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DOI 10.1617/s11527-012-9949-4

ORIGINAL ARTICLE

products

H. Khelifi A. Perrot T. Lecompte G. Ausias

Received: 30 November 2011 / Accepted: 27 September 2012 / Published online: 5 October 2012

RILEM 2012

and kaolin are studied in order to design extruded building products with reduced environmental impact. Firstly,

the amount of water required to reach the extrusion rheological criterion and the immersed mechanical strength

are studied. Results lead to a compressive strength prediction tool (derived from Feret model) which provides

the compressive strength of a given ternary mix. Then, the

dimensional and immersion stabilities of ternary mixes

are studied. It shows that for mixes containing more

kaolin volume than cement volume, mechanical strength

is largely influenced by the saturation state. Finally, collected data show that cement stabilized clay blocks and

high content cement substitution concrete can be

designed with clay/cement mixes.

Keywords Extrusion Yield stress Clay Cement

Compressive strength

1 Introduction

The building materials sector is responsible for 9.5 %

of the total anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide

in Europe [1]. About 81 % of these CO2 emissions

H. Khelifi A. Perrot (&) T. Lecompte G. Ausias

Laboratoire dingenierie des Materiaux de Bretagne,

Universite de Bretagne Sud, Universite Europeenne de

BretagneCentre de Recherche Christiaan Huygens, BP

92116, 56321 Lorient Cedex, France

e-mail: arnaud.perrot@univ-ubs.fr

reduce this impact is to improve the production

processes, as is done by the cement industry, especially

since the Kyoto Protocol signed in 1992. However, this

improvement is rapidly reaching a maximum level of

attainment. While waiting for the development of CO2

capture and storage (CCS), it seems that reducing the

amount of cement in concretes and mortars has become

a priority. One way for cement and concrete industries

to do so is the substitution of clinker with mineral

additions or alternative binders [5]. For example, fly

ash can be used to design bricks comparable to concrete

ones [6, 7]. From the builder or precast concrete plant

point of view, one solution consists in compacting

concrete mixes by pressure, vibration or extrusion, to

reduce its air content: it is well known that concrete

resistance is directly linked to its porosity [8, 9]. Then,

compacting fresh cement pastes induces either a better

strength for the same amount of binder or the same

strength with less binder. In either case, it reduces CO2

emissions, by consuming less concrete for the same

structure or a lower cement proportion in concrete

mixes. Precast industries are more interested in extrusion because it is a continuous process which allows for

the production of high resistance engineered cementitious composites (ECC) [1015].

The main impediment to ECC development is their

cost: to be extrudable, a concrete mix has to be stiff

enough at the fresh state to be shape stable immediately

after forming, and must remain homogeneous, with no

water migration [1618]. It typically requires a

1000

dispersing agents or viscosity modifying admixtures,

such as methylcellulose [19, 20]. Recent works [21

23] show that use of clays sharply increases the shape

stability and extrudability of cement pastes at an early

age and can substitute for cohesive and viscosity

modifying admixtures. Moreover, cement stabilized

clays have been proved to be an efficient way to extrude

bricks for clay materials containing large amounts of

kaolinite [2427]. Depending on the cement content,

literature analysis shows that cement/soil mixes offer a

large range of mechanical strengths. As a result, the

extrusion of simple bricks to precast beams can be

obtained.

Mix of clay and sand, could constitute an excellent

local raw material for construction, limiting transport

of construction materials and then of CO2 emissions.

For example, the excavated earth coming from the

building site could be directly used for the construction itself. The final objective of our project is to study

the use of real earth soils to produce extruded soil/

cement composites. As a first step, the present paper

presents an experimental study on ternary mixes

cement/sand/kaolin to confirm the sustainability of

such mixes. The objectives of future project are to

study the use of real soils containing large amount of

clay and sand to produce extruded soil/cement composites and to refine the selection by using a multicriteria choice including mechanical properties, thermal

characteristic and environmental impact.

After a material and protocol presentation, an

investigation on formulations is shown: water quantities are investigated for different ternary mixes to

reach a shear yield stress of 20 kPa, as recommended

by Toutou et al. [28] for the shape stability of fresh

pastes. Then mechanical strengths (tensile and compressive) are measured for selected mixes and simple

mix-design rules are given to reach a researched

compressive strength. Sensitivity to water and dimensions stability which are of main concern for clay

materials are then investigated to finally reach a

discussion highlighting the promising use of the mixdesigned materials for building applications.

