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Journal of Building Engineering 20 (2018) 123–129

Contents lists available at ScienceDirect

Journal of Building Engineering

journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/jobe

Effects of sulfate rich solid waste activator on engineering properties and T

durability of modified high volume fly ash cement based SCC

Hoang-Anh Nguyena, Ta-Peng Changb, , Jeng-Ywan Shihc
Department of Rural Technology, College of Rural Development, Can Tho University, Can Tho City 90000, Vietnam
Department of Civil and Construction Engineering, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology (NTUST) (Taiwan Tech), Taipei 106, Taiwan, R.O.C
Department of Chemical Engineering, Ming Chi University of Technology, New Taipei City 243, Taiwan, R.O.C


Keywords: The engineering properties and durability of high volume low calcium fly ash (HVFA) cement based self-com-
Circulating Fluidized Bed Combustion Fly Ash pacting concrete (SCC) modified with addition of circulating fluidized bed combustion (CFBC) fly ash were
High Volume Fly Ash explored. Experimental results showed that an addition of CFBC fly ash did not influence the stability and
Self-Compacting Concrete passing and filling abilities of modified HVFA cement based SCCs. But its presence significantly improved the
Engineering Properties
compressive strength, bonding behavior, and durability of the hardened SCC specimens. The added small
amount of CFBC fly ash was found to increase the earlier compressive strength of hardened SCC specimen at one
day of curing up to 43.8% higher than that of the control SCC specimen, which indicates a remarkable con-
tribution of CFBC fly ash addition to shortening the time of construction. At ages of 3, 7, and 28 days, such
increases were up to 30.2%, 22.3%, and 17.8%, respectively.

1. Introduction has been apparently to accept that sustainable development for cement
manufacture has to be evaluated based on not only the individual triple
Nowadays, the modern cement factories have been under intense bottom lines of economic, environmental, and social performance but
pressure to reduce the environmental impacts of their products and also to consider their interdependencies and costs [3–5].
operations. Therefore, the sustainable development principle has be- High volume low calcium fly ash (HVFA) concrete is one of the most
come the most critical issue in the cement industry. In general, the promising candidates for achieving the sustainability development of
sustainable manufacture of cement has been defined as the creating concrete industry because it significantly cuts the CO2 emission per unit
process of manufactured products during which the negative effects on volume of concrete as compared with the conventional plain ordinary
environmental impacts and the consumptions of applied energy, human Portland cement (OPC) concrete [4]. Normally, the HVFA cementing
labor, and natural resources are minimized [1,2]. binders are fabricated by very high quantity of low calcium fly ash (at
According to the definitions, sustainable manufacturing must ad- least 50% by weight) as partial replacement for OPC so that they have
dress the integration of all the three indicators of environmental, social, been widely applied for constructing fields without crucial require-
and economic considerations, known as the triple bottom lines of sus- ments for high mechanical properties [6,7]. By using low water to
tainability. Sustainable achievement in accordance with economical binder ratio (W/B) and high amount of superplasticizer (SP), the Ca-
challenge to obtain cost-effective environmentally friendly building nada Centre for Mineral and Energy Technology (CANMET) paved the
products has been defined as a development of manufacturing process promising way for manufacturing high performance HVFA cement
producing the resulting products with high potential of competitiveness concrete qualifying most requirements of various kinds of construction
through time. In accordance to environmental challenge, the sustain- because of its mostly satisfactory engineering and durability perfor-
able development has to be responsible for the consideration of mini- mance [6–15]. However, the emerged impacts of applying the HVFA
mizing the use of non-renewable natural resources and reducing/ cements for construction materials are the prolonged setting properties
eliminating the environmental impact. Also, the sustainable achieve- and decreases in both early and long-term compressive strengths
ment in accordance with the social challenge has been related to the [7,12,16,17]. Therefore, the pretreated fly ash by mechanical grinding,
promotion of both developed society and improved human life quality applying accelerated curing, or addition of mineral or chemical acti-
associated with the renewed quality of wealth and jobs. Currently, it vator has widely adapted for fresh HVFA cement [17–24]. In jobsite

Corresponding author.
E-mail address: tpchang@mail.ntust.edu.tw (T.-P. Chang).

