper investigates the effect of CZS on the physical mechanical characteristics of heat-treated concrete. The
incorporation of CZS is about 20 % and 40 % compare to the content of cement. These characteristics are
compared to those of reference concrete made without CZS and cured in normal conditions.

2 Experimental procedure
The heat treatment cycle used in this study (Figure 1) take into account the specifications of the (NF EN 13369,
2004) norm. Its characteristics are near to those of the cycles used in the precast concrete industry. The demolding
of the specimens was carried out just at the end of the cycle. The specimens were placed in freshwater storage
medium until the day of testing. The effect of 20% and 40% level of CZS on the characteristics of the elaborated
(SCCs) in both fresh and hardened state is well studied. The control SCC (without CZS) and the elaborated SCCs
(made with CZS) have been prepared with W/B ratio = 0.42. The characterization of SCC in fresh state was
carried out by the tests recommended by the AFGC [16]: Flow test using Abrams cone (D and T500), V-funnel test
(TV-Funnel), L-box test (H2/H1) and Sieve stability test (S). Other tests were carried out on different fresh mixtures; it
is the test of occluded air (OA) and the determination of the absolute density of fresh concrete (fC). A calculation
of the plastic viscosity was undertaken. This parameter constitutes with the T500 a correlation known as rheologyworkability which can be highlighted according to (Sedran, 1999) by the relation (1).

= fC ( 0 , 026 .D 2 ,39 ) T500


1000
(1)
: plastic viscosity of the material (Pa.s),
fC: density of fresh concrete (Kg/m3),
D: spread diameter (mm),
T500: time to reach the spread diameter of 500 mm (s).
The characterization of SCC in the hardened state was carried out on cubic specimens 10x10x10 cm3 through:
The determination of the absolute density of hardened concrete (hC).
The porosity accessible to water test (P) carried out at the age of 28 days and (P) was calculated according to
(NBN B 15-215, 1989) norm by the formula (2). The specimens of SCC were dried in the oven (105 C) until
a stable weight for the dry mass (mdry). Then, they were completely immersed in the water at room temperature
until saturation to obtain the saturated material mass (msat). Vt: total volume of the specimen.
m sat m dry
P =
100
Vt
(2)
The ultrasonic pulse velocity test (UPV) at the age of 28 days allows to measure the propagation time of a train
of the sound waves between transmitter and receiver of the apparatus arranged on two points of the cubic
concrete specimen (NF P 18-418). The measurement of the propagation velocity is an indication of the
homogeneity of the material and help to estimate its strength.
The test of the compression strength carried out according to the standard NF EN 206-1.
The results obtained in both fresh and hardened states are presented and analyzed in the following.

R. Derabla and M.L. Benmalek

3 Raw materials
The cement used is the compound Portland cement CEM II 42.5 CPJ. Its density, its Blaine specific surface (SSB)
and its specific surface as determined by laser diffraction (SSDL) are respectively 3.16 g/cm3 - 3629 cm/g and
6560 cm/g. Its chemical composition is presented in table 1 below. Its mineralogical composition is about: C3S
(55 65%), C2S (10 18%), C3A (10 12%), C4AF (10 12%). The crystallized slag used is that of the blast
furnaces of El Hadjar (dept of Annaba). After grinding, its density, SSB and SSDL were 2.92 g/cm3 - 2280 cm/g
and 4570 cm/g respectively. Its chemical composition is presented in table 1. Its particle size distribution
determinate with laser diffraction is shown in Figure 2. Its activity index (ACZS), calculated using the following
formula (3), indicates that it is basic (Dreux and Festa, 1998).

