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The University of Dublin

Trinity College

The Department of Civil, Structural and Environmental Engineering



Name: Andrew Wood

Supervised By: Dr. Sara Pavia


By: Andrew Wood

Supervisor: Dr. Sara Pavia

A final year project report submitted in partial requirement

for the BAI Engineering degree


By: Andrew Wood

Supervisor: Dr. Sara Pavia

A final year project report submitted in partial requirement

for the BAI Engineering degree


I declare that this dissertation, in whole or in part, has not been submitted to any University as
exercise for a degree. I further declare that, except where reference is given in the text, it is
entirely my own work. I further declare that the Library may lend out this dissertation for
academic purposes. I give permission for the Library to copy this thesis upon request.

Andrew Wood

Firstly I would like to thank my supervisor, Dr. Sara Pavia, for all her advice and guidance
throughout the year. I would also like to thank Eoin Dunne, Martin Carney for their help
and guidance with the testing, without which I don‟t know what I would have done, and all
of the technicians in the labs for their eagerness to help and for entertaining me over the
year. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I also wish to thank Ryan Hanley, who was always available for queries and was most
helpful whenever I called on him.

Finally, I had better thank my family and friends for putting up with me and keeping me sane,
particularly towards the end of the project. Particular thanks must go to my mother,
Pat-Ann, for all the late nights she fed me on my return from the library. Much appreciated!

Declaration ii

Acknowledgements iii

List of Tables vi

List of Figures vii

Abstract viii

Chapter 1 Introduction 1

1.1 Introduction 1
1.2 Main Objective 2
1.3 Aims 2
1.4 Outline 2

Chapter 2 Literature Review 4

2.1 Introduction 4
2.2 Introduction to Rice Husk Ash 5
2.3 Use of Rice Husk Ash in Concrete 5
2.4 Research on Lime Mortars 7

Chapter 3 Background Material: Lime 8

3.1 Limestone 8
3.2 Lime Cycle 8
3.3 Hydrated Lime 10
3.4 Lime Putty 10
3.5 Setting 11

Chapter 4 Mortar 13

4.1 Introduction 13
4.2 Properties of Lime Mortars 14
4.3 Materials used in Mortar 15
4.4 Mixing 17
4.5 Testing 17
4.6 Health and Safety 18

Chapter 5 Mix Design and Proportions 19

5.1 Materials Used 19

5.2 Proportions 19
5.3 Sand 22
5.4 Mixing Procedure 23
5.5 Moulds 24
5.6 Placement 25
5.7 Curing 26
5.8 Discussion 26

Chapter 6 Testing 27

6.1 Introduction 27
6.2 The Tests 27
6.3 Testing Standards 28
6.4 Testing Procedures 31
6.5 Key Equations for Calculating Results 39

Chapter 7 Results 42

7.1 Water Absorption Test 42

7.2 Capillary Suction Test 43
7.3 Bulk and real Density Tests 47
7.4 Porosity Test 49
7.5 Shrinkage Test 51
7.6 Compressive Strength Test 52
7.7 Flexural Strength Test 54

Chapter 8 Conclusions 57

8.1 Introduction 57
8.2 Conclusions 57
8.3 Recommendation for Further Study 59

References 60

Figure 3.1, The Lime Cycle 9

Figure 5.1, Mortar Mixer 23

Figure 5.2, Cube Moulds for Mortar 24

Figure5.3, Prism Moulds for Mortar 24

Figure 6.1, Oven at + 5°C 32

Figure 6.2, Capillary Suction tray 34

Figure 6.3, Shrinkage Gauge 36

Figure 6.4, Flexural Testing Machine 38

Figure 6.5, Flexural Strength Test 38

Figure 7.1, Water Absorption Results 42

Figure 7.2, Capillary Suction for all four mixes 45

Figure 7.3, Bulk Density for all four mixes 47

Figure 7.4, Real Density for all four mixes 48

Figure 7.5, Porosity Results for all four mixes 49

Figure 7.6, Shrinkage Results for all four mixes 51

Figure 7.7, Compressive Strengths for all four mixes 53

Figure 7.8, Flexural Strengths for all four mixes 55


Table 5.1, Material Proportions for Pure Lime Putty 20

Table 5.2, Material Proportions for 25% RHA mix 21

Table 5.3, Material Proportions for 50% RHA mix 21

Table 5.4, Material Proportions for 75% RHA mix 22

Table 5.5, Sieve analysis of the sand used in all four mixes 23

Table 7.1, Example of Results from Capillary Suction Test 44


This project investigates if the addition of Rice Husk Ash has a positive effect on lime
mortar, in particular lime putty. There has been a considerable amount of study into the
behaviour of concrete with the addition of RHA, with positive effects experienced. To see
if lime putty experiences similar positive effects, a number of simple laboratory tests were
carried out to test the physical performance of the mortar with the partial replacement of
lime putty with RHA. Using the results from the tests completed, a conclusion can be
drawn on whether the addition of RHA is beneficial to the mortar and whether the use of
RHA as a construction material is viable.

1.1 Introduction

Rice Husk Ash (RHA) is a by product of the agricultural industry. RHA consists of roughly
75% organic matter which can be burned off. The 25% inorganic material remains as ash
[2]. RHA has a very high silica content, of approximately 85 – 90%. This high silica
content makes RHA very difficult to dispose of; therefore posing a possible environmental
risk. RHA also has pozzolanic properties, but not when pure RHA.

Research has been done into the addition of RHA to concrete. The results of which are very
positive, showing an increase in compressive strength, decrease in permeability, chloride
penetration and decreased heat of cement hydration [1]. These results were found after the
addition of only a small proportion of cement replacement, approximately 10%. The RHA
was also found to speed up the rate of hydration of cement as well as reduce the temperature
of the heat of hydration. RHA also improves the workability [1]. All of these factors
indicate that less water is required in the concrete, leading to stronger concrete and lower

Very little research has been done into the addition of RHA to mortars of any kind.
Pozzolans are often added to non-hydraulic limes to get a faster initial set instead of
allowing only for carbonation. Therefore, lime putty was the type of mortar chosen for
use in this project. The type of sand is not as important, as long as it fills the requirements
stated in chapter four when referring to sand used in mortars. Once the mortar, sand and
mixing techniques remain consistent throughout the testing, comparisons can be made
between the mixes.
1.2 Main Objective

To investigate the effect RHA has on lime putty when added in varying amounts, and see is it
practical for use in everyday construction.

1.3 Aims

To fully research the background to Rice Husk Ash

Research the effect of RHA on concrete
Learn and understand about the different types of lime
Learn how to mix and make lime mortar
Carry out a full set of tests on the mortar cubes made to get an indication of the
effects of RHA on lime putties

Use equations from chapter six to calculate the results of the tests
Analyse the results from the testing
Compare results with different results from similar mortars with the pure lime
putty mix made in this project

Write up results and complete a report on the study undertaken

Report conclusions and findings from the study

1.4 Outline

Chapter Two consists of a review of literature on the background of RHA and its
possible uses in construction.

Chapter Three consists of a review and description of the background materials used in the
project, mainly the background and theory of lime.
Chapter Four consists of a description of what mortar is and compares the different
types of mortar available.

Chapter Five consists of a description of the mix designs used for making the mortars for
the testing, the placement of the mortars.

Chapter Six consists of a description of the tests to be conducted, procedures for each
test, and useful equations for calculating the results.

Chapter Seven consists of the presentation and analysis of the results.

Chapter Eight contains the conclusions drawn from the testing and the
recommendations for further study in the field.

