Degree of hydration and gel/space ratio of high-volume fly ash/cement systems

L. Lam, Y. L. Wong, Chi Sun Poon

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

593 Citations (Scopus)


Although fly ash has been widely used in concrete as a cement replacement, little work has been done on determining the degree of hydration of high-volume fly ash/cement (FC) systems. In the present study, the degree of hydration of the cement in Portland cement (PC) paste was obtained by determining the non-evaporable water (Wn) content. The degree of reaction of the fly ash in FC pastes was determined using a selective dissolution method. Based on the relation between the degree of cement hydration and effective water-to-cement (w/c) ratio, the degree of hydration of the cement in FC pastes was also estimated. It was found that high-volume fly ash pastes underwent a lower degree of fly ash reaction, and in the pastes with 45% to 55% fly ash, more than 80% of the fly ash still remained unreacted after 90 days of curing while the hydration of the cement in high-volume fly ash pastes was enhanced because of the higher effective w/c ratio for the paste. This effect was more significant for the pastes with lower water-to-binder (w/b) ratios. Thus, preparing high-volume fly ash concrete at lower w/b ratios can result in less strength losses. This paper also introduces a model to describe the relationship between the w/c ratio and the degree of cement hydration and gel/space ratio. The gel/space ratios of the FC pastes, evaluated based on the proposed model, were found to be consistent with the gel/space ratio of PC pastes in terms of the relationship with compressive strength. The gel/space ratio data correlated (inversely) linearly with mercury intruded porosity, but the former correlated more with compressive strength than the latter.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)747-756
Number of pages10
JournalCement and Concrete Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • General Materials Science


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