Received 4 April 2018; Received in revised form 12 July 2018; Accepted 12 July 2018
2352-7102/ © 2018 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
H.-A. Nguyen et al. Journal of Building Engineering 20 (2018) 123–129

application, the chemical activation with gypsum/anhydrite (Ca- Table 1

SO4·2H2O/CaSO4) [25] has been the most preferable technique instead Physical properties and chemical compositions of raw materials.
of using either sodium sulfate (Na2SO4) or commercial strong alkaline Portland cement Class F fly ash CFBC fly asha
[25–29] due to requirements for safety and economy. (OPC) (FFA) (CFA)
During the past decades, the power demand for human life has been
Specific gravity 3.15 2.17 2.70
significantly dependent on power generation from the pulverized coal
Blaine fineness, cm2/g 3450 2630 3000
combustion which can accelerate the issues on environmental pollution SiO2, wt% 20.42 58.33 5.22
and climate change. Recently, the requirement for clean power gen- Al2O3, wt% 4.95 26.23 2.21
eration has led to the annual replacement of the traditional coal com- Fe2O3, wt% 3.09 3.49 0.58
bustion by a new burning technique such as the circulating fluidized CaO, wt% 61.96 5.72 56.80
MgO, wt% 3.29 1.26 2.06
bed combustion (CFBC) process which significantly contributes to the
SO3, wt% 2.40 – 32.40
reduction of the SO2 and NOx emission through the reactions of these Na2O, wt% – 0.27 –
gases with added phases of CaO from calcium rich raw materials (such K2O, wt% – 0.48 –
as limestone or dolomite) as absorbents during the burning process TiO2, wt% – 1.46 –
L.O.I, wt% 1.75 2.76 –
[30,31]. Therefore, anhydrous anhydrite (CaSO4) is formed in residual
solid waste, i.e., the CFBC ashes, causing its physical and chemical a
Industrial by-product of desulfurization process with a large amount of
properties different from those of traditional coal fly ashes. Such the retained calcium sulfate.
high free lime (f-CaO) from the unreacted absorbent and the anhydrite
(CaSO4) limit the utilization of CFBC ashes due to the expansion con-
cern by ettringite (AFt) formation [32]. Therefore, CFBC ashes sig-
nificantly contribute to the annually increased solid wastes with sulfur,
possibly leading to the pollutions in air due to the ashes and on surface
water due to the high alkalis.
The utilization of the sulfur rich solid wastes such as CFBC fly ash in
cement/concrete industry, particularly in HVFA cement concretes
seems to be one of the most efficient ways to mitigate the aforemen-
tioned impacts due to the dual benefits, i.e., both the issue of en-
vironmental pollution caused by alkali-sulfate rich CFBC fly ash and the
cost of resultant concretes are reduced. However, such interesting goal
has not been established. The current study aims at estimating the effect
of the CFBC fly ash addition to partially substitute for low calcium Class
F fly ash on the enhanced engineering properties and durability of
modified HVFA cement based SCC. The crucial contribution of the
current study is not only to initially propose an innovative utilization of
CFBC fly ashes as admixture additive in the modified HVFA cement
concrete leading to significant reductions of concrete cost [4,33–35]
and sulfate rich waste discharge, but also to propose an innovative way
to enhance the application of HVFA concrete with satisfactory early
mechanical properties and high later engineering and durability prop-
erties. In Taiwan, the approximate costs of bulk cement and raw fine/
coarse aggregate are about 100 USD/ton and 14.5 USD/ton, respec-
tively. The costs for both the circulating fluidized bed combustion fly
ash (CFA) and low calcium Class F fly ash (FFA) are about 20 USD/ton.
The market price of ready-mixed concrete with 28-day compressive
strength of 60 MPa is about 100 USD per cubic meter of fresh concrete.
In current study, half of 530 kg/m3 cement was replaced by CFA/FFA in
the HVFA cement concrete which reduced about 21.2% of the price of
100 USD per cubic meter of ready-mixed concrete.