2.1 Introduction

This project focuses mainly on the effect RHA has on mortars rather than the type of mortars
used in the project. Firstly, some research must be done on RHA and its uses and benefits in
construction. Unfortunately there is very little information on the use of RHA in
construction. This is mainly because the idea of using RHA as a construction material is
relatively new. In the early 1990‟s, approximately, the first notion of using construction as a
means to recycle RHA was conceived. So because RHA is relatively young as a construction
material, not much research has been done into its uses and possible
advantages/disadvantages. Also, RHA is relatively unknown, so very little information is
available in books on the subject. Most of the information on RHA used in this project was
found on the internet, from published papers and articles from journals. The information in
chapter three on lime was found on the internet, in books, and from various other sources as
referenced in the chapter.

As there is very little research done on RHA, there was a large field of possible subjects and
topics to investigate and research. The area with the most amount of research carried out was
the addition of RHA to concrete. Therefore it would be interesting to see if the same positive
effects were experienced when RHA was added to mortar. Non-hydraulic lime was preferred
as pozzolans are often used to get an initial set in lime putties and then allow further
hardening, by carbonation, to take place over time.
2.2 Introduction to Rice Husk Ash

Rice Husk Ash is a by-product of the rice industry. When rice is harvested and milled,
roughly 78% of the paddy is rice and bran. The remaining 22% is the husk which surrounds
the rice paddy is called the husk. In countries of large rice industries, such as India or
Brazil, the rice harvested is par-boiled in rice mills. These rice mills are fuelled by burning
the husks of the rice. When the husk only contains 75% organic matter, this leaves 25%
inorganic matter, which makes up the ash after the firing process. This ash is called Rice
Husk Ash (RHA). It is a highly siliceous material with an amorphous silica content of
roughly 85 – 90%. The ash remains amorphous when burned in a controlled environment,
below 600° - 700° Celsius. Each tonne of rice harvested produces roughly 220kgs of husk,
leaving roughly 55kgs of ash after burning. As the Rice Husk Ash is very siliceous, it poses
a serious threat to the environment, stated by [2, 21]. Various methods of recycling and
disposing of this waste are currently being explored. If the use of this Rice Husk Ash can
have a positive effect when added to concrete or mortar this would be a useful way to recycle
potentially harmful material such as Rice Husk Ash.

2.3 Use of Rice Husk Ash in Concrete

There has not been a lot of research carried out using Rice Husk Ash in mortar but, in
concrete, Rice Husk Ash has been used as a partial cement replacement in concrete in
relatively small amounts (5-10%). As the silica content in the Rice Husk Ash is so high
(85 – 90%), it is considered a „Super-pozzolan‟ [1]. Super-pozzolans (e.g. silica fume) are
used in high performance concrete. Super-pozzolans dramatically enhance the workability,
compressive strength and impermeability. This decrease in permeability, results in
concretes which are highly durable to chemical attack and corrosion of the reinforcement
steel, due to the inability for the chlorides to penetrate the concrete.
Rice Husk Ash is a very fine substance with a particle size of 25 microns and is also less
reactive than cement. During the hydration of cement, calcium hydroxide is formed. This
calcium hydroxide reacts with the silica in the Rice Husk Ash to form calcium hydride
silicate [1, 19]. This calcium hydride silicate fills the pores and strengthens the
microstructure of the concrete, particularly around the coarse aggregate. This pore
refinement transforms the concrete from an open pore system to a closed pore system which
affects the permeability more so than the compressive strength of the concrete. This will
obviously aid the durability if the concrete as a direct result of the decreased permeability.
Also stated by [19], when pastes with 10% RHA, without admixtures and with 10% silica
fume are left for 28 days and tested for anhydrous materials, the RHA showed the lowest
percentage of anhydrous material in its paste. Therefore, verifying that RHA probably
accelerates the hydration of cement. Rice Husk Ash also can reduce the heat of hydration
by up to 25 % [1]. Both of these indicate that less water is inclined to evaporate during
hydration, therefore, less water required in the first place. The less water required in the
mix, the lower the probability of shrinkage. A lot of research was completed in this area, of
adding RHA to concrete, by [19, 20]. Positive effects were experienced by these authors
when adding RHA to concrete. However, when RHA was tested in its natural state (on its
own) it displayed no pozzolanic properties [19].

As stated previously, there is no previous research done on the addition of RHA to

mortars. Therefore, the results from concrete are the only results, regarding RHA, to
compare with. The other comparisons that can be made are with similar lime mortars
with no RHA used in the construction. The effects of RHA on lime mortars can be
compared with normal lime mortars to see if the results are positive and worthwhile or
2.4 Research on Lime Mortars

For the mortar research, there were many useful books, papers and websites for information
on lime and lime mortars. Much of this research will be covered in chapter three
(background materials) under the Lime headings. The research on mortars will be covered
in chapter four (mortar) and suitable references given.


3.1 Limestone

Lime does not occur naturally and is produced by burning a source of calcium carbonate,
usually either chalk or limestone. Limestone is a sedimentary rock formed due to the
deposition of calcium carbonate from its solution in water.

3.2 Lime cycle

3.2.1 Summary

Lime is a term used to describe calcium carbonate which comes from chalk or limestone.
The limestone is burned first in a process called calcining [3], where the calcium carbonate is
heated. The product of this calcining is Calcium Oxide, also called Quicklime. This
Quicklime is then added to water to produce a calcium hydroxide, known as slaked lime.
This calcium hydroxide then takes in carbon dioxide in order to harden, through a process
called carbonation, and creates calcium hydroxide, therefore, completing the cycle. The
resulting calcium hydroxide can vary in its strength as the carbonation process can take years,
in some cases, to complete its reaction. Carbonation is the main method of hardening in
limes, although some limes can harden by way of hydration.
Fig 3.1, The Lime Cycle

3.2.2 Lime Burning

The burning, or calcining, of lime is the first step in the lime cycle. The calcium carbonate
is burned in a kiln and gives off carbon dioxide, leaving an oxide, quicklime,

(Calcium carbonate –burningcalcium oxide + carbon dioxide)

CaCO3 –burningCaO (quick lime) + CO2

For calcium carbonate to burn and change to calcium oxide, the temperature must be at least
880°C. It is estimated that, to ensure that this temperature is reached in the core of the
stone, a surface temperature of approx. 1000°C must be obtained [6]. The product of this
burning is calcium oxide (quicklime), which is used in the next stage. The best
quicklimes are the ones which are most reactive. These are obtained when the burning
temperature is kept as low as possible and burned slowly, while still ensuring that the
calcium carbonate is burnt. This is referred to as „soft burnt quicklime‟ [7].

3.2.3 Slaking

Slaking is the process where water is added to the quicklime, resulting in a reaction between
them. The water reacts with the oxide to produce a hydroxide. This is an exothermic
reaction which can generate very high temperatures, so it is generally thought to be better to
slake the quicklime as soon as possible after burning.

Calcium oxide (quicklime) + water calcium hydroxide

CaO + H2O Ca (OH)2

3.3 Hydrated Lime

If a minimal amount of water is used, just enough to facilitate slaking, the quicklime
produces a powder known as hydrated lime. The exothermic reaction in slaking causes
any slight excess of water to be evaporated. The powder produced is supplied normally in
bags [4].

3.4 Lime Putty

When excess amounts of water are used in the slaking process, a milky
liquid is formed. This milky substance is left to sit, allowing the solids in
the liquid to settle to the bottom
and form lime putty. Lime putty can mature for months, even years [8].
As the slaking period of the putty is increased, the water retention and the
plasticity are also increased. Lime putty is the purest form of lime as it is a
purely non-hydraulic lime.

3.5 Setting

3.5.1 Non-Hydraulic Setting

Non-hydraulic lime does not need water to facilitate hardening. It hardens due to exposure
to the air, where it dries out and then absorbs carbon dioxide. The lime reacts with the
absorbed carbon dioxide in a process known as carbonation. No reaction with water is
needed for hardening to take place. Non-hydraulic lime is generally considered to be the
purest form of lime it is totally non-hydraulic. This indicates that there were no impurities
present in the original limestone or chalk, just pure calcium carbonate. Non-hydraulic limes
are generally more flexible and more porous than hydraulic limes. This increased porosity
helps the air penetrate the mortar, which in turn helps the carbonation of the lime, due to
increased exposure to the carbon dioxide. Non-hydraulic limes therefore harden over a
longer period of time than hydraulic limes do, due to the carbon dioxide having to permeate
through the mortar over time. Initial set can be helped to harden more quickly by adding a
pozzolan, as in this project.