2.1 Tested materials

A Portland cement CEM I 52.5N CE CP2 of density

3,150 kg/m3 is used in this study. The specific surface

measured using a Blaine apparatus of this cement is

3,390 cm2/g.

The kaolin originates from an IMERYS quarry. Its

density is 2,260 kg/m3 and its chemical composition is

presented in Table 1. SEM capture of kaolin is shown

in Fig. 1. Kaolin platelet-shaped particles have a size

ranging from 5 to 50 lm.

A usual Loire river-sand (rounded) was used. It has

minimum/maximum sizes of 20 lm to 2 mm and an

absorption capacity of 2 %. Its density is 2,600 kg/m3

A High Range Water Reducing Admixture

(HRWRA, ChrysoFluid Optima 206) is used. The

HRWRA is a polycarboxylate type polymer. It is in

liquid form containing 20 % of dry material. Its

recommended dosage ranges from 0.3 to 3 % per

weight of cement. In this study, dosage was fixed at

1.5 %. Mixtures with and without HRWRA are tested

to estimate its efficiency to reduce water content in

fresh mixtures and to increase strength of hardened

mortars. From an environmental and an economical

point of view, its obviously better not use such

products.

Studied mixes, presented in Fig. 2, are ternary mixes

of cement, sand and kaolin. Proportions on ternary

diagrams are mass ratios of dry powder (noted C, S and

K for respectively cement, sand and kaolin). At the

fresh state, paste behaviour is governed by the plastic

rheological behaviour of the matrix (micro scaled

interaction between cement and kaolin particles in

water suspension), whereas at the hardened state it

should be mainly dictated by the hydration of cement.

Selected mixes correspond to a balance between

qualities and defaults of each ingredient.

Oxyde

Al2O3

Fe2O3

TiO2

CaO

MgO

K2O

Na2O

Li2O

Proportion

48.5

37.5

0.8

0.1

0.2

1.1

0.1

Traces

1001

0.0

1.0

0.2

0.8

3

0.4

0.6

KAOLIN

CEMENT

0.6

0.4

0.8

0.2

1.0

0.0

0.0

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1.0

SAND

Fig. 2 Ternary diagram (mass ratios) cementkaolinsand and

selected mixes (black squares)

studied because they do not fulfil simple rheological,

economical or environmental criteria. Area 1 corresponds to the mixes containing too much sand: these

mixes are not cohesive enough and are then not

extrudable. Area 2 eliminates kaolin mass ratios higher

than 80 % because these mixes are not strong enough at

the hardened state (compressive strength under 1 MPa

at 28 days of age). Area 3 corresponds to mixes

containing too much cement: these compositions are

unsustainable for the considered applications.

Extrudability criteria are provided in the literature

[17, 28]. The first one is given by Toutou et al. [28] and

concerns the properties linked to shape stability of the

[28], the shear yield stress value must be at least equal

to 20 kPa. This value ensures shape stability with an

acceptable extrusion load. The second criterion given

in [17, 28] is linked to the homogeneity of the mixture

during extrusion. During extrusion, liquid drainage

may occur through the granular skeleton of the fresh

material. Local drainage may lead to surface defects

and extrudates heterogeneity and have to be avoided.

As a result, the mix design approach consists in

finding for each studied mix the water content leading

to an extrudable sample. In our case, the extrudability

is defined by the Toutou et al. [28] rheological

standards ensuring shape stability.

Mixes are tested with and without HRWRA. The

HRWRA is added to the mixing water before water/

cement contact. HRWRA is expected to improve the

viscous and cohesive potential of clay in concrete at an

early age, as has been observed in recent studies [2123].

Mixing protocol consists in mixing water with

cement, sand and kaolin in a planetary Hobart mixer.

The mixing phase consists in three steps: 120 s at

0.37 s-1 (140 rpm), 60 s at rest for bowl scraping and

480 s at 0.74 s-1 (280 rpm). Yield stress is then

measured directly after mixing. If result is far from

20 kPa, a new mixture is tested with less or more water

if yield stress is respectively upper or lower than the

target of 20 kPa.

To control the validity of the Toutou criteria, screw

extrusions are also performed on qualified mixtures.