2. Experimental program Fig. 1. XRD patterns of raw materials.

2.1. Materials and mix proportions

good bonding between binding matrix and aggregates, both the sand
In this study, Type I ordinary Portland cement (OPC) accordant to and stone were carefully washed before being used. In this study, the
ASTM C150, low calcium Class F fly ash (FFA), circulating fluidized bed workability of the fresh SCCs was controlled by using Type G super-
combustion (CFBC) fly ash (CFA), and commercial gypsum were used to plasticizer (SP). To produce the reinforced concrete specimens for the
produce cementing mixtures. The physicochemical properties and pull-out test, the deformed commercial steel rebars with diameter of
analysis for mineralization of these materials were detailed in Table 1 16 mm were used. The nominal yield strength of the steel rebars used in
and Fig. 1, respectively. Accordingly, the Class F fly ash mainly com- this study was 420 MPa.
prises crystals of mullite and quartz. On the other hand, the CFBC fly To completely estimate the effect of the CFBC fly ash (CFA) on the
ash mostly comprises anhydrite, free lime (f-CaO), and portlandite. In engineering behaviors of the high volume low calcium fly ash (HVFA)
this study, the coarse and fine aggregates were the natural crushed cement paste and concrete with reduced laboratory work, the experi-
stone with maximum size of 20 mm and specific gravity of 2.65 and the mental program was separated into two steps. The first step was es-
river sand with fineness modulus (FM) of 2.9 and specific gravity of tablished to optimize the addition of CFA amount to achieve the
2.67, respectively. Water absorptions of the river sand and natural modified HVFA cement paste with highest compressive strength.
crushed stone were 1.0% and 0.8%, respectively. To produce SCC with During the first step, the reference HVFA cement paste (Control mix)

