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Materials 2014, 7(5), 3772-3785; doi:10.3390/ma7053772

Chemical, Mechanical, and Durability Properties of Concrete with Local Mineral Admixtures under Sulfate Environment in Northwest China

1 Hebei Research Institute of Construction & Geotechnical Investigation Company Limited, Research Center for Geotechnical Engineering of Shijiazhuang, Shijiazhuang 050031, Hebei, China 2 School of Transportation Science and Engineering, Harbin Institute of Technology, Harbin 150090, Heilongjiang, China 3 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996-2010, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 1 February 2014 / Revised: 15 April 2014 / Accepted: 4 May 2014 / Published: 13 May 2014
(This article belongs to the Section Advanced Composites)
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Over the vast Northwest China, arid desert contains high concentrations of sulfate, chloride, and other chemicals in the ground water, which poses serious challenges to infrastructure construction that routinely utilizes portland cement concrete. Rapid industrialization in the region has been generating huge amounts of mineral admixtures, such as fly ash and slags from energy and metallurgical industries. These industrial by-products would turn into waste materials if not utilized in time. The present study evaluated the suitability of utilizing local mineral admixtures in significant quantities for producing quality concrete mixtures that can withstand the harsh chemical environment without compromising the essential mechanical properties. Comprehensive chemical, mechanical, and durability tests were conducted in the laboratory to characterize the properties of the local cementitious mineral admixtures, cement mortar and portland cement concrete mixtures containing these admixtures. The results from this study indicated that the sulfate resistance of concrete was effectively improved by adding local class F fly ash and slag, or by applying sulfate resistance cement to the mixtures. It is noteworthy that concrete containing local mineral admixtures exhibited much lower permeability (in terms of chloride ion penetration) than ordinary portland cement concrete while retaining the same mechanical properties; whereas concrete mixtures made with sulfate resistance cement had significantly reduced strength and much increased chloride penetration comparing to the other mixtures. Hence, the use of local mineral admixtures in Northwest China in concrete mixtures would be beneficial to the performance of concrete, as well as to the protection of environment.
Keywords: concrete; mineral admixtures; sulfate attack; durability; chloride permeability concrete; mineral admixtures; sulfate attack; durability; chloride permeability
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Nie, Q.; Zhou, C.; Shu, X.; He, Q.; Huang, B. Chemical, Mechanical, and Durability Properties of Concrete with Local Mineral Admixtures under Sulfate Environment in Northwest China. Materials 2014, 7, 3772-3785.

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