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Original citation: Lim, S.K., Ling, T.C., Hussin, M.W.

(2012) Strength properties of self-compacting mortar mixed with GGBFS. ICE-Construction Materials; 165(2):87-98. http://www.icevirtuallibrary.com/content/article/10.1680/coma.10.00016

Strength Properties of Self-Compacting Mortar Mixed with GGBFS


Siong-Kang Lim a, Tung-Chai Ling b*, Mohd Warid Hussinc

ABSTRACT Self-compacting cement grout (SCCG) is one of the economical and an effective material used for repairing structural cracks. However, in terms of raw material cost, SCCG is higher than for conventional concrete due to the high cement volumes at relatively low water-binder ratios to achieve satisfactory combinations of high fluidity and stability. It is expected that ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS) can be used as an alternative material to replace high volume of cement in preparing self-compacting repair mortar (SCRM). In this study, the effects of GGBFS content on both fresh and hardened properties of SCRM were investigated. The influence of different curing conditions on long term compressive strength was also studied. In addition, the microstructure of some mixes at the age of 6 months was also observed by using scanning electron microscope. The results show that the workability and final bleeding value of fresh SCRM decreased with the increase in GGBFS content. At early ages, the compressive strength rate of SCRM incorporating GGBFS was lower but it increased with time and became more pronounced at 30% to 50% replacement level. Thus, the maximum limit of GGBFS replacement is suggested to be controlled at 50% to make the most excellent development in long-term compressive strength. As for curing condition, specimens stored in water showed higher gain in long-term strength than those samples exposed to air and natural weather weathering conditions. Keywords: Grouting/ Recycling & reuse of materials/ Strength and testing of materials

1. INTRODUCTION The first grouting technique started 200 years ago to repair the structure damages of Dieppa harbor by using grouting percussion pump in 1802 ( Bungey and Millardm 1996). In England, Portland cement was used as cement grouting materials in 1838 during the construction of the first Thames tunnel at Wapping. Soon after, cement grouting became widely used in the early part of the last century ( Bungey and Millardm 1996). Nowadays, several types of grout are used including cement, cement and sand, clay-cement, slag-cement, resin gypsum-cement, clays asphalt, pulverized fuel ash and a large number of colloid and low viscosity chemicals. Cement-based grouts can self-compact under its own weight without segregation and are easy to flow into place and have high filling ability. High fluidity characteristic of cement grout is a prime requirement of high cohesion or segregation resistance during flow to form uniform and homogeneous grout (Bartos et al., 1996). As the fluid cement grout can be fully compacted without vibration, the application of fluid cement grout can therefore reduce labour and machinery, improve compaction and hence enhance durability of the critical cover zone of structural member (Bartos et al., 1996). An essential feature of all grout systems is providing
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sufficient fluid to be injected into the void to be grouted and be set to a solid. This technology also brings considerable advantages for concrete filling at narrow and complicated moulds systems However, in terms of raw material cost; self-compacting cement grout (SCCG) is higher than that of conventional concrete. The main reason is because of the use of chemical admixtures and the use of large volumes of cement to achieve satisfactory combinations of high fluidity and stability. In other words, SCCG requires high powder volumes at relatively low water/binder ratios with significant quantities of superplasticizers. In order to address this scenario, in the past 10 years, several studies had been conducted to utilize limestone powder and various types of supplementary cementing materials as cement subsitute in self-compacting repair mortar (SCRM) (Felekoglu, 2008, Felekoglu et al., 2006, Felekoglu et al., 2007, Turkel and Altuntas, 2009, Courard et al., 2002, Khayat and Morin, 2002, OFlaherty and Mangat, 1999). Felekoglu (2008) conducted an extensive laboratory study on the effects of using three types of limestone powders to replace cement in self-compacting filling grouts (SCFG) products. The limestone powder used was obtained from different quarries. He reported that the best performance at fresh and hardened properties of SCFG could be achieved by using 10% special type of quarry dust as cement substitute. However, an optimum amount of limestone powder as cement replacement material may depend on the application and construction purposes. Felekoglu et al. (2006) investigated and compared the properties of SCRM containing fly ash and two types of limestone fillers. The replacement ratios by weight were varied from 20% to 60%, respectively. Based on the results derived from early strength, both types of limestone powder were more effective than fly ash. At 28-day compressive strength, 20% fly ash replacement gave higher value as compared to other fillers but slightly lower than control mixes. However, at later strength beyond 28 days, SCRM containing fly ash gave higher strength than the control mixtures due to the reactivity of pozzolanic reaction by fly ash. The application of steel fiber reinforcement in SCRM was made by Felekoglu et al. (2007). It was noticed that no deleterious effect on compressive strength could be detected for an additional of 2% steel fiber by volume due to the better compaction and homogeneity of fiber distribution. Moreover, a strong improvement of 28-day flexural strength by 19% and abrasion resistance by 42% of reinforced SCRM was detected. A most recent study conducted by Turkel and Altuntas (2009) aims to compare the effects of limestone powder on the properties of SCRM with other mineral additives such as silica fume, fly ash and combination of both. In general, combinations of mineral additives at different proportions showed a higher strength than using single mineral additive alone. The compressive strength results indicated that 30% silica fume replacement ratio of cement obtained the maximum strength due to the pore-filling effect and improved bonding between mortar matrix. GGBFS is a potential hydraulic binder. The traditional usage of GGBFS as cement replacement in conventional concrete or mortar decreases the early strength but improved in late strength and mechanical properties (Robins et al.,1992, Olorunsogo, 1998, Atis and Bilim, 2007, Olorunsogo and Wainwright, 1998, Ozkan et al., 2007, Cakir and Akoz, 2008, Felekoglu, 2008, Shariq et al., 2008). While cement is used as a major composition in the cement grout, it is expected that the GGBFS can be utilized as cement substitute to produce cost-effective SCRM with added environmental and technical benefits. The effect of GGBFS on long term strength properties and curing behaviour particularly for SCRM is not yet studied and well established. This present study is therefore designed to utilize high volume of GGBFS as a replacement of commonly used Portland cement in SCRM. The effects of GGBFS content on the flowability and bleeding of fresh stage and long-term strength under different curing conditions of hardened properties are studied.