H.-A. Nguyen et al. Journal of Building Engineering 20 (2018) 123–129

was produced with mixture of 50% plain OPC and 50% FFA by weight. Table 3
The distilled water to binder ration (W/B) was fixed at 0.3. Because it Mix proportions of the HVFA cement SCCs (kg/m3).
has been apparently to accept that the sulfur trioxide (SO3) was an Mix Destination OPC FFA CFA G FA CA W SP
active ingredient crucially influencing the engineering properties of the
resultant samples, the effect of SO3 rich CFBC fly ash on performance of Control 265 265 – – 922 725 169 3.4
CFA3.63 266 247 19 – 922 725 170 3.4
HVFA cement paste was assessed in comparison with the effect of
GS2.00 265 254 – 11 922 725 170 3.4
commercial gypsum. In this study, two sets of HVFA cement pastes with
addition of sulfate activators were manufactured. The proportions of Note: FFA = Class F fly ash; CFA = CFBC fly ash; G = commercial gypsum; FA
the first set consisted of CFBC fly ash replacing the 50 wt% of FFA of = fine aggregate; CA = coarse aggregate; W= water; SP = Type G super-
normal HVFA cement pastes by 1.0, 2.5, 5.0, and 7.5 wt%, respectively. plasticizer.
The second set consisted of commercial gypsum replacing the 50 wt% of
FFA by 0.55, 1.38, 3.75, and 4.13 wt%, respectively. It is obviously to The optimized mix proportion of modified HVFA cement pastes
figure out that using either CFBC fly ash or commercial gypsum as the were used to manufacture SCC for further study. The cylinders with
sulfate activator, the amount of SO3 in the modified HVFA cement diameter of 100 mm and length of 200 mm were cast for the com-
pastes were kept to be equivalent to 0.324, 0.810, 1.620, and 2.430 wt pressive strength test in accordance to ASTM C39, the ultrasonic wave
%, respectively. The optimum amounts of sulfate activators (i.e., CFA velocity (UPV) accordant to ASTM C597, rapid chloride penetration test
and commercial gypsum) were observed based on the analysis on im- (RCPT) complying with ASTM C1202, and surface electrical resistivity
provement compressive strength of the modified HVFA cement pastes (SER) test using four-point Wenner probe in accordance with AASHTO
and such optimum amount of sulfate activators were used to estimate TP95 and previous studies [42,43]. The reinforced SCC cubes with di-
their effect on engineering properties of modified HVFA cement based mensions of 150 × 150 × 150 mm were prepared for the pull-out test
self-compacting concrete (SCC), the bonding behavior of such concrete in compliance with RILEM/CEB/FIP-RC6/83 [44]. In this study, the
with deformed steel bars, and durability properties in terms of electrical deformed steel rebars were cut to a length of 600 mm, and anchored
and penetrating chloride resistances of SCC specimens. The water to lengths of the ribbed steel bars were five times of the diameter of the
binder ratio (W/B), the ratio of paste to concrete mixture by volume, bars. The pull-out test consisted of a hydraulic testing machine
and the ratio of sand to mixture of sand and crushed stone by weight equipped with jaws applying a tensile force to longer length of the steel
were fixed at 0.32, 0.4, and 0.55, respectively. The mix proportions of rebar. The restrained movement of the concrete bulk was created by a
the HVFA cement pastes and SCCs are given in Table 2 and 3, respec- fixed steel plate with a hole in the middle where the steel rebar passing
tively. through. The loading speed of 1.2 mm/min was applied in this study.
In this study, the SCC instead of the normal concrete was in- The relative displacement between the concrete bulk and steel bar
vestigated due to its various advantages of the former in both labora- known as steel rebar slippage was observed by measuring the dis-
tory study and innovative potential for jobsite application [36–41]. For placement of the anchored length. The force-slippage relationship was
example, the resulting self-compacting concrete (SCC) can avoid the observed by the test data from a load cell and a linear variable differ-
influence of applied compacting energy on the experimental test results ential transducer (LVDT), connected to a data logger, respectively. After
and to assure the uniform quality of the specimens because the SCC has being cast and cured in mold at 25 °C and 65% relative humidity (RH)
special ability to flow under its own weight with adequate homogeneity for 24 h, the specimens were demolded and cured in saturated lime
and high resistance to bleeding and segregation. In addition, the SCC water at 25 °C until the testing time.
using a large amount of industrial waste has apparent advantage of
increasing sustainability of concrete construction and reducing en- 3. Results and discussions
vironmental pollution. In this study, the fresh properties of SCCs were
verified by the flow spread of fresh concrete to reach the states of ac- 3.1. Optimizing analysis on ingredients of sulfate modified HVFA cement
cepted stability (without segregation and bleeding) according to ASTM pastes
C1611 and good passing ability (without visible blocking) with J-Ring
according to ASTM C1621, respectively. The optimized ingredient of the modified HVFA cement was ana-
lyzed in accordance with the compressive strengths of the hardened
specimens as shown in Fig. 2. Generally, the compressive strengths of
2.2. Casting and test methods
the HVFA cement pastes increased with the increase of ages. A com-
parison showed that HVFA cement pastes modified with reasonable
To optimize ingredients of modified HVFA cement pastes, the cubic
quantity of SO3 contributed to CFBC fly ash or gypsum had compressive
specimens of pastes with dimensions of 50 × 50 × 50 mm were cast for
strengths higher than the Control paste specimens at all ages. The
the test of compressive strength accordant to ASTM C109. After being
amount of SO3 additive was optimized by in the additions of the CFBC
cast, the specimens were cured in mold at 25 °C and 60% relative hu-
fly ash and commercial gypsum in range of 2.5–5.0 and 1.38–2.75 wt%,
midity (RH). After 24 h, the samples were removed and cured in satu-
rated lime water at 25 °C until the ages of testing.

Table 2
Mix proportions of the HVFA cement pastes (wt%).
Mix Destination OPC FFA CFA Gypsum

Control 50.00 50.00 – –

CFA1.00 50.00 49.00 1.00 –
CFA2.50 50.00 47.50 2.50 –
CFA5.00 50.00 45.00 5.00 –
CFA7.50 50.00 42.50 7.50 –
GS0.55 50.00 49.45 – 0.55
GS1.38 50.00 48.62 – 1.38
GS2.75 50.00 47.25 – 2.75
GS4.13 50.00 45.87 – 4.13
Fig. 2. Compressive strength of HVFA cement pastes.