3.5.2 Hydraulic Setting

Hydraulic limes have similar properties to non-hydraulic lime as it still sets partially by
carbonation, but there is also hydraulic setting taking place also. Hydraulic setting is due to
reaction with water, similar to the hydraulic set experienced with OPC. These limes still
originate in limestone and chalk but the limestone is not as pure as the limestone used for
Non-Hydraulic limes. If there are clay particles present in the limestone before
burning, these particles cause the resulting calcium oxide to have hydraulic properties [5]. The
amount of impurities in the limestone affects the resulting properties of the lime. Limestone
containing less than 12% clays results in feebly hydraulic limes, which have the closest
relationship to lime putties out of all the hydraulic limes.

Hydraulic limes are not as flexible as non-hydraulic limes, but they are stronger and less
porous than non-hydraulic limes. Hydraulic lime mortars are more widely used due to the
ease in which they can be mixed and used. They generally are supplied in powder form in

4.1 Introduction

Mortar is defined as “A material used in masonry to fill gaps between stones or bricks in
construction and bind them together [9]”. The term mortar can also be used to describe
plaster or render, used to give a smooth, durable finish to a wall. They both consist of the
same materials, but the renders cover a more vast area in relation to their volume, whereas
mortars work over a much smaller area.

A good mortar should act as a conduit for the moisture in the wall, preserving the masonry
from decay due to percolating water, moisture and salt solutions. The mortar is therefore the
sacrificial material in such structures, with a life span much lower than that of the
surrounding masonry. Mortars should absorb any moisture or water and encourage it to be
evaporated through the mortar joints rather than through the masonry.

There are many types of mortars, each with defining properties. A suitable mortar must be
chosen for differing conditions and circumstances. In older buildings, a more flexible softer
mortar must be used in order to withstand any movement within the structure that most, older
buildings experience. Non-hydraulic limes are generally used for re-pointing of soft
masonry due to the softer nature of the mortar. A lime putty or feebly-hydraulic lime would
be used for such a task. In areas subject to damp conditions or more harsh weather
conditions, a hydraulic lime would be more suitable. For this reason, most buildings would
contain more than one type of lime mortar, depending on the conditions the mortars are being
used in.
4.2 Properties of Lime Mortars

Lime mortars are more porous than stone and so allow the water to pass through the mortar
rather than through the stone. Therefore damage due to crystallisation occurs in the mortar
joint, instead of in the masonry, as mortar can be replaced more easily. As stated
previously, lime mortars allow for more movement in structures. With this freedom to
move, the need for expansion joints is very low. Lime mortars will allow for minor
structural and seasonal movements by forming numerous minute hairline cracks, rather than
one large crack. If there is water present, it will dissolve any free lime in the mortar and
flow through the cracks. The water will evaporate depositing the lime and seal the cracks in
a process called autogenous healing [16].

Lime mortars allow buildings to breathe and moisture to escape. Failure to do so can result
in dampness problems in the structure due to the inability for trapped moisture to permeate
out through the mortar or the masonry. This is particularly important in timber framed
houses; an impermeable render can lead to timber decay. For limes, the permeability is also
important for the hardening process of the lime itself as it allows carbon dioxide to penetrate
the mortar aiding the carbonation process. Softer mortars such as lime putty allow greater
movement of fluids and so they are used extensively in older buildings so the water can flow
freely to the surface and not decay the masonry itself in doing so. Lime mortars are more
porous than OPC mortars and considered more workable also. OPC mortars do not allow
the same flow of water that lime mortars do.

As lime mortars allow the movement of fluids quite easily, this provides a more
comfortable environment inside buildings. The relative humidity is more stable as a
result; reducing condensation formation and mould growth.

Most of the time lime mortars are weaker than OPC mortars. Generally, the softer and
more porous the lime mortar, the lower the strength is. When strengths for OPC mortars are
compared with lime mortars, the tests are usually carried out after 28 days, which is an
accurate representation for OPC, but not for lime. As lime hardens largely due to
carbonation over time, the lime mortar strength at, say 12 months, would be a lot closer to the
OPC mortar strength. This has certain benefits when a building is new the lime is still
relatively soft and can accommodate such movement, as could be experienced in a new
building. If a weak, rapidly setting material is used in such a case, the mortar can be
replaced easily. However if a strong mortar is used that is stronger than the masonry, the
masonry could fail if subjected to slight movement.

4.3 Materials used in Mortar

4.3.1 Lime

The type of lime required depends on the functions the mortar is required to perform. The
two fundamental options are hydraulic or non-hydraulic limes. Hydraulic limes generally
come in bags of dry hydrate powder. Non-hydraulic usually comes in the form of a lime
putty. Non-hydraulic limes are more pure than the hydraulic, as the impurities (or clay) are
what causes the lime to be hydraulic, as stated in chapter three.

4.3.2 Aggregate

The aggregate used in mortars is sand. The sand should be clean, hard and durable. Sand
originating from the sea should be avoided due to the salt content, which can affect the
hardening, durability, strength or the appearance of the mortar. The grading of the sand is
also important, so that there is an even distribution of particle sizes throughout the sand.
However, the amount of particles smaller than 75µm must be kept to a minimum as particles
of this size classify as clay. Clay can have pozzolanic effects on the lime. A sieve analysis
should be conducted on the sand to determine the percentage clay in the sand.
It is preferable that the sands be angular; sharp sands interlock well with each other better
than rounded ones do and there are fewer voids as a result. Also the size of the particles
affect the amount of binder required. The larger the particle size, the more binder that is
needed. This indicates that the binder to sand ratio should be decided after analysis of the
sand. An excess of binder can result in lower strength mortar.

4.3.3 Water

Water used in mortar must be clean and should not contain any material in suspension or
solution, in a quantity sufficient to cause harmful effects on the mortar or the materials used
within the mortar. The proportion of the water to binder should be the least possible required
to give adequate workability to the mortar. It should also conform to BS 3148:1990.

4.3.4 Additives

Other materials can be added to mortar to enhance its performance. Traditional additives in
the past for plasters or mortars were tallow oil, sugar, hair. Cement can be added but it must
be added with care as it can affect the long term durability of the mortar, preventing
carbonation from happening [17].

4.3.5 Pozzolans

Pozzolans are materials that obtain cementitious properties when added to water. The
particles of these materials are very fine and sometimes have been subjected to great heat.
Some examples are pulverized fuel ash (PFA) and fired china clay. They are sometimes
added to non-hydraulic limes to accelerate the initial set and improve the strength of the
mortar also.
4.4 Mixing

The mix used for mortars depends on the required strength but generally the proportions are
three parts sand to one part binder (lime), 3:1mix, once the mortar maintains good plasticity.
If the poorer lime is used, the proportions may be reduced to a mix of, say, 2:1. However,
when mortar is made with a high content of sand, more water must be added and so the
probability of cracking is higher, due to higher water content.

Due to the variations in the different types of lime, a trial mix is advised before employing a
certain mix on site. This will help determine the correct sand to binder ratio and the most
appropriate lime to be used.

4.5 Testing

The following tests are suitable for testing the various properties of mortars.

Capillary suction/Water
These tests will be described in greater detail in chapter six.
4.6 Health and Safety

Lime can be caustic and cause irritation to the skin if exposed to it for long periods of time.
When handling lime putty, gloves should be worn, particularly when skin is broken. The
RHA is a very fine dust and when lime is in dry powder form, dust masks should be worn
to prevent inhalation. If inhaled, the dust can cause upper respiratory track problems.