The surface quality and extrudates homogeneity are

checked. The used screw extruder is an Haendle

laboratory extruder, with a simple screw (50 mm in

diameter). The 40 mm long conical entry die consists

of a 50 mm in diameter circular entry section and a

15 9 25 mm2 rectangular exit section. Extrudates

surface quality and density evolution are checked

during extrusion. The used screw rotation velocity is

0.04 s-1 (15 rpm). It is noteworthy that all tested

materials remain homogeneous during extrusion and

that all extrudates present surface with no defect.

2.3 Yield stress measurements

Yield stress is measured using an Anton Paar Rheolab

QC rheometer equipped with vane geometry. The

measurement procedure is similar to the one used in

Mahaut et al. [29]. It can be noted that cement

stabilized soil rheology has already been studied [30].

1002

applied to the sample at a shear rate of 0.001 s-1 for

180 s. At such a low shear rate, viscosity effects are

negligible and yield stress can be computed from the

measured torque peak value at flow onset.

The vane geometry used in this study consists in

four blades around a cylindrical shaft. The blade

height is 8.8 mm and its diameter is 10 mm. When the

objective of 20 kPa is reached for a ternary mix, the

paste is poured in parallelepiped 4 cm 9 4 cm 9

16 cm form to make bending and compression samples. Tests are performed twice in order to check their

reproducibility.

room at 20 1 C and a relative humidity of

50 5 %,

samples cured for 21 days in an air conditioned

room at 20 1 C and a relative humidity of

50 5 % and then for 7 days in a bath kept at

20 1 C,

samples cured for 28 days in a bath kept at

20 1 C (as written in Sect. 2.4).

describe the sensitivity of studied mixes on their

mechanical strengths.

3 Experimental results

Compressive and bending strength are measured after

28 days of maturation on the 4 9 4 9 16 cm3 samples, kept in a bath at 20 1 C. These samples are

cast using a PVC pestle to ensure that mix fills the

mould. Mechanical tests were performed following

European standard EN 196-1 prescriptions [31]. For

each mix, three samples are tested in bending which

leads to six samples for compressive strength

measurements.

2.5 Shrinkage measurements

Shrinkage is monitored until dimensional stabilization

on 4 9 4 9 16 cm3 samples matured in an air conditioned room at 20 1 C and a relative humidity of

50 5 %. It is considered that the dimensional

stabilization is achieved when the variation of the

longitudinal length is \0.01 % during 24 h. For each

mix, shrinkage is measured on three different samples.

The measuring protocol follows the European standard EN 197-1 prescriptions [32].

2.6 Water sensitivity analysis

Water sensitivity is a major concern for the mechanical strength and stability of cement-stabilized clay

products [24, 33]. Cement-stabilized mechanical

strength and dimension stability are largely influenced

by curing conditions and water immersion. In order to

study the influence of water on the mechanical

strength of the samples, compressive strength measurements were performed on:

of mixes

The approach consists in finding the water amount

required for each studied ternary mix to obtain a paste

with a yield stress value of 20 kPa (i.e. an extrudable

paste [28]). Water is added gradually. After each

addition, yield stress is measured until the paste shows

a 20 kPa yield stress. Figures 3 and 4 show the water

content obtained for studied ternary mixes, respectively with and without HRWRA. Isovalue curves are

plotted by linear interpolation of experimental results.

Observations of these two figures lead to two main

conclusions:

efficiency, and water demand is lower to reach the

yield stress of 20 kPa. As shown in recent studies

[3436], HRWRA reduces shear strength by

improving dispersion and electrostatic equilibrium

between cement grains and also kaolin grains.

Water content to ensure a 20 kPa yield stress

sharply increases with kaolin ratio while sand

seems to have no or little influence on water

demand.