ACZS =

%CaO+ %MgO
= 0,96 1
%SiO2 + %Al2 O3

(3)

The Super plasticizer used is MEDAPLAST SP 40 produced by the Granitex company (dept of Algiers). It is a
high water reducer for ready-mix concrete according to EN 934-2. It is characterized by a density of 1.20 0.01, a
pH = 8, a chloride ion content 1 g/l. Two sands and two gravels were used for making self-compacting concrete:
a siliceous sand 0/1 (denoted S1), a crushed limestone sand 0/4 (denoted S2), a gravel 3/8 (denoted G1) and a
gravel 8/15 (denoted G2). The physical characteristics of the aggregates are summarized in table 2, the results of
particle size analysis conducted in accordance with standard NF P 18-560 are shown in Figure 3 and the results of
the chemical analysis are given in table 1.
Table 1 Chemical composition of the raw materials (%)
CaO
59 - 62
34.93
0.62
56.73

Clinker
CZS
S1
S2

SiO2
22 - 24
33.92
95.21
3.71

Al2O3
5.3 6.0
6.62
1.12
0.23

Fe2O3
3.0 - 4.0
4.98
0.55
0.20

MgO
1.5 - 1.8
5.74
0.04
1.18

K 2O
< 0.9
0.52
0.46
0.02

Na2O
< 0.7
0.52
0.10
0.07

SO3
1.8 - 2.2
0.39
0.00
0.09

Table 3 Physical characteristics of the aggregates


Fineness modulus
Sand equivalent (visual)
Sand equivalent ( piston)
Apparent density
Absolute density

Unit
(%)
(%)
(%)
(kg/m3)
(kg/m3)
CZS

S1
1.66
78.04
73.68
1.46
2.50

S2
3.51
76.29
70.97
1.49
2.56

G1
na
na
na
1.57
2.63

G2
na
na
na
1.51
2.66

Standard
NF P 18-598
NF P 18-598
NF P 18-598
NF P 18-554
NF P 18-555

100

80

)
(%
e
m
u
lo
V

80
60
)
C
( 40
e
r
tu
ra 20
e
p
m
e
0
T

60

40

20

0
0

12

15

18

21

Time (h)

Figure 1. Adopted heattreatment cycle

24

0,1

10

100

1000

Particule size (m)

Figure 2. Particle Size Distribution of


cement and crystallized slag

Figure 3. Granulometric curves of the


aggregates

4 Composition of self-compaction concrete


For the formulation of SCC we have followed the recommendations of the French Association of Civil
Engineering (AFGC, 2008) that guarantee the self-compactibility of the concrete. The proportions of the
constituents of 1 m3 of SCC are shown in Table 4. The formulation was been adopted on the basis of the
following parameters:
- Gravel to sand ratio G/S = 1.15 ;
- Water to binder ratio relatively low (W/B = 0.42), (B: Binder = Cement + Admixture);
- Dosage of fines rather high and as a result a high paste volume (Vpaste = 395 2 liters);
- Determinate percentage of admixture (A=CZS);

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Dosage of superplasticizer (SP) adjacent to the saturation dosage determined by the flow table test carried out
on the mortar of SCC;
OA equal to 4%.
Table 4 SCC Compositions (kg/m3)
SCC(R)
SCC20CZS
SCC40CZS

C
531
437
369

A
0
87
148

S1
360
360
360

S2
369
369
369

G1
332
332
332

G2
504
504
504

W
216
215
215

SP
9.82
7.43
6.27

A/B
0
0.17
0.29

W/C
0.42
0.50
0.58

W/B
0.42
0.42
0.42

G/S
1.15
1.15
1.15

Vpaste (m3)
396
395
397

SCC(R) = Self-compacting concrete (Reference)


SCC20CZS = 20 % de Crystallized slag
SCC40CZS = 40 % de Crystallized slag

5 Characteristics of SCCs in fresh state


The test results are summarized in Table 5 below.
Table 5 Results of the fresh-state characteristics of SCCs
SCC(R)
SCC20CZS
SCC40CZS