H.-A. Nguyen et al. Journal of Building Engineering 20 (2018) 123–129

Table 4
Fresh properties of the HVFA cement SCCs.
Mixes Slump flow (mm) Slump flow with J-Ring Unit Weight (kg/m3)

Control 640 620 2178

CFA3.63 650 630 2217
GS2.00 660 650 2197

respectively. The reasons could be because of the acceleration of alite

(C3S) hydration consisted of OPC as reported by Brown, Harner and
Prosen [45]. In addition, the modified HVFA cement pastes with pre-
sence of SO42- ions led to the early precipitation of expansive ettringite
(AFt) crystals which also significantly contributed to improving the
microstructures of the sulfate activated HVFA cements by the refine-
ment of pores [45]. In this study, the adding CFBC fly ash to improve
early compressive strength of the HVFA cement pastes was slightly Fig. 3. Compressive strengths of HVFA cement based SCCs.
more effective than the addition of commercial gypsum, which implies
that CFBC fly ash with presence of free lime (f-CaO) and anhydrite
CaSO4 possibly contributed to the earlier dissolution of Class F fly ash curing with an exception of 1-day compressive strength. Such result, as
particles induced by the increase of the pH value. aforementioned, was due to the contribution of the free lime (f-CaO)
(included in CFBC fly ash) to the accelerated hydration of both OPC and
Class F fly ash (FA) particles. However, the lower 1-day compressive
3.2. Fresh properties of HVFA cement self-compacting concrete (SCC) strength of the modified HVFA cement SCC with CFBC fly ash addition
(CFA3.63 mix) as compared with that with addition of gypsum (GS2.00
The fresh properties of SCCs with or without addition of sulfate mix) could result from a delayed dissolution of CFBC fly ash (especially,
activators are summarized in Table 4. Accordingly, the flow spread of the outer-layer of anhydrite (CaSO4) by addition of superplasticizer
the reference HVFA cement SCC without sulfate addition (Control mix) (SP). The obtained result of compressive strength not only confirmed
and modified HVFA cement SCCs with sulfate activator consisted in the experimental results preliminarily reported for hardened pastes but
either gypsum or CFBC fly ash (GS2.00 or CFA3.63 mix) fell in a high also implied a good bonding behavior between cementing matrix with
range of slump flow (600–650 mm) which is crucially required for CFBC fly ash-modified HVFA and aggregates in resulting concrete.
jobsite application. In this study, the visual stability index (VSI) values
determined during the slump flow test of the SCCs with or without
sulfate addition in accordance with ASTM C1611 were from 0 to 1. As 3.4. Bonding behavior of HVFA cement self-compacting concrete (SCC)
pointed in ASTM C1611, the resulting SCCs illustrated acceptable sta-
bility due to invisible segregation and bleeding. The passing ability of The effects of CFBC fly ash and gypsum replacing for low calcium
SCCs with J-Ring test in accordance to ASTM C1621 was conducted to Class F fly ash (FFA) on 28-day bonding behavior of the covering sul-
access the blocking resistance of the resulting concretes. As can be seen fate-modified HVFA cement SCC specimens with embedded steel bars in
in Table 4, the difference between slump flow and J-Ring flow of the comparison with that of the control SCC specimens are shown in Fig. 4
SCCs with or without sulfate activator fell into a range of 0–20 mm, and Fig. 5. Fig. 4 shows that as being associated with the results of
which represented for an excellent passing ability of the resulting compressive strength, the bonding strength of the modified HVFA ce-
concretes due to no visible blocking. In addition, these values of flow ment SCC specimens increased up to nearly 10% with sulfate addition
spread and J-Ring flow of the fresh SCCs led to an apparent prediction contributed to either CFBC fly ash or gypsum, apparently indicates the
that such concretes owned a filling capacity (including passing ability high feasibility to widen the field application of the proposed modified
and filling ability) at high level as being suggested by Hwang, Khayat HVFA cement based SCC.
and Bonneau [46]. According to above analysis, the addition of sulfate The load-slip relationship of reinforced SCC made with gypsum/
supplied from either gypsum or CFBC fly ash did not cause influence on CFBC fly ash-modified HVFA cement based SCC in comparison with the
workability of HVFA cement based SCC.

