Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Civil Engineering

Major Professor

Abla Zayed, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rajan Sen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Ram Pendyala, Ph.D.


Sulfur Trioxide, Compressive Strength, Expansion, Gypsum, Sulfate Attack


The objective of this investigation was to assess the influence of the SO3 content on the durability and strength of portland cement.

Four portland cements were used in this study. The cements had a variable tricalcium silicate, tricalcium aluminate, and alkali contents, as well as differences in the amount and form of calcium sulfates. The SO3 content of the cements was increased by replacing part of the cement by gypsum according to ASTM C 452-95.

Mortar bars and cubes were prepared for the as-received as well as for the cements with an SO3 content of 3.0% and 3.6%. The durability of the as-received and doped cements was determined by measuring the length change of the mortar bars that were exposed to sodium sulfate environment. The compressive strength of the mortar cubes prepared for the same mixes was measured at different ages for sets of cubes cured both in sodium sulfate solution and in saturated lime solution.

It was concluded at the end of this study that there is an optimum SO3 content for the lowest expansion that is different from that determined for the highest compressive strength. Optimum values also differed from one cement to another and from one age to another for the same cement. The results also indicate the dependence of SO3 content on tricalcium aluminate and alkali content of cements. In addition, for all cements examined in this study with alkali content of less than 0.60%, increasing the SO3 content above 3.0% had negative effects on durability assessed by strength or expansion measurements. For the cement with highest alkali and tricalcium aluminate content, increasing the SO3 content from 3.0% to 3.6% delayed the onset of strength drop; however, at 360 days the strength drop experienced by both doping levels was the same.