First Aid Measures

If lime comes in contact with the eyes wash out with fresh water. Protective cream
should be applied to any skin exposed to lime for any amount of time.

5.1 Materials Used

Non-Hydraulic lime comes in the form of a putty which is stored under water, as it does not
react with water to set, but with carbon dioxide, so the water prevents this from happening.
This putty is an off white colour and has the consistency of a sort of hard cheese and needs to
be cut with a pallet knife. As the putty is slaked for over a year, it contains a lot of water.
This indicates that very little water is needed to make the mortar, unlike the hydraulic limes
which come as a dry powder.

The Rice Hush Ash came as a very fine powder. RHA has pozzolanic properties and
therefore also has hydraulic properties also. A pozzolan is a siliceous material which
reacts with Calcium hydroxide and water to obtain hydraulic set at room temperature.
This reaction is very similar to that of cement.

The aggregate used was natural, river bed sand. The same sand was used throughout all of
the tests, for consistency, so that comparisons can be drawn between each of the mixes.

5.2 Proportions

For each of the following mixes, the humidity was between 50 – 60%, and the
temperature was kept between 15 -17°C. This indicates that the evaporation of water
during the mixing process is negligible as conditions for each mix was relatively
5.2.1 Pure Lime Putty (0% mix)

Each of the mixes had an aggregate to binder ratio of 3:1, by weight. As lime putty is well
slaked lime, with a large amount of water in it, generally very little water added to the mix as
there is no water needed to hydrate the lime. The aggregate used was very dry and so a
small amount of water was needed to replace any pore water that has been evaporated from
the aggregate.

Table 5.1 Material Proportions for Pure Lime Putty

Material Amount
Lime Putty 800 g
Sand 2400 g
Water ~20 g
Lime Putty 600 g
RHA 200 g
5.2.2 25% RHA Mix Sand 2400 g
Water 80 g (+30 g)

This mix was the first mix made, and so the behaviour of the lime with the addition of RHA
Material Amount
was unknown. As RHA has pozzolanic properties, and is a very fine material, it needs a
certain amount of water.Lime Putty the water contained in the lime putty will be sucked out,
Otherwise 400 g
by the RHA, and so makingRHAthe mortar a lot less workable. Also the RHA will need a certain 400 g
amount of water also forSand
hydration. This all indicates that water needs to be added to the 2400 g
mix in order to facilitate the RHA and also to help make the mortar more workable and easier
Water 230 g
to compact into the moulds. Initially, there was 80 g of water added and the prisms were
made. Before making the cubes, a further 30 g was added to make it more workable. Amount
Lime Putty 200 g
RHA 600 g
Sand 2400 g
Water 310 g
% ret
Sieve size (µm)
5000 0.5
2360 19.4
1180 23.4
600 27.2
425 13.2
Table 5.2 Material proportions for 25% RHA mix

Material Amount
Lime Putty 800 g
Sand 2400 g
Water ~20 g
Lime Putty 600 g
RHA 200 g
Sand 2400 g
5.2.3 50% RHA mix Water 80 g (+30 g)

Material Amount
The required consistency wasPutty
Lime now known and so adequate water was added in order to 400 g
achieve suitable workability
RHA and adequate hydration of the RHA. 400 g
Sand 2400 g
Water 230 g
Table 5.3 Material proportions for 50% RHA mix
Lime Putty 200 g
RHA Amount
600 g
Lime Putty 2400gg
Sand 310 gg
Water ~20 g % ret
Sieve size (µm) Amount
Material 5000 0.5
Lime Putty 600 g
2360 19.4
RHA 200 g
1180 23.4
Sand 2400 g
600 27.2
5.2.4 75% RHA mix Water 80 g (+30 g)
425 13.2
Material 300 Amount 7.4
As we can see now, there is 75%
Lime RHA replacement of the
Putty 150lime putty, therefore more 400 g 5.8
water is needed. RHA 400 g
75 1.3
Sand 2400 g
pass 1.8
Water 230 g

50% RHA Mix Amount

Cube 2
Lime Putty Time Area
200 g Square root Time
Weight of Water
2 0.5
RHA (sec) (m ) (g) 600 g (sec )
Sand 0 0.0025 0 2400 g 0
Water 60 0.0025 3 310 g 7.745967
180 0.0025 5 % ret
Sieve size (µm)
0.0025 17.32051
Table 5.4 Material proportions for 75% RHA mix

Material Amount
Lime Putty 800 g
Sand 2400 g
Water ~20 g
Lime Putty 600 g
RHA 200 g
Sand 2400 g
Water 80 g (+30 g)

5.3 Sand Material Amount

Lime Putty 400 g
RHA 400 g
As this study is not about the aggregate used but the RHA, typical mortar sand was used.
This sand was used in all Sand
the mixes in order to keep the mortars consistent and allow for 2400 g
comparison at the end. Water
As demonstrated in Table 5.5, the particle size varies from 5mm to230 g
0.075mm and is quite well graded also. 1.8 % of the sample passed through the 75 µm sieve,
particles smaller than 75 µm are considered clay. These clay particles are regarded as Amount
impurities, and cause problems on the mortar as they can cause hydraulic set in the lime;
affecting the results of the Putty
mortar as it is lime putty being used in this project. 200 g
RHA 600 g
Sand 2400 g
Water 310 g
% ret
This sample of sand contains fairly large, roundSieve sizeThis
particles. (µm)means that the packing
will not be as good as if it were angular. 5000 0.5
2360 19.4
1180 23.4
600 27.2
425 13.2
300 7.4
150 5.8
75 1.3
pass 1.8

50% RHA Mix

Cube 2
Time Area Weight of Water Square root Time
2 0.5
(sec) (m ) (g) (sec )
0 0.0025 0 0
60 0.0025 3 7.745967
180 0.0025 5 13.41641
300 0.0025 17.32051
Table 5.5 Sieve analysis of the sand used in all four mixes

Material Amount
Lime Putty 800 g
Sand 2400 g
Water ~20 g
Lime Putty 600 g
RHA 200 g
Sand 2400 g
Water 80 g (+30 g)

Material Amount
Lime Putty 400 g
5.4 Mixing Procedure
RHA 400 g
Sand 2400 g
Water 230 g
5.4.1 Equipment Amount
Lime Putty 200 g
1. Scales with an accuracy of +
1g RHA 600 g
2. Mortar mixer with three speed
Sand 2400 g
3. Pallet Water 310 g
4. Dust Mask and Gloves (the RHA is so fine, it creates a fine dust which can % re
be inhaled and could be quite dangerous
Sieve size if(µm)
done so, also the putty can
be unpleasant if in contact with broken skin so gloves must be worn)
5000 0.5
2360 19.4
1180 23.4
600 27.2
Fig5.1 Mortar Mixer
425 13.2
300 7.4
150 5.8
75 1.3
pass 1.8

50% RHA Mix

Cube 2
Time Area Weight of Water Square root Ti
2 0.5
(sec) (m ) (g) (sec )
0 0.0025 0 0
60 0.0025 3 7.745967
180 0.0025 5 13.41641
300 0.0025 17.32051
5.4.2 Mixing

As there are no standards for mixing lime putty, the guidelines from St. Astier
recommendations were used. As the amount of RHA varies, the amount of water added is
determined by the consistency and the workability of the mortar during the mixing

1. Each ingredient was weighed carefully on the scales

2. Half of the sand was placed in the mixing bowl
3. The Lime Putty(along with RHA) is then added
4. These are mixed for approximately five minutes
5. Gradually the remainder of the sand is added to the mix
6. Water is added accordingly throughout the mixing process
7. the mortar is left to mix for a further ten to fifteen minutes

5.5 Moulds

The testing in this project required 50 mm cubes. Steel moulds (50 mm x 50 mm x 50
mm) were used for these cubes. Prisms of the dimensions, 40 mm x 40 mm x 160 mm,
were required. Steel moulds were also used for these prisms.

