Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Major Professor

Abla M. Zayed, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rajan Sen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Gray Mullins, Ph.D.


ettringite, C3S, Alkali, heat cured, mortar


The purpose of this study was to determine the cementitious parameters and placement temperature that impact internal sulfate attack in concrete. Concrete structures make up a large percentage of the infrastructure and multifamily housing. Durability is very important. Cements can be formulated to reduce the impact of external environmental exposure such as high salinity from marine environments or high sulfate levels from soils or surface waters. Concrete is also subject to internal attack such as alkali aggregate reaction, (AAR), and delayed ettringite formation, (DEF). This study focused on some of the cement chemistry issues that determine susceptibility of cement to DEF. Expansion due to DEF can weaken the concrete matrix resulting in microcracks that in some cases may progress to severe matrix cracking. The end result is loss of load carrying capacity and costly repairs.

In this study, mortar bars were made with the as received cement chemistry and using additions of sulfate, and alkalis. The bars were then heat cured at various temperatures and stored in a saturated lime solution at room temperature. Measurements were made at predetermined time intervals. The series of mixes were made to determine the effect of varying sulfate levels, heat curing temperature, and alkali content in order to isolate the effect of these constituents. The cements were selected on the basis of tricalcium aluminate, alkali content, sulfate levels, C3S levels and fineness. The results indicate that a relationship exists between the rate and level of expansion experienced by the mortar bars and cementitious parameters, namely, alkali content, sulfate content, C3S levels and heat curing temperature.