for pure cement paste with HRWRA. Water contents

which ensures a 20 kPa yield stress are wk = 0.42 for

kaolin and wc = 0.21 for cement with HRWRA as

plotted in Fig. 3. It should be noted here that it was

impossible to obtain a 20 kPa cohesive paste for

0.0 0.21

1003

1.0

0.4

0.2

0.8

0.35

0.4

0.28

0.21

0.14

0.6

0.30

0.25

0.6

0.25

0.34

0.11

0.18

0.20

0.4

0.16

0.12

0.22

0.36

0.29

0.29

0.29

1.0

0.10

0.15

0.22 0.16

0.16

0.22

0.4

0.6

0.1

0.05

0.00

0.8

0.0

0.0

0.0

0.2

C=0.1

C=0.15

C=0.3

C=0.3

C=0.4

C=0.6

0.42K

0.2

0.2

0.42

0.0

0.3

0.15

0.8

0.37

W-wcC-wSS

0.40

1.0

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1.0

S

Fig. 3 Water content required to ensure a yield stress of 20 kPa

for mixes with 1.5 % HRWRA

yield stress as a function of kaolin mass ratio for mixes with

HRWRA

0.0

1.0

0.2

0.8

0.40

0.35

0.4

0.3

0.6

0.6

0.24

0.36

0.25

0.20

0.19

0.28

0.30

C

0.4

0.18

0.24

0.15

0.10

0.8

0.38

0.36

0.31

0.31

1.0

0.17

0.25 0.18

0.18

0.24

0.2

0.00

0.0

0.42

0.0

0.05

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1.0

S

Fig. 4 Water content required to ensure a paste yield stress of

20 kPa for mixes without HRWRA

given in Sect. 2.2).

By following iso-cement ratio lines, it appears that

water required for the yield stress increases linearly

with kaolin mass ratio. As a consequence, it could

mean that the water demand of the mixes is led

separately by the water demand of each ingredient of

the mix. Then water demand W could be written as

follows:

W wc C ws S wk K

20 kPa yield stress for cement and kaolin. The water

absorbed by the sand grains is noted ws. C, S and

K denote the mass ratios of cement, sand and kaolin.

wc = 0.21. In concrete mix design, it is assumed that

a part of the cement paste water content is used to wet

the aggregates surface. The amount of this water

corresponds to the aggregates absorption coefficient

noted ws in our study. This coefficient corresponds to

the ratio between the wetting water mass and the sand

mass and was estimated by subtracting the mass of

wetted sand to the mass of the same sand dried in a

drying oven. The obtained value is ws = 0.02 which is

in agreement with commonly used values of sand

absorption coefficient. Using these values, Fig. 5

shows the evolution of W-wc C-ws S as a function

of K, for all ternary mixes with HRWRA. It shows

that the points are in a line. A least squares regression

gives a slope of 0.42 (regression coefficient of 0.98)

which correlates with Eq. 1.

For mixes without HRWRA, as previously written,

the value of wc cannot be measured. However, this

value can be extrapolated by finding the wc value

which provides the best fit between experimental

curve (W-wc C-ws S) = f(K) and modelled curve [i.e.

(W-wc C-ws S) = 0.42 K). The results are given in

Fig. 6, which indicates a value of 0.26 for wc, with a

regression coefficient of 0.97. Using those values,

relative error between modelled and experimental

values is always lower than 9 %. The average relative

error equals 1.9 %.

As a result, we can conclude that the water required

to ensure an equivalent yield stress of 20 kPa for the

ternary mix obeys a simple law of mixtures (Eq. 1).

1004

0.0

1.0

W-wcC-wSS

0.4

With HRWRA

Without HRWRA

0.42K

0.2

0.8

90.00

0.3

80.00

0.4

49

57

81

0.6

70.00

60.00

0.2

0.6

34

23

52

59

76

50.00

0.4

40.00

41

58

0.1

30.00

0.8

9

18

5

2

0.0

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

10.00

0.00

0.0

1.0

0.0

K

Fig. 6 Part of water attributed to kaolin to ensure a 20 kPa

yield stress as a function of kaolin mass ratio for mixes with

HRWRA (wc = 0.21; ws = 0.02) and without HRWRA

(wc = 0.26; ws = 0.02)

20.00

0.2

1.0

0.0

31

18

9

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1.0

S

Fig. 7 Wet compression strength (MPa) at 28 days for mixes

with HRWRA

0.0

1.0

0.2

after 28 days of immersion in a 20 C bath. The

samples can be considered as 4 9 4 9 4 cm3 cubes.

As written in Sect. 2.4, tests are performed according

to normalized tests for mortars (EN 196-1). Compressive strengths are noted fc28 and are plotted in Figs. 7

and 8, respectively, for mixes with and without

HRWRA.