3.3. Compressive strength of HVFA cement self-compacting concrete (SCC)

The result of compressive strength of the SCC is shown in Fig. 3.

Accordingly, the compressive strengths of all SCCs increased with ages
of curing. In comparison with the Control mix without sulfate additive,
the HVFA cement SCCs with CFBC fly ash or commercial gypsum
(GS2.00 or CFA3.63 mix) had higher compressive strengths at all ages,
especially at early ages of curing (1–3 days). In this study, the addition
of small amount of CFBC fly ash (3.36 wt%) sharply increased the
compressive strength of the modified HVFA cement concrete up to 43.8,
30.2%, 22.3%, and 17.8% at 1, 3, 7, and 28 days of curing time. The
reasons for the enhancement of the compressive strengths of the HVFA
cement SCCs modified with sulfate additive were well discussed in
above sections. A comparison showed that the improvement on com-
pressive strength of the modified HVFA cement SCC with addition of
CFBC fly ash (CFA3.63 mix) was slightly higher than that with addition Fig. 4. Bonding strengths of control and sulfate modified HVFA cement based
of gypsum (GS2.00 mix) with equivalent amount of SO3 at all ages of SCCs at 28 days.

H.-A. Nguyen et al. Journal of Building Engineering 20 (2018) 123–129

sulfate addition resulting in an increase in bonding strength. In addi-

tion, Fig. 5 also shows that the reinforced SCC of modified HVFA ce-
ment with sulfate has developed a higher residual bond resistance
better than that of the reinforced SCC with the reference HVFA cement
without addition of sulfate. This result indicates an innovative ad-
vantage of modified HVFA cement SCC with gypsum/CFBC fly ash on
increasing the safety factor of structural reinforced concrete under
overloading stage due to the conservative estimation in the design
A comparison showed that the bonding behaviors of the similar
embedded steel rebar and the covering bulk concretes with either CFBC
fly ash or gypsum modified HVFA were fairly comparable possibly due
to the quite similar 28-day compressive strengths. Such result implied
that the CFBC fly ash could be used to entirely replace for the com-
mercial gypsum in the reinforced concretes with HVFA cement mod-
ified with sulfate additive without any impacts of the compatibility.
Further evidence of such improved bonding properties of the gypsum/
Fig. 5. Slip-force relationship between embedded steel bars and both control
CFBC fly ash-modified HVFA cement SCC will be shown and properly
set and sulfate modified HVFA cement based SCCs at 28 days. discussed based on the improvement on microstructural indicators of
the SCCs with modified HVFA cement with gypsum/CFBC fly ash in the
below sections.
reference reinforced SCC made with HVFA cement without addition of
sulfate is illustrated in Fig. 5, which clearly pointed out its apparently
improved bonding behavior. Fig. 5 shows a full stage of bonding be- 3.5. Pore structure of HVFA cement based SCCs
havior consisted of three progressive stages of micro-slip, internal
cracking, and descending for both the control set and the CFBC fly ash- 3.5.1. Ultrasonic pulse velocity (UPV)
modified HVFA cement based reinforced SCCs. The micro-slip stage of The UPV measurements of the resulting hardened SCCs with HVFA
load-slip curves is illustrated by the linearly sharp ascending up to cement are shown in Fig. 6. Accordingly, the UPVs of the SCCs with
about 60–70% of the ultimate applied forces. Normally, the external HVFA cement increased with the curing ages. The HVFA cement based
load applied during this stage is not large enough to cause obvious slip SCCs modified with the CFBC fly ash (CFA3.63 mix) or the commercial
obtained from the free end of the embedded steel bar. Afterward, gypsum (GS2.00 mix) had the UPV values higher than those of the
however, a distinctly nonlinearly slip-load relationship is clearly de- control SCC specimens without addition of sulfate activator (Control
termined, which implies an occurrence of internal cracking resulted mix) at all days. Such result indicates a superior microstructure of hy-