fC
kg/m3
2224
2214
2258

OA
%
5.6
6.6
5.7

D
cm
61
62
60

T500
s
5.0
3.0
3.5

Pa.s
150
91
104

TV-Funnel
s
8.2
5.3
5.4

S
%
2.5
5.3
4.4

H2/H1
%
0.93
0.92
0.93

TL-Box
s
9.7
5.8
5.1

The obtained results of the diameter of spreading (D) are typically within a range from 61cm 1cm. The
spreading of SCC(R) is similar to those of elaborated SCCs. The effect of the mineral admixture on the flow is
remarkable in terms of its content. The CZS is active and needs a larger amount of water than required by the
cement which reduces the fluidity of the concrete and consequently its flow. The obtained TV-Funnel times are
between 5 s and 9 s. These results indicate that all SCC mixtures satisfy the requirements of the eligible flow
time and are acceptable for the design of appropriate SCC mixtures. The increase in the dosage of CZS has not
an effect on TV-Funnel. The calculated values of the plastic viscosities () are situated between 90 Pa.s and 160
Pa.s. The maximum and the minimum values are obtained by SCC(R). The plastic viscosity decreases with the
incorporating of CZS but it increases with the increase of its rate of setting up. There is a proportional
relationship between the plastic viscosity () and the times (T500 and TL-Box and TV-Funnel) measured in the
different tests carried out on the SCCs. Concerning the stability (S), all studied SCCs are stable (laitance <15%).
The SCC(R) is characterized by high stability (laitance < 2.5%) and consequently a high resistance to the
segregation and to the bleeding. The pastes of these SCCs are too viscous to flow through the mesh of the sieve.
This finding is the result of the reactivity of slag which causes a considerable absorption of water. About the
filling capacity estimated by the H2/H1 ratio measured through the L-box test, we note that H2/H1> 0.8 for all
SCCs. The values of the assessing parameter of the workability (TL-Box) of the SCCs are similar to those
commonly found (3-5 s). The increase in the dosage of the admixture accompanies a decrease in the spreading
time (TL-Box).

6 Characteristics of SCCs in hardened state


The results of the tests carried out in hardened state are presented in table 6. The test results of the porosity (P) at
the age of 28 days are shon in figure 4 and the compressive strength results carried out at the age of 1 day, 28
days and 180 days are illustrated on figure 5 below.
Table 6 Results of the hardened-state characteristics of SCCs

SCC(R)
SCC20CZS
SCC40CZS

HT
ST
HT
ST
HT
ST

HT: Heat treatment


ST: Standard treatment

P
(%)
10.14
10.14
9.80
11.12
6.44
6.83

CS1
(MPa)
21.76
6.92
16.49
6.54
14.18
4.35

CS28
(MPa)
38.17
44.47
30.98
36.74
32.14
33.81

CS180
(MPa)
50.40
58.33
52.28
47.84
47.36
49.83

UPV
(m/s)
4178
4292
4259
4156
4060
4124

Bd
(kg/m3)
2224
2214
2258

R. Derabla, M.L. Benmalek

6.1 Porosity
In the case of the standard treatment the SCC40CZS is the less porous SCC while SCC20CZS is more porous
than SCC(R), whence the importance of incorporating fine admixtures with high amount to get denser structures.
The increase in the content of CZS set up leads to a decrease of P. In the case of heat treatment, the SCCs made
with CZS are less porous than SCC(R). This is due to the CZS hydraulic reaction activation under the
temperature effect. This activation allows to the hydrated products to fill the existant pores and voids between
the cement particules and the aggregates, then the medium diameter of pores will be reduced after that the
porosity deresases (Ho and al. 2003). The high fineness of CZS (SSB = 4850 cm2/g) is also important in these
conditions which allowed to have a good compactness.