Mixes with HRWRA have higher compressive

strength. The addition of HRWRA allows for a

reduction in water amount providing for an average

increase of mechanical strength of 7 % (in a range of

212 % depending on the ternary mix). The mechanical strength of cement pastes is generally due to

cement hydration. Thus, it increases with cement ratio,

as observed on ternary diagrams. In the previous

section, it was shown that the water mass ratio

required to ensure a yield stress of 20 kPa for kaolin

is two times higher than the mass ratio required for

cement and 40 times the mass ratio due to water

absorbed by the sand. The main consequence is that

the water required to achieve the expected paste

rheology is mainly governed by the kaolin ratio. It

explains why iso-strength lines are almost parallel to

kaolin ratios on diagrams.

To be able to predict the strength of a given mix, it

should be interesting to know if such mortars, with

high contents of kaolin, behave as classical sand/

cement mortars. Figure 9 shows experimental results

90.00

0.8

80.00

0.4

44

0.6

60

70.00

60.00

50.00

0.6

51

31

24

0.4

40.00

54

43

30.00

0.8

9

14

2

27

15

7

20.00

0.2

10.00

0.00

1.0

0.0

0.0

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1.0

S

Fig. 8 Wet compression strength (MPa) at 28 days for mixes

without HRWRA

cement and kaolin ratios, experimental points are on

the same curve in a diagram fc28 versus W/C. It

highlights that fc28 only depends on the water to

cement ratio, as for classical mortars. With these

conservation conditions (in a 20 C water bath), kaolin

acts as a high water demand aggregate and does not

interact with cement. Classical models can then be

tested: the Bolomey relation [37], used in a recent

study on the mix design of concrete with a high level

of mineral additions [38]; the Feret relationship [39],

and the Neville model with the method proposed by

Colak [40].

The Bolomey model is the simplest: it provides the

compressive strength fc28 as a function of the water to

1005

aggregate quality KB and cement class rc28, i.e.

compressive strength of standard mortar. Neglecting

entrapped air, it can be written as:

1

fc28 KB rC28

0:5

2

W=C

Here rc28 = 52.5 MPa and KB is the fitting parameter. As shown in Fig. 9, it does not fit well experimental data for W/C ratio over 2. The best fitting curve

was found for a KB value of 0.348.

The second model is the model of Neville, with the

determination method proposed by C

olak [40]:

W=C W=Cm n 1 W=Ca n

fc28 ra

W=Ca W=Cm n 1 W=C

3

where ra is the strength corresponding to (W/C)a,

measured by experimentation; n = 12 when the

binder is cement as proposed in Colak et al. [40];

(W/C)m is the value of (W/C) for which compressive

strength reaches a maximum value. Here using the

computation proposed in Colak et al. [40], for an age

of 28 days, (W/C)m = 0.193. This model is the most

realistic from a physical point of view, because it takes

into account the strength decrease when water content

decreases and becomes not sufficient to hydrate all

cement particles, while other used models provide

compressive strength tending to infinity when water

content tends to 0. Unfortunately, with the above

points for low W/C ratios (\0.3), as shown in Fig. 9.

The third tested model is the Feret model, based on

the balance between binder volume and sum of water,

binder and air volumes:

2

Vc

fc28 KF rC28

4

Vc VW VA

where Vc, Vw and Va are respectively the cement, water

and air volumes, KF traduces aggregate quality and

rc28 is the cement class, still equal to 52.5 MPa.

Neglecting entrapped air and writing strength as a

function of (W/C), it gives:

2

1

fc28 KF rC28

5

1 W=C qc =qw

With qc and qw respectively the specific mass of

cement and water.

The best fitting model in the present case is the Feret

model, with an aggregate coefficient KF = 5.312 which

corresponds to a good quality aggregate. Figure 10

shows all experimental results and the Feret fitting

curve, obtained by least squares method (R2 = 0.975).

This is in agreement with results obtained by Kawamura

and Kasai [41] which show that the compressive

strength of cement/soil mixes can be written as a

function of W/C.

To conclude, sand and kaolin mixes can be

considered as an equivalent aggregate. The sand/

kaolin mass ratio only governing the water required to

75

75

fc28 (MPa)

100

fc28 (MPa)

100

50

25

50

25

mixes without HRWRA. Comparison of Bolomey, Feret and

Cola`k models with experimental results

W/C for all tested mixes. Comparison of experimental results

with the Feret model

1006

1.00

With HRWRA

Without HRWRA

0.75

ft28/fc28

ensure the adequate rheology (and then the compression strength). Combining Eqs. 1 and 4, we can write a

useful relationship able to predict the compression

strength for a given ternary mix:

"

#2

1

fc28 KF rC28

6

1 wc ws CS wk KC qqc

0.50

different clay/sand couples. This parameter has to be

experimentally adjusted as for conventional concrete

mix design.

