Pore structure and diffusional properties of hardened cement pastes

  • Vitalis T. Ngala

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This study has investigated the inclusion of pulverised fuel ash (PFA) and blast furnace slag (BFS) into hardened cement pastes (HCP) in retarding the ingress of chloride ions and oxygen molecules from the external environment. The influence of environmental factors such as drying and carbonation on the pore structure and diffusional properties of OPC, OPC/30%PFA and OPC/65%BFS hardened pastes was investigated. Specimens were desorbed from a saturated surface dry condition to a near constant weight at 65% relative humidity (RH) while others were simultaneously exposed to a 65% RH atmosphere and a carbon dioxide atmosphere of up to 5% by volume until there were fully carbonated. The presence of the interfacial zone at the cement paste-aggregate interface was critically reviewed and identified. The influence of the interfacial zone on porosity and chloride ingress in assumed periodic composites of glass bead mortars was also studied. The investigations have demonstrated the following: (a) The use of fly ash and slag in blended cement pastes has resulted in a marked reduction in capillary porosity and rate of chloride ingress. (b) The ratio of oxygen to chloride diffusion coefficients increased from values close to 1 in permeable pastes, to values of around 15 in low-permeability blended fly ash and slag pastes. This supports the view that the diffusion of chloride ions is retarded by the surface charge of the hydrated cement gel in low-permeability pastes. (c) Compared with plain OPC pastes, the carbonation of blended fly ash and slag pastes resulted in a marked increase in the coarse capillary porosity and a corresponding increase in the oxygen and chloride diffusion rates.
Date of Award1995
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorC.L. Page (Supervisor)


  • pore structure
  • diffusional properties
  • hardened cement pastes
  • blended pastes
  • Chloride ion
  • Oxygen molecule
  • carbonation
  • ice formation
  • interfacial zone

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