6.2 Compressive strength


Regarding the effect of the treatment process, it can be noted that: At early age, the heat treatment could increase
the level of the CS1(HT) of SSC about 2.5 to 3.5 times over than of CS1(ST) obtained with the standard
treatment at the same age. The values of CS1(HT) of SCC(R), SCC20CZS and SCC40CZS represent respectively
a level of 49%, 45% and 42% compared to their CS28(ST) obtained with the standard treatment. The gains in
strengths at early age (1 day) can lead to the reuse of the molds and therefore to increase the production rates. In
long term (28 days), the strengths of heat treated specimens CS28(HT) of SCC(R), SCC20CZS and SCC40CZS
were having losses in strength respectively about 14%, 16% and 5% compared to their CS28(ST). These losses in
strengths were predictable due to the loss of the moisture caused by the water evaporation under the effect of the
increase of temperature. Thus, this loss is also due to the fact that, under the influence of high temperature, the
liquid and gaseous parts of the concrete expand tens of times more than the major fraction, which is solid.
During this time, the solid has not yet acquired sufficient strength to withstand the development of internal
stresses, and thus the concrete cracks and its strength is reduced (Corobceanu and Giusca, 2006). In very long
term (180 days), the losses in strengths of both SCC(R) and SCC40CZS are the same like at 28 days but for
SCC20CZS it had obtain a gain of 9%. We can conclude that the hardening acceleration of SCC by the process
of heat treatment has demonstrated its effectiveness especially at early age. It has allowed the SCC to acquire
very high levels of strength with minimal losses in long term. This is exactly the main aim of this process
especially in the field of precast concrete industry.
Regarding the effect of the use and the dosage of crystallized slag it can be seen that: Under standard conditions,
we know that the slag has a latent hydraulic power at early age, but he was able to achieve high resistance by
pozzolanic effect and to get its full potential for maturities greater than 28 days. It must not also neglect the
effect of the fineness of slag grinding that has a great interest (Oner and al., 2003). In the case of heat treatment,
it is clear that the incorporation of the CZS with a dosage of 20% is very beneficial at all ages and it allows the
SSC to acquire a good resistance. With the dosage of 40%, the CZS is more advantageous at 28 days compared
to its use with 20%. With the comparaison to the CS1(HT), CS28(HT) and CS180(HT) of SCC(R), the CS(HT) of
SCC20CZS and SCC40CZS present respectively the 76% and 65% at 1day, the 81% and 84% at 28 days and the
104% and 94% at the age of 180 days.
70

)
a 60
P
M
( 50
th
g
n 40
ret
s
ev 30
is
esr 20
p
m 10
o
C

R(ST)

R(HT)

CZS20(ST)

CZS20(HT)

CZS40(ST)

CZS40(HT)

0
1

28

180

Age (day)

Figure 5. Compressive strength of SCCs

Figure 4. Porosity of SCCs

6.3 Ultrasonic pulse velocity test


The SSC(R) and the SCC20CS revealed high pulse velocities for the mode (ST) and (HT) respectively. This
correlation in the case of SCC was studied by the research (Zlf and al., 2008) which indicate that the

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correlations between UPV values and compressive strength in SCCs made with FA and SF replacements is
exponential. In our case, the lower ultrasonic velocity for both modes is those of SCC40GS (Figure 6). A
correlation between the compressive strength (CS28) and the ultrasonic pulse velocity (UPV) is found (Figure 7).
R(ST)

CZS20(ST)

CZS40(ST)

R(HT)

CZS20(HT)

CZS40(HT)

50

4350
4300

45

R = 0,277

)a 40
P 35
M
(8 30
2
S 25
C

4250

s)/
4200
m
(
V 4150
P 4100
U
4050

20

4000

15

3950

10
4000

3900

4050

4100

4150

4200

4250

4300

4350

UPV (m/s)

SCC

Figure 6. Ultrasonic pulse velocity of SSCs

Figure 7. Correlation between compressive


strength and UPV of SCC

6 Conclusions
Based on the results, the main conclusions can be stated as follows:
1. The dosage of the mineral admixture has more or less advantageous effects on the characteristics of selfcompacting concrete in both fresh state and hardened state.
2. The crystallized slag allows having a viscous CSC with high stability and consequently a high resistance to
both segregation and bleeding. Their both absorbent and reactive characters affect negatively the fluidity and
the flow of concrete mixture.
3. The heat treatment cycle used is very effective especially at early age where all heat-treated SCCs were able
to achieve a level of strengths superior to that of untreated SCCs.
4. The CZS allowed to the heat-treated SCCs to have a limited porosity especially with the dosage of 40%.
5. The losses in strength in long term are minims (< 16%). In very long term the heat-treated SSC made with 20
% of CZS can obtain a gain of 9%.

7 References
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Felekoglu, B. (2007). Utilisation of high volumes of limestone quarry wastes in concrete industry (selfcompacting concrete case. Resour Conserv Recycl, Vol. 51, pp. 770-91.
French Association of Civil Engineering AFGC (2008). Recommendations for the use of self-compacting
concrete. Available from http://www.afgc.asso.fr/images/stories/pub/Recommandations-SCC-AFGC-versionanglaise.pdf
Gonen, S., Yazici, O. (2003). The influence of mineral admixtures on the short and long-term performance of
concrete. Building and Environment, Vol. 42, 2007, pp. 30803085.
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R. Derabla, M.L. Benmalek

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