0.25

0.00

0

10

K/C

As shown by Fig. 11, bending strength is directly

linked to W/C mass ratio. The bending strength ranges

between 1.5 MPa for high W/C mixes to 21 MPa for

the lowest W/C mix. The evolution trend is similar to

the one observed for the compressive strength (Fig. 9).

Those results correlate with the results obtained for

cement stabilized clays [26, 33, 42].

The effect of kaolin content on the ratio of bending

over compressive strength is shown on Fig. 12. This

ratio varies from 0.2 for mortar mixes (i.e. without

kaolin) to 0.8 for high content kaolin mixes. The

values obtained for mortar mixes are close to the ratios

predicted by Eurocode 2 European standard [43] and

to ratios given by recent work on concrete [44] (i.e.

around 0.2).

Figure 12 suggests that compacted kaolin microstructure composed of thin oriented layered particles is

more able to resist bending or traction as proposed by

With HRWRA

Without HRWRA

ft28 (MPa)

20

ratio in function to the kaolin/cement volume ratio

mixes to present good bending strength has already been

observed for claycementwood composites [46].

3.4 Shrinkage

The shrinkage of samples cured in the air-conditioned

room is studied until dimensional stabilization. Figure 13 shows the evolution of the shrinkage at 28 days

versus kaolin volume fraction. It can be conclude, in a

first approach, that shrinkage linearly increases with

the kaolin volume fraction in the range of used kaolin

volume fraction. This may be explained by the high

water demand of kaolin and consequently by the high

amount of evaporated water during curing. Shrinkage

values range from 0.2 % for mixes without kaolin to

0.75 % for the maximal kaolin volume fraction. Those

values correlate with the results obtained in previous

studies [33, 42, 47]. The measured shrinkage is much

lower than the shrinkage obtained on pure clay without

cement in [33]. To conclude, the shrinkage of studied

mixes does not prohibit their use in the precasting

building industry as the obtained values are closed to

those of conventional concrete mixes.

10

0

0

W/C

Fig. 11 Evolution of wet bending strength in function to

W/C for all tested mixes

blocks at a hard state are greatly affected by their

moisture content [26, 33, 42, 47]. As a result,

compressive strength of dry and immersed samples

are different. On one hand, for dry samples, water

desaturation induces matrix suction that strengthens

1007

1.00

0.75

0.50

With HRWRA

Without HRWRA

0.25

0.00

0.00

0.25

0.50

fc28dry/fc28,immersed

Shrinkage (%)

With HRWRA

Without HRWRA

0.75

10

K/C

mixes in function to the kaolin volume fraction Uk

28 days in function to the kaolin/cement volume ratio

pre-stressing which increases grains and hydrates

cohesion [4850]. On the other hand, water immersion

induces the development of pore water pressure and the

liquefaction of kaolin. It breaks some material bonds

and reduces the mechanical strength [26, 33, 42].

As a consequence and as it had been previously

observed, dry samples show better compressive and

tensile strengths than immersed samples. The dry/

immersed compressive strength ratio seems to

increase with the clay volume content [33, 42, 47]. It

is also reported that mechanical strength loss due to

immersion can be partially recovered after drying [33].

Mechanical tests performed on samples conditioned

in three different ways confirm the previous works

(Fig. 14). Dry/immersed compressive strength ratio

ranges from 1 to 3 depending on the K/C ratio. We note

that the immersion time (7 or 28 days) has no influence

on compressive strength. As a result, immersed

compressive strengths after 7 or 28 days of immersion

are considered as a same sample group. Moreover, if an

immersed sample is placed in the air conditioned room

during 7 days, the measured compressive strength is

similar to those of the dry sample. As a consequence,

we can state that the mechanical strength loss is quasitotally reversible. Dry/immersed compressive strength

ratio tends toward 1 when cement volume fraction is

higher than kaolin volume content. For such mixes,

immersion has little influence and hardened mixes

behave quite similarly to common concrete or mortar.

Then, the dry/immersed compressive strength ratio

increases with the kaolin/cement volume ratio. This

dramatic influence when cement hydrates percolation

is not achieved through the sample.