Fig 5.2 Cube Moulds for Mortar Fig 5.3 Prism Moulds for Mortar
For each of the mixes, six cubes and three prisms were made. The prisms are used for the
shrinkage tests and for measuring the flexural strength of the mortar. The cubes were used
for the remaining tests, water absorption, capillary suction, densities, porosity and
compressive strength.

The moulds were checked to ensure they were clean. Once this was verified, they were
thoroughly brushed with de-moulding oil. This helps remove the samples from the moulds
once they hardened. After the moulds were brushed with oil; they were left upturned so no
excessive oil remains, as this would have affected the mortar. The mortar could now be
placed in the moulds.

5.6 Placement

1. The method used for placing each of the cubes and the prisms were the

2. The mortar was placed in the moulds using the spatula or pallet knife in
two layers.

3. The first layer was then compacted using a metal tamping rod to compact
the mortar and therefore reduce the air voids as much as possible.

4. With concrete or hydraulic limes, the samples are tamped a number of

times, but as putty is stiffer, the sample must be tamped until the
mortar is unable to compact any more.

5. The second layer of mortar must be above the edge of the mould and
tamped down as above.

6. The surface is then levelled off using the pallet knife.

7. The cubes/prisms are covered with plastic or damp Hessian to prevent
initial shrinkage.
5.7 Curing

The mortar remained in the moulds until they were sufficiently hard, so they could be
removed from the moulds. Each of the mixes remained in the cubes for at least two days.
The mixes with higher proportion of RHA took a shorter time to harden as they hardened by
hydraulic means as well as carbonation.

Once removed from the moulds, the cubes/prisms were placed in the curing chamber. For
lime putty the major method of hardening is carbonation. This indicates that the cubes can
not be cured under water like cement based mortar cubes are, as the lime would not be able
to absorb CO . Therefore, these cubes are kept in the curing room. In this room the
constant temperature is between 15° - 20°C and the humidity is kept quite high ~50 – 60%
humidity is maintained as much as is possible. The cubes were kept in this room for the full
35 days of curing and hardening, the prisms were kept in the room for 50 days as they were
used for the shrinkage tests which were set up in this room also.

5.8 Discussion

When the 25% RHA mix was made there was not enough water added and the workability
was compromised. This was mainly due to inexperience, and lack of knowledge on the
behaviour of lime putties and RHA. The resulting cubes and prisms were brittle and were
quite dusty to touch. Other problems experienced during this mix were the quantities
prepared as there was barely enough mortar for all of the cubes. With the 75% RHA mix,
there was a lot of water required to hydrate the RHA and improve workability. This extra
water made the mortar more fluid, and behave more like a hydraulic lime. This meant it was
unlike the other mixes when being placed. Again inexperience and lack of knowledge meant
it was hard to judge when enough compaction was achieved.

6.1 Introduction

To understand the behaviour of the lime putty with the addition of RHA, a number of tests
were carried out on the cubes and prisms made. The tests used were decided upon after
considering the possible positive effects that could be experienced with the addition of RHA.
The possible effects of RHA on mortar can be estimated after looking at the effects
experienced in concrete, with the addition of RHA. The results from these tests are then
used to ascertain beneficial conclusions on the behaviour of RHA with lime putty.

6.2 The Tests

6.2.1 Water Absorption and Capillary Suction

The water absorption is a good indication of how permeable the mortar is and how easily
water can pass through the mortar. This movement of water also applies to gases such as
carbon dioxide. For lime mortars, in particular, this is important as the mortar is allowed to
absorb the CO and therefore facilitate carbonation within the mortar and aide the setting of
the lime within the mortar. Therefore more porous the lime mortar is, the quicker it will
reach full maturity.

Penetrability is the term used for the overall movements of fluids through a material. This
flow includes diffusion, sorption and permeability [10]. The flow through a material under a
differential pressure is called permeability. Diffusion is the movement of a fluid under a
concentration differential. Sorption is the capillary movement through the
capillary pores in the material. These three methods of fluid movement are all grouped
together as penetrability, but permeability is the accepted term for the movement of fluids
through a material. The permeability of the mortar is particularly important, as the moisture
needs to be able to pass through the mortar more easily than through the surrounding
masonry. This prevents the masonry decaying unduly due to moisture being forced to flow
through the masonry. Therefore the more porous the mortar is the better for the surrounding
masonry as the mortar is sacrificial to the masonry.

Two tests were carried out to examine the movement of fluids through the mortar. The first
test conducted was the water absorption test. This test measures the volume of pore space
in the mortar by fully immersing the cube in water at atmospheric pressure and at room
temperature. Deionised water is used in accordance with the RILEM standards. The
second test is to measure the rate of water absorption due to capillary suction in the mortar.
The capillary test was carried out in accordance with BS EN 1925; 1999 [11]. Both of
these tests were carried out on unsaturated cubes, which were placed in contact with water.
The water is under atmospheric pressure only.

6.2.2 Bulk Density and Real Density

The density of a material is a measure of the degree of consolidation of a solid. Density

investigates the grain packing of the material and therefore can inform of the chemical
resistance also due to the closeness of the particles [12]. Bulk and real densities are
important in assessing the extent of some forms of decay in the mortar and in determining the
extent to which the pore space can be filled by an impregnation treatment RILEM

Bulk Density (also called Apparent Density) is the ratio of the dry mass to the bulk volume
of the sample, or the volume of all solids in the cube. Bulk Density is expressed in
kilograms per cubic metre.
Real Density is the volume mass of the impermeable material, measured as a ratio of the dry
mass of the sample to the bulk volume of the sample. Real Density is also expressed in
kilograms per cubic metre. Both of these tests were carried out according to the RILEM

6.2.3 Porosity

Porosity is the ratio of the volume of pores accessible to water to the bulk volume of the
sample. It is generally expressed as a percent. It gives the total number of voids in the
mortar. Porosity of the mortar is very important as it affects the durability of the mortar.
This test can therefore be useful in assessing the water absorption in mortars and therefore
assess the durability also.

It is assumed for this project that the pores are interconnected in the mortar. Consequently,
the total porosities and open porosities are equal. As the RHA has very small particles, the
pores could be filled by the RHA and therefore the porosity may vary with the varying
proportions of RHA in the mixes. In this project the porosity was obtained from the bulk
and real density results using a simple formula [13].

6.2.4 Shrinkage

The shrinkage of mortar is an important test in the analysis of mortars as it can be detrimental
if the shrinkage is too great. The bond between the mortar and the masonry can be broken
and so does not perform the desired function. The rate of shrinkage is dependent on
humidity, temperature and other atmospheric variables. The amount of shrinkage is
dependent on the amount of water in the mortar during mixing. Lime putty generally has
high shrinkage due to the amount of water already in the putty, and also the non-hydraulic
nature of the putty.
6.2.5 Compressive Strength

Compressive strength is the load per unit area under which a sample fails. In mortars the
compressive strength is related to the amount of hydraulic set in the mortar. This hydraulic
set also relates to the durability of the mortar [12]. Therefore, the lime putty, which sets
mainly due to carbonation, has relatively low compressive strengths in comparison with other
lime mortars. As RHA has certain pozzolanic properties and sets by hydraulic set, the aim is
to see what effect the RHA has on the mortar. In this test the cubes were tested in
compression to determine the maximum load they could carry before failure occurred.

6.2.6 Flexural Strength

The Flexural strength is a test of the flexibility of the mortar. Flexural strength is important
for mortars as it allows movement without the necessity for expansion joints. Generally,
the more hydraulic the mortar, the less flexible it is. The flexibility for lime putty is
generally greater than that of non-hydraulic lime mortars and so this project will observe the
effect RHA has on the lime putty mortar. The centre-point loading method [14] was used
to determine the strength. As the standard used is for cement, the modifications for lime,
from BS EN 459-2; 5.1.2, are used.

