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Predicting Compressive Strength at a Specified Age Using Early Age Strength

and Temperature Measurements for concrete mixes with OPC
J. A. A. S. Jayasinghe1, A. I. G. K. Mataraarachchi2 and S. M. A. Nanayakkara3
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka

ABSTRACT: In designing of concrete structures, compressive strengths at specified ages of concrete

play a major role. For concretes with Ordinary Portland Cement, this is generally considered as 28-day
compressive strength since the strength gain thereafter is insignificant. However, in event of change of
materials, the ready-mixed concrete suppliers find it difficult to conduct trials for a new design and
verify 28-day compressive strength due to limited availability of time. Hence, developing a methodology
to estimate the expected mean compressive strength of concrete at a specified age using its early age
properties will be of great practical use. In this paper, a model has been developed to estimate the
compressive strength at specified ages of a given concrete mix with Ordinary Portland Cement, within a
maximum period of 3 days. Concrete compressive strength measurements at 3-day, and temperature
variation of a representative mortar specimen with time under known boundary conditions were used as
the model inputs. Based on the temperature measurements, heat of hydration curve for cements were
developed using a multi component finite element hydration model. The developed hydration model was
used to estimate the degree of hydration at the respective ages of compressive strength records and at
the specified age. The compressive strengths of the concrete mixes at the specified age were estimated
with the use of estimated degree of hydration and measured compressive strengths. The proposed
methodology was found to be satisfactory for the tested concrete mixes.

KEYWORDS: Concrete Compressive Strength, Prediction Model, Early age measurements,

Temperature variation.

1 INTRODUCTION with OPC was considered.

a. Research Significance b. Literature Review

Knowledge of compressive strength Some previous researchers have tried to address

development of concrete is critical in designing the issue in various means. Elaty, (2018) has
of concrete structures due to variety of expressed the compressive strength
requirements. The strength at different ages of a development as a logarithmic curve. By
particular concrete mix may be required for the considering two points at the curve he claims to
decision making at critical stages if the develop the strength development curve. He
construction such as for the removal of also claims higher accuracy with predefined
formwork, for the verification of the strength parameters which can be calculated with
requirement to proceed the construction, for the statistical expressions based on previous
prestressing of a concrete member etc., the compressive strength data. Kabir et al. (2012)
understanding about the development of have established an empirical relationship
compressive strength is required. Also, in the between 7-day compressive strength data and
event of change of materials, the ready-mixed 28-day compressive strength data and claims
concrete suppliers find it difficult to conduct higher accuracy in his prediction model. Kheder
trials for a new design and verify 28-day et al. (2003) has conducted a multivariable
compressive strength due to limited availability regression analysis combining compressive
of time. Thus, this research is focused on strength of heat cured mortar cubes, ultrasonic
developing a model which can predict the pulse velocity of the cubes, density of the cubes
compressive strength development of a concrete and chemical composition of cement to predict
mix using early age strength data and heat of the compressive strength of cements.
hydration of cement. In this study the concrete Neelakanthan et al. (2013) have related 28-day