In order to prevent the possible effect of water

immersion on cement-stabilized clay blocks, two

strategies can be chosen. The first one is to consider

only the immersed compressive strength of the

material in order to avoid damages linked to the loss

of compressive strength [41]. The second one is to

protect the material surface by a specific treatment

(cement or lime render, polymers) in order to avoid

water exposition [42]. The second solution allows us

to consider a mix containing only 10 % of cement

solid mass ratio (with K = 0.3 and S = 0.6) which

presents a dry compressive strength of 17 MPa (for

only 9 MPa immersed compressive strength).

In this study, sand and kaolin are used to model the

behavior of soils with a high content of kaolinite for

extrusion after cement stabilization. Clay material is

seen here as a sustainable local construction raw

material with reduced transportation, economical and

environmental costs.

Through the observation of all the collected data,

two methods of practical use appear:

Concrete with high content of mineral additions

(used as cement substitution).

1008

mix containing a mass ratio of 8.5 % cement, 50.8 %

sand, 25.4 % kaolin and 18 % water (C = 10 %;

S = 60 %; K = 30 % in Figs. 4 and 8) presents

compressive strengths of 9 MPa at an immersed state

and 17 MPa at a dry state. This mix design seems to

present the best compromise between hardened performances and cement content. However, this study

focuses only on the mortar scale. If gravels are added in

the mix, we can expect that the cement mass ratio will

decrease while the compressive strength will remain

quite the same (as predicted by the Feret modeling). In

this way, mixes with 70 % in mass of the above mix

design and 30 % in mass of 2/6 sands provide an

immersed compressive strength of 7.4 MPa with only

5.9 % of cement (which is less than the cement content

of cinder-blocks). Further works have to focus on the

concrete scale and on the optimization of the granular

skeleton to reduce the cement content.

For concrete with a high content of mineral

additions, the strategy is the same as used in Khokhar

et al. [38]. A mix containing mass ratio of 17 %

cement, 50.8 % sand, 17 % kaolin and 15.2 % water

presents compressive strengths of 31 MPa at an

immersed state and 40 at a dry state which is enough

to be used as extruded precast concrete elements.

The result obtained cannot be used for swelling clay

as shown by Temimi et al. [22]. For example, clay

containing more than ten percents in mass of montmorillonite can not be stabilized.

air conditioned room (20 C, 50 % relative humidity)

show a dry compressive strength values ranging from

5 to 18 MPa depending on the kaolin content (the wet

compressive strength ranges from 2 to 9 MPa). Kaolin

acts as high water demand aggregate without interaction with cement as already assessed for cement

stabilized adobes as shown by Millogo and Morel [26].

As a result, compressive strength only depends on W/

C ratio. It can be noted that resistance decrease of

samples in wet conditions is reversible: material

recovers its compressive strength after desaturation.

Then, the stability of the mixes in terms of

dimension and water immersion has been studied.

Firstly, it shows that shrinkage is acceptable (\0.8 %)

for all the tested mix designs. Secondly, it shows that

for mixes containing more kaolin volume than cement

volume, mechanical strength is largely influenced by

the saturation state. This water influence increases with

the kaolin content.

Finally, practical uses of such ternary mixes were

discussed. Collected data show that cement stabilized

clay blocks and concrete with a high content of fine

mineral additions can be designed with clay/cement

mixes. However, buildings made of such blocks

should be completely protected from moisture ingress

due to rain and natural weathering conditions in order

to optimize durability and mechanical strength.

Acknowledgments The authors would like to acknowledge

Lafarge and Chryso for materials supply, European community

and French government for its financial support trough a state/

region project contract.

5 Conclusions

In this work, ternary mixes of sand, cement and kaolin

are studied in order to design extruded building products

with reduced environmental impact. In a first step, the

amount of water required to reach the extrusion

rheological criterion and the immersed mechanical

strength are studied. Results lead to a compressive

strength prediction tool (derived from the Feret model)

which give the compressive strength at 28 days as a

function of the water demand to reach the extrusion

criterion for kaolin and clay, the water absorbed by the

sand, the cement standard compressive strength and the

cement, kaolin and sand mass ratios.

The results of mechanical tests show that using

ternary mixes of cement, sand and kaolin can lead to

an interesting compressive strength. Mixes containing

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