6.3 Testing Standards

The standards used in the testing for this project were the RILEM standards
and the BS/BS EN standards. The BS standards for mortars are generally
modified cement standards and so there are very few specific standards for
mortars. For this reason, some of the RILEM standards were used instead
of the BS or BS EN. For compression and
flexural strengths the BS EN 196-1: 1994 was used with the modifications
for mortars. For the capillary suction, BS EN 1925: 1999, for use on stone,
was used. The RILEM standards were used for the densities tests, porosity
and water absorption tests. This was due to the lack of suitable standards in
BS/BS EN. For the capillary test the duration between readings was
adjusted so to accommodate a faster rate of absorption of water in mortar, in
comparison to stone. The standard used for mixing lime putty was BS
6463-99 (part 103)

6.4 Testing Procedures

6.4.1 Water Absorption Test

As stated above, there are no suitable standards in the BS/BS EN codes. Therefore the
RILEM standards were used.

• Oven maintained at 105 + 5°C
• Water
• Steel
• Weighing Scales accurate to 0.01g
Fig 6.1, Oven at 105°C + 5°C


1. After 35 days of hardening, the cube was placed in the oven at

105°C and left for 24 hours.

2. Once the cubes were completely dry the cube was removed from
the oven and left to cool to room temperature.

3. The cubes were weighed (W ) and then submersed in deionised

water fully. The cubes were rested on raised steel ribs so
each surface of the cube was exposed to the water.

4. The cubes were left in the water for 24 hours and weighed. This
weight recorded and the cubes immersed again in the water.

5. The cubes were weighed again after a few hours to check if the
cubes were saturated (i.e. had they absorbed any more water).

6. Once the cubes were saturated, they were weighed again to

get the saturated weight of the cubes (W ).

The cubes had droplets of water on the surface after being removed from the tank. These
were removed by blotting the surfaces of the cube with a wet cloth, so not to absorb some of
the pore water in the pores on the surface.
The first set of cubes were removed from the oven after 24 hours, weighed and then placed
back in the oven for a further 24 hours and weighed again, to ensure they were fully dried.
The cubes were found to be completely dry after 24 hours and so this time was decided on
for sufficient drying of the cubes.

6.4.2 Capillary Suction

As stated above there are no standards for capillary suction for mortars, therefore the
standards for stone are used (BS EN 1925: 1999).

• Oven maintained at 105 + 5°C
• Water
• Steel
• Weighing Scales accurate to 0.01g
• Stopwatch with accuracy of 1 second



1. The cubes were dried in an oven for 24 hours, at a constant

temperature of 105°C, after 35 days of hardening.

2. Once completely dry the cubes were removed from the oven and
allowed to cool to room temperature.

3. The cubes were then placed in the water basin on the steel ribs,
the non-trowelled side is then submersed in the water to a depth
of approximately 3mm + 1mm.

4. The cube is left in the water for a minute and then removed.
5. The wet face of the cube is blotted with a damp cloth to remove
excess water on the surface before being weighed and the wet
mass recorded.
6. This procedure is then repeated for varying intervals up to 60 minutes.


The water level was maintained by measuring the depth of water at regular intervals and
replacing any absorbed water. Unlike the recommendations of the standards which
maintain consistency by having a constant flow of water in and out of the tray. In the
laboratory, these conditions are impractical to implement and therefore this more
convenient, alternative method was employed.

Also suggested in the standards was to continue the tests for as long as 1440 minutes. This
suggested time is for stone and therefore, for mortar, the more practical time was 60 minutes.

Fig.6.2 Capillary Suction tray

6.4.3 Bulk and Real Density/Porosity

These tests were conducted in accordance with RILEM [13].

• Oven maintained at 105 + 5°C
• Weighing scales with accuracy of 0.01g
• Hydrostatic weighing scales accurate to 0.01g
• Evacuation


1. The cubes were dried in an oven for 24 hours until a constant

mass was achieved (m )

2. The cubes were then placed in the evacuation vessel under

water and a vacuum placed on the vessel

3. The cubes were left in the vessel under vacuum for

24 hours
4. After this period the vessel was returned to atmospheric pressure
and the cubes left submerged for a further 24 hours

5. The cubes were removed and the hydrostatic weight measured (m )

(under water)

6. The cubes are dried with a damp cloth and weighed again at
atmospheric pressure (m ), whilst still saturated

The values for bulk and real density were calculated from these results. The porosity
results were also calculated from these results. For the calculations it is assumed that all of
the pores are linked and so the open porosity is equal to the total porosity.
6.4.4 Shrinkage

The shrinkage test monitors how much a prism of mortar shrinks over time. Shrinkage is
generally related to the amount of water in the mortar, as shrinkage occurs due to the unused
water leaving the mix. This test simply requires the prisms to be set up under a shrinkage
gauge, accurate to 0.02mm, and monitored over time. The gauges are placed in the curing
room to avoid fluctuations in humidity and temperature. The curing room maintains a
humidity of 50% 60% and temperature of 15°C 20°C. A graph is then drawn up using
simple equations so the mixes can be compared easily.

Fig 6.3, Shrinkage Gauge

6.4.5 Compressive Strength

Some standards suggest the cubes being saturated, but as these cubes are lime putty
submersing them in water would hinder the hardening as it would restrict the carbonation of
the lime putty. This test was performed according to the BS 196-1 [13]. The cubes are
placed in the centre of the plate in the testing machine and a uniformly distributed load is
applied. This load is continuously increased until failure occurs.
1. Cross sectional area of the cube measured and cube placed in the
centre of the plate.

2. The cube was then continuously loaded at a very low rate until
failure stress, F, was noted.

The stress rate on the machine was manually controlled so to get a more accurate value as the
mortar cubes are so weak.

Although it is stated earlier that the testing began after 35 days of hardening, it was in fact
closer to 50 days after placement in the moulds. This is due to the limited number of cubes
and prisms made. There were a number of non-destructive tests performed on the cubes
before crushing. The results from these tests are directly compared with other results that
were taken on 28, 35 or 56 day strength. This must be kept in mind when comparing the
different mortars.

6.4.6 Flexural Strength

As there are no standards for mortars in particular, the standards for cement were employed,
as in above (BS 196-1) [14]. The centre-point loading technique was also used [14]. The
apparatus required is simply a flexural testing rig with two bars on the bottom 100 mm apart
and a bar above in the middle between these bars. The load is then applied to the prism,
through the top bar, steadily until failure occurs.
Fig 6.4, Flexural Testing machine


1. Place the prism across the two lower bars at a right angle
to them.
2. The top bar is then wound down on top of
the prism.
3. The load is steadily applied to the prism until failure stress is
reached and the maximum load noted.

Fig 6.5, Flexural Strength Test

6.5 Key Equations for Calculation of Results

6.5.1 Water Absorption Test

Expression for calculating the water absorbed:


6.5.2 Capillary Suction Test

The water absorption coefficient [12] (by capillary suction) is expressed as:

2 0.5
(g/m .s )

6.5.3 Densities and Porosity Tests

Bulk Density (δ) is given by the equation where the dry mass is divided by the bulk
volume [12]

Real Density (δ ), given by dividing the dry mass by the impermeable volume [12]

( g/cm
) (6.4)

Porosity (P), assuming that total porosity and open porosity are equal, this equation will
give a value for porosity [11]


6.5.4 Shrinkage Test

The shrinkage results were simply the amount (mm) the samples shrunk over time (days) and
a graph drawn up of this.

6.5.5 Compressive Strength Test

The test was carried out on three cubes from each of the mixes to get a more accurate
result, when the averages of the three were taken. The compressive strength was then
calculated using the formula:
(6.6) 2
Where F is the failure load in Newtons, and A, being the area expressed in mm . R is
calculated to three significant figures.

6.5.6 Flexural Strength Test

Three prisms were used for each mix, as above in compression; the following equation is
used to calculate the flexural strength.