compressive strength to the compressive release up to the peak of the temperature history
strength of heat cured samples in a statistical with the 28-day compressive strengths and
approach. obtained a linear relationship. Schutter &
Some researchers have tried the maturity Taerive, (1996) have calculated the degree of
concept to predict the compressive strength. hydration using a model which considers
Maturity concept relates the combined effect of isothermal calorimeter readings. They have
temperature and the time to strength considered the ratios of the properties at a
development of concrete. Carino & Lew. particular age to ultimate value for degree of
(2001) have presented the relationship between hydration and the compressive strength, and
the compressive strength and the maturity observed a nonlinear relationship. Viviani et al,
which have been calculated using temperature (2008) have presented a concept named
monitoring. Benaicha et al. (2016) have also “Equivalency points” which is supposed to
presented a model to predict early age strength reflect degree of hydration. It requires
through maturity concept. Chengju, (1989) temperature and deformation monitoring for 72
claims that there are several acceptable hours and then uses maturity concept. With
approaches for calculation of maturity. calibration strength values within 72 hours age
According to them, the maturity concept is the model could predict compressive strength
useful in determining the early age strength development.
provided that already established reference
curves are available for the particular concrete, c. Research Gap
which can be seen as a disadvantage.
There are methods which have been developed Though the previous researchers claim higher
on theoretical approaches as well. Cervera et al. accuracy in predicting the strength
(2002) presents a comprehensive analytical development, some methods require complex
model which uses concepts of maturity and and expensive experiments. Some other
normalized chemical affinity. They have related methods are based purely on statistical analysis
the compressive strength directly proportional which may lack the logical approach. Some
to the degree of hydration. But this method approaches require acceleration of the chemical
requires extensive experimentations to reaction of cement in their predictions. Thus,
determine the model coefficients. Chidiac et al. this study focusses on the development of a
(2013) have developed a model to predict model to predict the compressive strength
28-day compressive strength of concrete development with early age measurements
consists with sub models to calculate degree of through a logical approach. As the model
cement hydration, average paste thickness, inputs, the 3-day compressive strength results
cement paste strength and 28-day bond of the concrete, temperature variation of a
strength. It requires a dataset for calibration. representative mortar due to heat of hydration
Heat or temperature measurements have been of cement, mix proportions of concrete and
considered as a basis of the models for some chemical composition of the cement were
researchers. Baran & Pichniarczyk, (2017) have considered.
measured the total heat release for different
cements at different ages and compared with 2 METHODOLOGY
the respective compressive strengths of
different cements and observed a linear Previous researchers have consistently
relationship. Bentz et al, (2012) have
emphasized the relationship between the
considered compressive strength of mortar with
measured cumulative heat release per volume development of compressive strength and the
of initial water for different cements, mix degree of hydration. Also, the relationship
proportions and ages and observed a linear between the 28-day compressive strength and
relationship. Boumiz et al, (1996) have the early age compressive strength has been
measured the heat release of cement pastes and proven to be significant by the previous
mortars using isothermal calorimeter and the researchers. Hence, a method which uses early
calculated degrees of hydration have been age compressive strength and degree of
compared with compressive strength and found hydration is considered in this study. The
to be having a linear relationship. Kszyaska, degree of hydration is calculated considering
(2002) has plotted the measured adiabatic heat the variation of temperature of a representative
release with compressive strength of concretes mortar due to heat of hydration of cement in a
and has observed an exponential relationship. known environmental conditions. Here the
Loan et al, (2007) have estimated the heat mortar fraction of the concrete mix under


consideration was tested to obtain temperature Table 2. XRD analysis for cements
variation. The mortar fraction subjected to
thermal monitoring is modeled in a finite Cement Batch a b c
element programme and hydration model C3S (%) 62.53 54.72 57.97
developed by Kishi & Maekawa, (1995) is used
C2S (%) 10.15 10.26 13.39
to develop the degree of hydration curve for the
particular mix. Then the relationship between C3A (%) 5.03 3.56 5.92
the compressive strength and the degree of C4AF (%) 12.03 13.53 11.91
hydration has been established statistically. In Gypsum (%) 2.61 1.04 2.06
order to predict the compressive strength at a
specified age, the data obtained with respect to
compressive strength at particular age and respectively. Table 3 shows the concrete mix
corresponding degree of hydration were used. proportions used in the study.
The proposed methodology is used to predict
some other data set for validation. The concrete cubes of
150mm×150mm×150mm were cast from each
3 EXPERIMENTAL PROGRAMME mix and compressive strengths were measured.
Table 4 shows the recorded values for
In this research 10 concrete mixes were used. compressive strengths.
Ordinary Portland cement produced by INSEE
cement Ruhuna Plant, Manufactured sand and The variation of temperature of the
crushed granite were used as raw materials. representative mortar mixes were recorded
Hypercrete Plus M by Millennium Concrete using a semi adiabatic calorimeter. The mortar
Technologies (Pvt) Ltd which is a used for the monitoring is identical as the
Polycarboxylic based superplasticizer was used mortar fraction of the tested concretes. The
as the admixture. Even if the cements were cylindrical moulds with a diameter of 3 inches
from the same source, cements from three and a height of 6 inches, made of PVC were
different batches were used. Chemical used un the calorimeter. The moulds were
composition of cement samples were surrounded by Extruded Polystyrene and the
determined by X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) average thickness of the insulation was 10mm.
analysis and X-ray powder diffraction (XRD) In all the cases the mortar mass tested was
analysis and results are shown in Table 1 and 2 1300g. The recorded temperature histories are
depicted in Figure 1. Those records were used
to determine the variation of degree of
Table 1. XRF analysis for cements hydration with time for 10 concrete mixes given
in Table 3.
Cement Batch a b c 4 HYDRATION MODEL
SiO2 (%) 19.45 17.42 19.66
Al2O3 (%) 4.74 4.44 5.09 The prediction methodology presented in this
Fe2O3 (%) 2.92 2.93 3.02
research is based on the degree of hydration of
the concrete. Temperature variation of the
CaO (%) 61.65 59.92 61.6 mortar fraction of the concrete is used to
MgO (%) 1.53 1.62 1.4 develop the variation of degree of hydration
K2O (%) 0.56 0.54 0.47 through a hydration model. The hydration
Na2O (%) 0 0.11 0.14
model developed by Kishi & Maekawa, (1995)
is adopted in this research. In this model,
SO3 (%) 2.29 2.59 2.94 hydration process of cement is modeled by
LOI (%) 3.19 3.55 3.14 considering the hydration of individual mineral
Sum (%) 96.32 93.11 97.46 components separately. The equations 1-3 are
LSF (%) 96.79 103.75 94.32
the basic equations used in the hydration model.
(Mataraarachchi et al. 2012, Mataraarachchi et
T-ALK (%) 0.37 0.48 0.46 al. 2015)
LOI – Loss of Ignition
LSF – Lime Saturation Factor
T-ALK – Total Alkalinity