from a remarkable increase in the external load applied. It is believed drated products of the HVFA cement modified with sulfate additive to
that during such stage an exhausted bond between the steel bar and that of the reference normal HVFA cement possibly resulted from the
surrounding concrete was occurred because of the accelerated relative accelerated hydration of the ingredients of modified HVFA cement with
increase of relative dislocation between the embedded steel bar and sulfate additive. The UPV measurement of SCC with modified HVFA
covering bulk of concrete. A continuing increase of the applied load cement with CFBC fly ash (CFA3.63 mix) is slightly higher than that
illustrated by the nonlinearly ascending branch to reach the maximum with commercial gypsum (GS2.00 mix) at both early and later ages,
applied load as shown by the peaks in Fig. 5 is associated with a bond which clearly implies an advantage of active free lime (f-CaO) of CFBC
resistance of the reinforced concrete systems contributed to the me- fly ash to accelerate the hydration of both ingredients of FFA and OPC
chanical aggregate interlock. Indeed, during this stage the contribution in HVFA cement. The increase in UPV measurement of the modified
of frictional resistance to the bond resistance of the reinforced concretes HVFA cement based SCCs with sulfate activator (CFBC fly ash or
is neglected because of the wedging occurred between the embedded gypsum) apparently supported the improved compressive and bonding
steel bar and covering mortar of surrounding concrete. Further increase strengths of these specimens as mentioned above. Moreover, the higher
in the external load applied leads to a descending branch of load-slip UPVs of the CFA modified HVFA cement based SCCs (CFA3.63 mix) as
curves representing a breakdown of bond strength and resultant de- compared with commercial gypsum (GS2.00 mix) obviously suggested
velopment of residual bond resistance from which the load becomes
nearly constant and is less than approximately one-half of the maximum
applied load [47]. It has been highly agreed that the higher value of the
residual bonding resistance is related to the better chemical adhesion of
cementing binder and could be associated with the better performance
of the reinforced concretes destroyed by a certain overload bearing
condition [48].
Although both the reinforced SCCs made with control HVFA cement
and with sulfate-modified HVFA cement illustrates the similar shapes of
load-slip curves under external load applied as above mentioned, the
difference in magnitude of applied load value between these bonding
behaviors was obviously observed. As being shown in Fig. 5, the ad-
dition of 3.63% CFBC fly ash or 2.00% gypsum leads to an increase in
both maximum elastic load (at the end of micro-slip stage) and ultimate
applied load (at the peak of the curve) of reinforced SCC with modified
HVFA cement SCC with sulfate as compared with the reinforced SCC
with the reference HVFA cement. Such results suggest that the addition
of gypsum/CFBC fly ash makes the binding matrix of the modified
HVFA cement SCC stronger than that of the reference SCC without Fig. 6. UPV measurement of HVFA cement based SCCs with various ages.

H.-A. Nguyen et al. Journal of Building Engineering 20 (2018) 123–129

significantly increases the values of SER and decrease those of RCPT of

the modified SCC specimens at 28-days as compared with reference SCC
specimens. Such improvement of resistance to penetrating chloride ion
also confirms a denser microstructure to increase the UPV values and
decrease the water absorption as mentioned in Section 3.6. In the
meantime, the modified HVFA cement based SCC with CFBC fly ash
(CFA3.63 mix) has better ability to resist chloride ion penetration than
that with commercial gypsum (GS2.00 mix). Such better resistance of
the CFBC fly ash-modified HVFA cement based SCC specimens could be
attributed to the contribution of free-lime (f-CaO) and/or portlandite to
accelerating the hydration of ingredients of cementing matrix, espe-
cially the accelerated hydration of FFA particles.

