Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

MS in Civil Engineering (M.S.C.E.)

Degree Granting Department

Civil and Environmental Engineering

Major Professor

Abla Zayed, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rajan Sen, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Kyle Riding, Ph.D.


Setting Time, Compressive Strength, Sulfate Durability, Calorimetry, X-Ray Diffraction


Mineral and chemical admixtures are used today in almost all concrete mixtures to improve concrete fresh and hardened properties, and to enhance concrete durability. In this study, four mineral and four chemical admixtures were investigated: namely, metakaolin (MK), silica fume (SF), Class F fly ash (FA), blast-furnace slag (BFS), two high-range water reducers (SP), water reducer/retarder (WRD), and air-entrainer (AEA). The objective of this study is to assess the effects of commonly used mineral and chemical admixtures on the durability of the cementitious system. Two durability issues were addressed in this study: the potential of the cementitious system to generate heat, and sulfate durability. The properties studied here included heat of hydration (HOH) measurements using isothermal calorimetry, setting properties, compressive strength, and expansion on exposure to a sodium sulfate solution. X-ray diffraction was used to characterize the as-received materials and explain failure trends.

The findings of this study indicate that silica fume inclusion sustains superior durability in comparison to the other mineral admixtures considered here. Replacement levels as low as 10% outperformed the other admixtures studied. Fly ash showed improvement in the workability of the mixes, but had the lowest compressive strength results and might pose challenges when the rate of strength gain is critical. However, Class F fly ash mixtures showed better performance than unblended mixtures when exposed to a sulfate source. Metakaolin mixes showed higher heat evolution among all the mixtures studied here. This can potentially lead to durability concerns, especially when temperature rise is a design concern. Blast-furnace slag also improved the workability of the mixes and the later compressive strength, but had mixed performances when examined for sulfate durability.