Table 3. Concrete mix proportions used

Concrete No C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7 C8 CA CB
Used Cement label b b b b a c c c b c
Cement (kg/m3) 280 299 373 390 417 435 463 476 358 420
Water (kg/m ) 199 210 183 164 154 179 176 182 198 179
Fine Agg (kg/m3) 891 878 865 872 812 809 826 815 847 810
Coarse Agg (kg/m ) 1086 1069 1054 1063 1139 1075 1012 996 1035 1079
Admixture (ml/m3) 1121 1204 2988 3507 2522 4785 5536 5955 2515 4204
Density (kg/m ) 2456 2456 2474 2488 2522 2498 2479 2470 2437 2488
Slump (mm) 5 70 210 170 150 150 185 180 60 60

Table 4. Compressive strength of concretes at different ages (in N/mm2)

Concrete C1 C2 C3 C4 C5 C6 C7 C8 CA CB
12.8 16.4 20.2 23.1 31.1 33.4 23.4 25.3
13.7 16.2 19.6 21.2 30.7 34.6 39.4 23.2 25.4
1 day 13.8 15.4 23.2
25.8 40.5 41.0 46.6 51.8
25.8 40.7 41.5 38.0 48.5 55.1
2 day
20.2 22.9 30.8 34.8 48.4 51.0 46.7 55.2 27.5 48.0
19.4 23.4 30.4 34.7 52.4 33.6 48.6
3 day 20.3 22.1 54.8 34.7
20.9 25.0 57.6 33.1
20.2 26.4 54.1 36.3
4 day 21.2 25.5 34.3
5 day 59.7
6 day 58.8
36.7 36.7 64.8 48.4 57.6 40.5
37.5 44.8 53.9 48.8
7 day 62.3
14 day 65.9
43.0 42.5 64.9 52.0 63.0 52.1
42.9 49.7 61.6 62.4 60.4 58.7
21 day 60.3
31.3 28.9 41.1 51.0 65.8 63.6 52.6 60.0 34.7 54.8
28.2 32.0 41.5 49.6 59.1 62.8 47.6 40.8 60.8
28 day 28.3 29.9 60.7 47.8


Thus, a cuboidal with an equivalent cross

section is used in the finite element model.
Then the model was calibrated using a data set
corresponding to one concrete mix. The
calibration is mainly required to adjust the
delaying effect due to the admixtures.
Thereafter for other 9 concrete mixes the model
is used to develop the hydration model and
using the finite element model the temperature
variation is obtained and verified with the
experimental temperature variation (see Figure
2). The developed curves for the variation of
degree of hydration for the 10 concretes are
shown in Figure 3.


The relationship between the degree of

hydration and the compressive strength is
intended to be developed statistically in this
research. The relationship is assumed to be in
the following manner.
Figure 1. Recorded temperature histories

Hc = ∑ pi Hi (1) (4)
Hi = γ βi λ µ si Hi,T0 (Qi)exp{-Ei/R[1/T -1/T0]} CS(t) – Compressive strength at t days
(2) CS(28) – Compressive strength at 28 days
DoH(t) – Degree of hydration at t days
Qi = ʃ Hidt (3) DoH(28) – Degree of hydration at 28 days
f() – A function
Hi,T0 : Reference hear generation of ith Thus, the available data of the concretes labeled
mineral component per unit weight C1 to C8 is plotted according to the above
at constant temperature T0 (i=1 to 4 relationship and the resulted plot is presented in
corresponding to C3S, C2S, C3A Figure 4.
and C4AF)
Pi : Weight composition ratio
Qi : Accumulated heat Model Experimental
R : Gas constant 40
Ei/R : Thermal activity
Temperature (0C)

T0 : Reference temperature 35
T : Temperature
The above hydration model is combined with a
finite element analysis programme, ANSYS for
the thermal analysis. The element type 20
SOLID70 which is a three dimensional 0.0 12.0 24.0 36.0 48.0 60.0 72.0
isoperimetric eight node solid element is used Time (h)
to model the geometry of the experimental
setup. Due to the cuboidal geometry of the Figure 2. Example of comparison of model vs
elements, it was difficult to model the experiment for temperature variation (For CB)
cylindrical shape of the mould of the specimen.


