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Solomon-Ayeh Structures, Building design and Planning Division CSIR-BRRI Kumasi

About 90% of modern, masonry buildings in urban areas of Ghana require the use of Ordinary Portland Cement(OPC)/Portland Lime Cement(PLC) for: concrete ; sandcrete + pavement blocks and bricks; jointing; plastering and screeding; tiling.

Increasing housing stock and other infrastructure demands increase use of cement and other binding(cementitous) materials, however:
Use of OPC/PLC imply; increased importation of clinker increased mining of limestone (from Buipe, Otekpelu, Nauli)

high cost of input raw materials

Use of Clay Pozzolana as additive to OPC/PLC

Clay fairly abundant in almost every district of Ghana. Requires relatively cheap start up capital. In presence of lime has cementitious properties, among others.

Engendering small production units in almost every district Employment

Increased housing stock

Increased rate
of construction

Increased purchasing power

Properties desired of hardened

cement mortar and concrete
High compressive strength
Durability Economic

Portland Clay- pozzolana cement when used in concrete should achieve these to make it worthwhile.

Chemical and Mechanical properties of Portland clay-pozzolana cement

Production of OPC/PLC
Main components of Portland cement: C3S C2S C3A C4AF SILICATES Silicates, main cementitious compounds



C-S-H gel + LIME

Beneficial and unbeneficial products of hydration

Beneficial product

C S H gel Unbeneficial by-products: (i) Free and combined lime (ii) Magnesia (iii) Calcium sulphate
(i), (ii), (iii) when react with water may expand and cause unsoundness of concrete. (iii) by formation of ettringite

Clay pozzolana as binder

Clay pozzolana sequestrates lime to form a cementitious material which, in addition to OPC/PLC improves binding property of Portland clay- pozzolana cement, among other useful attributes.


Level of cementation depends on:

- Mass of Free lime available to sequester; - Type of pozzolana; - Amount of pozzolana present.

Beneficial structural properties of concretes and rendering mortars made from Portland claypozzolana cement.
1. Strength - Designed mixes to C12, C25, C40 - Part replacement of Portland lime cement by clay pozzolana at 0, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50% by wt. - Complete immersion in water. - Test of compressive strength at 7, 28, 120 days Designed mix ratios, slumps and compressive strengths are shown in Table 1.0 and Figs. 2,3 and 4.

Fig. 2 - Compressive strengths for C12 concrete



12 Compressive strength(MPa)







60 Age(days)





Fig.3 - Compressive strengths for C25 concrete



Compressive strength(MPa)










60 Age(days)






Fig. 4 - Compressive strengths for C40 concrete


35 Compressive strength(MPa)

0POZ:100PLC 25 10POZ:90PLC 20POZ:80PLC 30POZ:70PLC 40POZ:60PLC 50POZ:50PLC 10



0 0 20 40 60 Age(days) 80 100 120 140

1.Compressive strengths for all % replacements are lower than those without replacement at early ages(less than 28 days); and, with the exception of C12 mixes, tend to be higher than mixes without replacement at higher ages. 2. The property in (1) tends to increase with increase in concrete grade. 3.Maximum compressive strengths are obtainable, for normal and high strength concrete mixes, for pozzolana replacements of between 10 to 20%.

(i) Concretes Concretes mixes designed to normal and high strength grades can made with Portland claypozzolana cement with an OPC/PLC replacement of between 10 20%. Such concretes need to be cured with the best available means to obtain maximum results. Clay- pozzolana cements are excellent when large concrete elements are to be cast, since gain of strength is low at early ages (because the cementwater reaction produces low heat ) and stresses due to rapid differential hardening will be minimal; reducing the likelihood of internal cracks.

(ii) Sandcrete blocks

Sandcrete blocks must have a minimum wet compressive strength of 1.4 MPa at 28-days. In fact, most sandcrete blocks do not achieve this, yet they seem to perform adequately because they are used for cladding ( the load being carried by beams/columns or when laid flat, as load-bearing masonry units). A maximum replacement of 30% of OPC/PLC in the sand/cement mortar mix should satisfy this requirement.

(iii) Jointing
In masonry construction, the desired result is to have a weak bedding and transverse joints and stronger blocks/bricks. cracks will occur within joints rather than through blockwork. joints can be caulked out and repaired, or when pointed can conveniently hide cracks. mortar of OPC/PLC and sand is considered too harsh and traditionally a more friable or plastic mortar has been preferred, and masonry cement or OPC and lime mix has been used. A 30% pozzolana replaced cement behaves like masonry cement

(iv) Tiling, Screeding and Plastering

Mortar for tile laying, wall plastering and floor screeding must be as plastic as possible (similar to jointing mortar).
A maximum of 30% OPC/PLC replacement by clay

pozzolana is recommended for both tile laying and wall plastering. Tiles must be soaked in water for at least 2hrs prior to laying, to prevent the absorption of the mortar moisture by the dry tile, which will lead to the spalling- off of tiles. For screeding, the percentage replacement should be a maximum of 20%, to offer higher resistance to abrasion by pedestrians.

2. Durability
Durability relates to how a structural element appears and performs whilst in service. Poor durability, whilst no imminently dangerous is likely to make users of a facility feel uncomfortable and unsafe and may prove costly to maintain. It may eventually lead to a collapse of the structure.

Durability may present itself in 4 ways.

(i) Cracking
Cracking in cement and concrete may be from:

Shrinkage cracks (when mortar is prevented by formwork or other surfaces from moving when it is setting and by the heat evolved during hydration). Excessive use of water in batching. Rapid loss of water necessary for hydration. Use of fine aggregate with too much silt and clay content (max. should be less than 4%). The use of Portland clay-pozzolana cement will reduce the heat of hydration and resist the sulphates and chlorides in silts and clays.

(ii) Sulphate and Chloride attack

Typical sources of sulphate and chloride solutions are:

- ground water of some clays; - some sands; -construction in saline environments (near sea or river); - sub-soil construction; -sewers, manholes, septic tanks and other harsh environment; - construction in areas of high water table.

Sulphate attack is shown by a whitish appearance, starting at the edges and corners, followed by cracking and spalling of concrete. This appearance is because sulphate attack results in the formation of gypsum and ettringite, both products occupying a greater volume than the compounds which they replace so that expansion of hardened concrete takes place.
These waters contain sodium, calcium or magnesium sulphates. The sulphates react with both Ca(OH)2 (lime) and the hydrated C3A to form gypsum and ettringite, respectively.

Extent of sulphate attack depends on its concentration

and the permeability of the concrete (ease with which sulphate can travel through the pore system). If the concrete is very permeable: water can percolate through its thickness and lime will be leached out. evaporation at far face of concrete leaves behind deposits of CaCO3 (formed by reaction of lime with CO2). This is known as efflorescence.

extensive leaching of lime will increase porosity so that concrete will become progressively weaker. Since C3A is attacked by sulphates, the vulnerabilty of concrete to sulphate attack can be reduced by the use of cement low in C3A (ie. Portland clay-pozzolana cement).

Attack by sea water

- Though sea water contains sulphates and chlorides, the presence of the latter ensures that sea-water attack is not generally accompanied by the expansion of concrete. The is gypsum and ettringite are more soluble in a chloride solution than in water, which means that they can be more easily leached out by the sea water. - Expansion may take place as aresult of the pressure exerted by the crystallization of salts in the pores of the concrete.

Crystalallization occurs above the high-water level, and it is by capillary action in the concrete. At the point of evaporation of water. Prevention:
Use of Portland clay-pozzolana cement; More importantly, by the use of concrete of low


3. Economy