R =

Where R is flexural strength (N/mm or MPa), b is the side of the square section (mm), F is
f f
the load applied to the middle of the prism at failure (N) and l is the distance between the
supports (mm)

7.1 Water Absorption Test

This test was completed after 35 days of maturing in the curing chamber; it was the first of
the non-destructive tests to be completed. The test was carried out in according to the
method outlined in chapter six. The cubes were submerged in the water until a constant
weight was obtained and then the final, saturated weight was measured. The amount of
water absorbed was then measured and given as a percentage of the saturated weight. A bar
chart was drawn using excel showing the percentage water absorption for each mix.

7.1.1 Results

Fig 7.1, Water Absorption Results

7.1.2 Discussion

As seen in the bar chart above, the water absorption increases with the increasing proportions
of RHA added. Lime putty is generally more porous and permeable than other hydraulic
limes due to the excess water in the lime putty after slaking. When RHA is added to the lime
putty, it absorbs a lot of the water in the mix and so water must be added to the mortar to
make it more workable and easier to compact into the moulds. Some of this extra water is
used in the hydration of the RHA. However, any of the idle water is then expelled from the
mortar during its maturing and therefore resulting in shrinkage. As the amount of RHA in
each mix rises, the amount of water that is added also rises. This extra water leaves voids in
the mortar when it is expelled from the mortar during the maturing and also the drying

This water absorption also applies to other fluids and gases. The absorption of gases such as
carbon dioxide can help to speed up the carbonation process, resulting in the mortar hardening
more quickly.

7.1.3 Conclusion

The increased water absorption can be beneficial to the mortar but not if the absorption is too
great, as in the 75 % RHA mix. There is too much free water available in the 75 % mix and
this could affect other properties of the mortar.

7.2 Capillary Suction Test

This test was carried out on three cubes from each mix as specified in chapter six. The
cubes were placed in the tray for varying time intervals, starting at one minute up to one
hour. The cubes were weighed at these intervals to measure the amount of water absorbed
by the cubes in the previous time interval. These results were used to calculate values which
can be graphed. Below is an example of one set of results and calculations:
Table 7.1, Example of Results from Capillary Suction Test

Material Amount
Lime Putty 800 g
Sand 2400 g
Water ~20 g
Lime Putty 600 g
RHA 200 g
Sand 2400 g
Water 80 g (+30 g)

Material Amount
Lime Putty 400 g
RHA 400 g
Sand 2400 g
Water 230 g
Lime Putty 200 g
RHA 600 g
Sand 2400 g
Water 310 g
% ret
Sieve size (µm)
5000 0.5
2360 19.4
1180 23.4
600 27.2
425 13.2
300 7.4
150 5.8
75 1.3
pass 1.8

50% RHA Mix

Cube 2
Time Area Weight of Water Square root Time Water Absorption
2 0.5
(sec) (m ) (g) (sec ) (g/A)
7.2.1 Results

Fig 7.2, Capillary Suction for all four mixes

7.2.2 Discussion

As seen in the graph, the pure lime putty (0% RHA Mix) was not as linear as the other mixes;
this could be due to the larger sized pores in this mortar. In the mixes with RHA, the RHA
will fill a number of the gaps and so will result in smaller pores in the end. A large
difference can be seen between the pure lime putty and the 25% RHA mix. A similar
difference can be seen between 25% mix and the 50% mix. Even though the 50% mix had
higher water absorption than the 0% and the 25% mixes, the capillary results for the 50% mix
are far lower. This could be due to a few reasons; the high water absorption will show a
relatively large number of pores, but they may not be connected throughout the mortar. The
proportion of RHA will have an effect on the pores as it will fill a lot of the gaps in between
the aggregate and the binder. Another factor affecting the capillary suction would be the
added water to the mortar at the mixing stage. Due to the high
proportion of RHA there would not be a huge amount of free water after hydration of the
RHA was fulfilled.

The 0% mix might not have the same volume of pores that the other mixes do but the pores
are probably interconnected and this is the reason for the rapid saturation of the cube due to
capillary suction. These cubes were saturated after approximately 30 minutes; whereas the
other cubes were not saturated even after 60 minutes, apart from the 75% mix.

The 75% mix was quite disappointing as these cubes were saturated after approximately 45
minutes. As the main ingredient of the mortar was the RHA, which has such small particles,
a lot of water was required to, firstly hydrate the RHA, and secondly make the mix more
workable and compactable. As there is so much water added to the mix, there is the
possibility of more free water. This free water, when not used in the mortar, evaporates,
leaving very small capillary pores. These capillary pores, if interconnected, can cause a high
capillary suction. This high water content could be a contributory factor in the high rate of
water absorption in this mix also.

7.2.3 Conclusion

The best results in this test were the 50% mix as it absorbed nearly half of what any other mix
did. The test did show that the addition of RHA does have a positive effect on the mortar.
It did display a more positive effect when in smaller proportions when the setting method of
carbonation is more dominant, rather than hydraulic setting. This could be one of the reasons
why the 75% mix did not display the same positive effects that the rest of the RHA mixes
7.3 Bulk and Real Density Test

This test was carried out on 3 cubes from each mix. After the test was completed and results
obtained, the values for the bar charts were calculated from the equations (6.3) and (6.4).

7.3.1 Results

Fig 7.3, Bulk Density for all four mixes

Fig 7.4, Real Density for all four mixes

7.3.2 Discussion

It can be seen from the above charts that the 75% mix shows the greatest difference between
the bulk and real densities indicating that this mortar has the greatest amount of pores. The
bulk density results indicate that the pure lime putty has the densest microstructure followed
by the 25% mix and 50% mix. The 75% mix has very low bulk density in comparison to the
other mixes. When these results are compared with the results from the study by Pavia and
Treacy [15], the bulk density results for the pure lime putty are a bit higher in this project than
in [15]. The real density results however are only very slightly higher. This could be due to
a number of reasons. The sand used in this study might not be the same and also the testing
procedure could also have differed from the procedures used in this study. However, the
mixes with RHA included show very positive results when compared with the fat lime,
feebly-hydraulic and OPC mortars tested in [15]. Both the bulk and the real densities for
25% and 50% mixes are far greater than both the feebly-hydraulic and OPC mortars. Again
this could be due to the differing sand used or the testing methods.
7.3.3 Conclusion

The results from [15] are useful for comparison, but they will be different due to the reasons
listed above. Therefore it is better to compare between the four mixes made for this project
as there has been a trial mix of pure lime putty made with the same sand and mixing
techniques used throughout all of the tests.

7.4 Porosity Test

These results were calculated using the bulk and real densities using the equation (6.5)

7.4.1 Results

Fig 7.5, Porosity Results for all four mixes

7.4.2 Discussion

As can be seen from the chart, the porosity can be related to the amount of water added during
mixing; and therefore the amount of free water available in each mortar. The highest porosity
is the 75% mix which had the most water added during the mixing stage. The lowest is the
pure lime putty which had very little water added to the mix due to the high water content of
the putty to begin with. The small amount of water added to this mix was to counteract the
dryness of the sand used. A lack of pore water in the sand could cause the sand to absorb
some of the water from the mix. The 25% and 50% mixes showed very similar porosity
results. Even though the 50% contained a lot more water, the 25% mix was the first mix
made, therefore the compaction and packing of the 25% mix might not be as good as the 50%
mix was.