0.9 70
y = 31.897ln(x) - 72.667

0.7 60
R² = 0.89
0.5 50

C3 40
0.2 C4
0.1 CA
0 7 14 21 28
Age (days)
10 20 30 40 50 60 70
CS(t) (N/mm2)
0.6 70

C6 y = 11.371e0.0279x
0.4 60
R² = 0.89
CS(t) (N/mm2) 50
0.2 C8

0.1 CB 40
0 7 14 21 28 30
Age (days)

Figure 3. Degree of hydration with time 10

10 20 30 40 50 60 70

Considering the coefficient of determination [CS(28)*DoH(t)]/DoH(28)

(R2) of 0.89 it can be seen that the relationship
is sufficiently accurate to be used in a Figure 4. Plot of Equation (3) with
prediction model. Thus, the developed
statistical relationship can be used to predict the experimental data
compressive strength at any age if some known experimental strength values and the
compressive strength value at early age and the developed degree of hydration curves for the
thermal history are known. concretes labeled as A & B. The 3-day strength
values are used to predict the strength at later
6. VALIDATION OF THE MODEL stages. The inverse relationship given in second
graph of Figure 3 is used to predict the strength
The developed equation is used to predict the before 28 days. The percentage error is
compressive strengths at specified ages using a calculated compared with the measured

Table 5. Predicted compressive strengths vs experimental compressive strengths

Concrete Predicted Experimental Error

label Age DoH Strength Strength Error %
CA 3 day 0.7189 31.9
CA 28 day 0.8004 42.1 41.1 -1.0 -2.3
CB 3 day 0.7115 48.3
CB 21 day 0.7729 53.4 55.4 2.0 3.6
CB 28 day 0.7734 55.4 57.8 2.4 4.1
Mean 1.8 3.3
(all strength values are in N/mm2)


compressive strength values as given in Table Benaicha, M., Burtschell, Y. & Alaoui, A. H. 2016,
5. Prediction of compressive strength at early age of
concrete- Application of maturity, Journal of Building
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N/mm2 (1.8%) in the tested concretes indicating Chengju, G. 1989. Maturity of Concrete: Method of
Predicting Early- Stage Strength. ACI Materials
the satisfactory accuracy of the model.
Journal. Vol 86. No 4. Pp 341-353.
Cervera, M., Faria, R., Oliver, J & Prato, T. 2002.
7 CONCLUSION Numerical modelling of concrete curing, regarding
hydration and temperature phenomena. Computers
A methodology has been developed to estimate and Structures. Vol 80. Pp 1511-1521.
the compressive strength development using Chidiac. S. E., Mahomoodzadeh, F. & Moutassem, F.
early age compressive strength measurements 2013. Compressive strength model for concrete.
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ratios of degree of hydration at a particular age between heat of hydration and compressive strength
over 28 days and the ratios of compressive of common cement. Construction and Building
strength at the corresponding age over 28 days. Materials. Vol 150. Pp 321-332.
Bentz, D. P., Barrett, T., Varga, I. D. L. & Weiss, W. J.
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predictability. Strength results of two concrete Vol 1. No 1. Pp 1-14.
mixes were used to validate the model and the Boumiz, A., Vernet, C. & Tenoudjit, F. C. 1996.
predicted strengths were found to be Mechanical properties of cement pastes and mortars at
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No 3-4. Pp 94-106.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT Kaszynska, M. 2002. Early age properties of high-
strength/high-performance concrete. Cement and
Concrete Composites. Vol 24. Pp 253-261.
The authors wish to acknowledge the Loan, M., Radu, L. & Mandoiu, C. 2007. Software-
financial support provided by INSEE Cement enhanced method for rapid determination of the early
for this project. Help from all the laboratory heat of hydration of cement CEM II/A and B-S to
technical staff members is also predict the 28-day compressive strength. International
acknowledged. Proficiency Testing Conference. 11-13 October 2017.
Sinaia, Romania.
Schutter, G. D. & Taerwe, L. 1996. Degree of hydration-
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