4. Conclusions and recommendations

The additions of circulating fluidized bed combustion fly ash and

Fig. 7. Water absorption of HVFA cement based SCCs in relation with UPV
Class F fly ash have been shown to enhance both engineering properties
measurements at age of 28 days. and durability of high volume low calcium fly ash (HVFA) cement
based self-compacting concrete (SCC). According to the experimental
results reported in this study, the following conclusions can be drawn:
a feasibility of total replacement commercial gypsum by the CFBC fly
ash to produce the sulfate-modified HVFA cement based SCCs with high
1. With equivalent sulfur additive, the addition of sulfate resourced
from gypsum or CFBC fly ash resulted in the sulfate modified HVFA
cement pastes/concretes with fairly comparable mechanical prop-
3.5.2. Water absorption erties, bonding behavior with similar embedded steel rebar, and
The result of water absorption of the HVFA cement based SCCs at 28 durability.
days is shown in Fig. 7. The lower values of water absorption of mod- 2. The addition of gypsum/CFBC fly ash significantly improves both
ified HVFA cement based SCCs with either gypsum (GS2.00 mix) or early and later compressive strengths of the HVFA cement based
CFBC fly ash (CFA3.63 mix) than those of the reference mix (Control SCC modified with sulfate. In this study, the modified HVFA cement
mix) were observed. As coinciding with the increase in UPV measure- based SCC with 3.63 wt% CFBC fly ash as the replacement of Class F
ments, these decreases of water absorption, which were related to lower fly ash has the compressive strengths of 18.4, 33.2, 40.0 and
porosity, indicated the denser microstructures of the modified HVFA 50.2 MPa at ages of 1, 3, 7, and 28 days which can indicate an in-
cement based SCC with addition of sulfate activator (gypsum or CFBC crease of 43.8, 30.2%, 22.3%, and 17.8% higher than those of the
fly ash) than those of the control HVFA cement based SCC without control set of HVFA cement based SCC. Especially, such significant
sulfate addition. Such result strongly supported the improvement on increase of up to 43.8% of 1-day early compressive strength of the
not only the engineering properties (compressive and bonding modified HVFA cement based SCC with CFBC fly ash apparently
strengths) of the SCCs with modified HVFA cement with sulfate addi- shows a very high potential feasibility of using such SCC to shorten
tion but also its durability as illustrated in next sections. the construction time of structural reinforced concrete.
3. The incorporation of a small amount of gypsum/CFBC fly ash into
3.6. Electrical indication of SCCs’ ability to resist chloride ion penetration of modified HVFA cement based SCC significantly increases the
HVFA cement based SCCs bonding strength between the covering concrete and deformed steel
bar up to nearly 10%. Such result obviously indicates an innovative
The electrical indication of ability of HVFA cement based SCCs to advantage of using CFBC fly ash to increase the integrity of resulting
resist chloride ion penetration is shown in Fig. 8, in which both 28-day structural reinforced concrete and the safety factor upon over-
measurements of surface electrical resistivity (SER) and rapid chloride loading stage due to the conservative estimation of bonding strength
penetration test (RCPT) of HVFA cement SCCs are simultaneously il- in design without taking account of such increase.
lustrated. The sulfate activator (either gypsum or CFBC fly ash) 4. The improved durability of the gypsum/CFBC fly ash-modified
HVFA cement based SCC is associated with its improved micro-
structure apparently supported by the significant increases in values
of UPV and SER and decreases in water absorption and total
Coulomb passed through RCPT test of concrete specimens.
5. The comparison of experimental results also shows that the in-
dustrial by-product CFBC fly ash could completely replace the
somewhat more expensive commercial gypsum in the sulfate-mod-
ified HVFA cement based SCC to improve its engineering properties
and durability at both early and later ages.
6. Because the current HVFA cement concrete with half of Portland
cement being replaced by FFA/CFA has shown not only the proper
performance of durability and engineering properties and but also a
reduction of 21.2% cost, it fits the requirement of sustainable
achievement as a cost-effective environmentally friendly building
product suitable for practical construction.

Fig. 8. Electrical indication of resistance ability to chloride ion penetration for
HVFA cement based SCCs at age of 28 days. The authors would like to acknowledge the financial aids from

H.-A. Nguyen et al. Journal of Building Engineering 20 (2018) 123–129

National Taiwan University of Science and Technology and Ministry of 1009–1020.

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