7.4.3 Conclusion

Even though the porosity in the pure lime putty is lesser than any of the other mixes, because
the RHA has such fine particles and fills voids between aggregate, it can be concluded that
the pores are larger, but not as numerous as the other mixes. And also the capillary results
show that the 25% mix and the 50% mix show the best performance under capillary suction.
This shows that even though they have the largest number of pores, they are smaller and not
as interconnected. The 75% mix has poor capillary results and high porosity, which indicates
a high number of interconnected pores. This is bad for mortars as it could affect the strength
and other properties of the mortar.
7.5 Shrinkage Tests

These tests were performed on three prisms from each mix. The results then drawn up on

7.5.1 Results

Fig 7.6, Shrinkage Results for all four mixes

7.5.2 Discussion

As stated in chapter six, shrinkage is related to the amount of water in the mortar, and the
expulsion of the water during the drying causes shrinkage in the mortar. The 50% mix has
the highest shrinkage result which indicates a large amount of free water in the mix.
As displayed above, in porosity results, the 50% mix was compacted to a greater extent and
so even though the shrinkage is greatest it still had densities comparable with the other
mixes. The 75% mix also has very high shrinkage values due to the amount of unused water
in the mix. The 25% mix has very low shrinkage results due to it being the first mix, and an
uncertainty existed over the amount of water to be added to the mix. Therefore the mix had
a minimal amount of water added and so very little free water existed; resulting in low
shrinkage values.

7.5.3 Conclusions

The addition of RHA to the mortar means the addition of water and therefore an increase in
shrinkage, if the water added is not used in the hydration of the RHA. This is the reason
why the 75% mix shrinkage is a bit lower than the 50% mix as is has a lot more RHA in the
mix and so will require a lot of water to hydrate it and also make it more workable. If the
25% mix was being made again more water would have been added and so there could have
been more shrinkage than what was displayed in this case.

7.6 Compressive Strength Tests

This test was performed on three cubes from each mix after approximately 48 – 50 days.
The results for compressive strength were calculated from equation (6.6).
7.6.1 Results

Fig 7.7, Compressive Strengths for all four mixes

7.6.2 Discussion

As the lime putty sets entirely by carbonation, the initial 35 day curing period would not be
sufficient to allow adequate setting for the pure lime putty. Even though these were tested
at 50 days, a lot of the time, after the 35 days, the cubes were submerged in water or in the
oven. This would impede the carbonation process substantially. These conditions would
however be more favorable to the mixes containing RHA as it sets partially through
7.6.3 Conclusion

As seen in fig 7.7, the pure lime putty does not withstand compressive loads as well as the
other mixes. The 50% mix is over eight times stronger in compression than the pure lime
putty. This could be due to a better bond between the aggregates caused by the fine particles
in the RHA acting as an additional binder in the mortar. The 25% mix showed good
compressive results also being higher than the 75% mix but still lower than the 50% mix.
The addition of RHA obviously has a positive effect on the lime putty mortar but the best
results can be achieved when the proportion of RHA is kept less than the proportion of lime.

7.7 Flexural Strength Tests

This test was performed on three prisms from each mix. It was carried out after
approximately 50 days. The results for flexural strength were obtained from the equation
(6.7) after the readings were taken.
7.7.1 Results

Fig 7.8, Flexural Strengths for all four mixes

7.7.2 Discussion

Due to lime putty hardening by carbonation, it generally has a greater flexural strength than
other hydraulic binders. Therefore, when hydraulic setting is combined with carbonation,
the flexural strength should decrease as it does with feebly-hydraulic mortars. The 25%
mix is considerably lower than any of the other mixes. This is most likely due to this mix
being the first mix and so very little water was added. The resulting mortar was brittle and
the bonds of the mortar were not very strong.
7.7.3 Conclusion

As demonstrated in fig 7.8, the 50% mix has three times the flexural strength the pure lime
putty has. As stated above the 25% mix results were quite disappointing due to the reasons
given. The 75% mix performed as well as the pure lime putty did. This was probably due
to the majority of the binder used being RHA. The setting being mainly hydraulic rather
than by carbonation would affect the flexural behaviour of the mortar. The 75% mix acted
similarly to an OPC mortar. It can be seen clearly in the 50% mix, that the RHA has a very
positive effect on the mortar in this proportion. However if the 25% mix contained more
water the results for this mix could have been more encouraging.

8.1 Introduction

The objective of this project was to investigate the effect RHA has on lime mortar when
added in varying proportions, and is it a practical material to use in the construction industry.
Experimental studies were carried out to demonstrate some of the properties of lime mortar
with the addition of RHA and the results compared with feebly hydraulic lime mortar and
also a reference mix with no RHA content. The theory of lime and lime mortars was
described, followed by a description of the mortar mixes. The testing methods and tests
were fully described, and the results were recorded from the testing were analysed using the
equations given in chapter six.

8.2 Conclusions

The results obtained in this project show that the addition of RHA to lime putty has a lot of
positive effects when added in the right proportions. The reference mix of pure lime putty is
the main source of comparison in the project, as the sand used and procedures were consistent
throughout all of the mixing and testing, the most accurate comparisons could be made.
When comparing the results from this project with other results there are a number of
variables which can affect the results. A different type of sand can affect the results, and
also the mixing procedure can be different if mixed or tested according to different standards.
This is the reason a trial mix of pure lime putty was made using the same aggregate and
mixing techniques as the other mixes.
The addition of RHA improved the behaviour of the mortar in almost all of the tests except
for the shrinkage test. This is due to the extra water added to the RHA mixes in order to
make them more workable. The RHA had a tendency to draw the water from the putty,
therefore affecting the workability of the mix. Due to inexperience and lack of knowledge
on RHA, the water content could probably be reduced and therefore decrease the shrinkage.
The water absorption results were also quite similar to the shrinkage. The amount of water
absorption rises with the amount of RHA added to the mortar. This is not necessarily a bad
result as the water absorption also applies to absorption of gases such as carbon dioxide. The
ability for carbon dioxide to penetrate the mortar means an increase in carbonation of the lime
and therefore more rapid hardening of the mortar. as stated in chapter seven, the 25% RHA
mix was the first mix made and so not enough water was added to the mix. Due to this some
of the results for this mix were a little inaccurate, particularly the flexural strength and
shrinkage. it would be expected that if the test for this mix were don again the results would
be a bit more consistent and satisfactory.

The results for the 75% mix were disappointing. The flexural strength and compressive
strength were lower than both the 50% mix and 25% mix. The shrinkage was the second
highest behind the 50% mix. The density of the 75% mix was a lot lower than the two other
mixes, and it also had the highest porosity. In shrinkage, the mix was saturated after
approximately 30 minutes. One of the possible reasons for these disappointing results is the
amount of water in the mix. Due to the high level of RHA a lot of water must be added in
order to achieve adequate workability. Another reason for the poor results could be the fact
that RHA does not have pozzolanic properties when on its own. The high proportion of
RHA in this mix could demonstrate this fact. This would explain the poor results in flexural
and compressive strengths. While the high water content would explain the porosity and
capillary suction results.

The 50% mix displayed the best results in most of the tests. The compressive strengths are
comparable with strong OPC mortars whilst also maintaining very high flexural strengths
also. The low capillary suction indicates that the pores are not entirely
interconnected. The only disappointing result from this mix was the shrinkage which was
very high in comparison to the pure lime putty mix. This mix showed good density results
with very similar porosity results to the 25% mix.

As demonstrated by the results, the addition of RHA to lime putty has very positive effects
on the mortar, once the proportions of RHA added are kept relatively small. Particularly
the 50% mix which has only one really poor result (shrinkage), and the 25% mix, if carried
out again, it is estimated, it could display similarly positive results. As these results show
the same good results shown by non-hydraulic limes but with the bad aspects of these lime

8.3 Recommendation for Further Study

Due to time restrictions and resources, the tests completed gave limited results. However the
results obtained were very positive and encouraging, and would warrant further study into
this topic.

To get more definitive results, a wider range of mortars must be made with wider variations
in mix proportions. The water added should be regulated a bit more with restrictions
placed in order to avoid too much water affecting the results. This can only be done after
much experimentation.

As there is limited knowledge of RHA and how to use it, a considerable amount of
testing and research needs to be carried out in order to understand its behaviour under
different circumstances and to get a definitive method for mixing RHA.

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