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2. EXPERIMENTAL PROGRAM 2.1 Materials 2.1.1 Ordinary Portland cement Ordinary Portland Cement (OPC) complied with the Malaysian Standard MS 522: Part 1(2002), equivalent to the Type I Portland cement as per ASTM C 150 (2006) was used as a cementing material to produce SCRM in this study. The OPC used with the brand of SELADANG was obtained from Tenggara Cement Manufacturing Sdn. Bhd. Table 1 shows the chemical compositions and physical properties of the OPC. 2.1.2 Ground granulated blast furnace slag Ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS) used in this study was a by-product obtained from a local steel industry, Slag Cement (Southern) Sdn. Bhd, YTL. The GGBFS was first sieved through 600 m in order to remove larger size particles and litter, if any. After going through the sieving process for around one hour, only the slag that passed through a 45m sieve was collected. The slag activity index of this material was then conducted following ASTM C989 (2009). Two cubes of reference cement (100% Portland cement mix) and 50-50- slag cement-reference mortars from single batches were prepared on the same day, respectively. The compressive strength (activity index) of GGBFS was determined on the 7th and 28th day. Based on the results shown in Table 1, the GGBFS used in this study was classified as a category 100 slag according to ASTM C 989 (2009). The chemical compositions, physical and mechanical properties of GGBFS are shown in Table 1. Table 1: Chemical compositions, physical and mechanical properties of OPC and GGBFS
OPC Chemical Constituents Silicon dioxide (SiO2) (%) Aluminium oxide (Al2O3) (%) Ferric oxide (Fe2O3) (%) Calcium oxide (CaO) (%) Magnesium oxide (MgO) (%) Sulphur oxide (SO3) (%) Sodium oxide (Na2O) (%) Potassium oxide (K2O) (%) Titanium oxide (TiO2) (%) Phosphorous oxide (P2O2) (%) Carbon content (C) (%) Physical Properties Loss on ignition (LOI) Specific gravity Fineness (% passing 45m) Mechanical Properties 7-day compressive strength (MPa) 28-day compressive strength (MPa) 7-day activity index (%) 28-day activity index (%) 20.1 4.9 2.5 65.0 3.1 2.3 0.2 0.4 0.2 <0.9 2.4 3.2 93.0 29.3 37.0 GGBFS 28.2 10.0 1.8 50.4 4.6 2.2 0.1 0.6 0.2 100 21.8 36.3 74.4 98.1

2.1.3 Sand Fine sand that complied with ASTM C 778 (2006) was used for the experiments. The sand was first dried in an oven at a temperature of 1105 0C for 24 hours for moisture elimination. The dried sand was then sieved to remove litter, if any, and to obtain 100% particles <2.36 mm and 95% to 100% particles < 1.18 mm in order to meet the requirement of

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ASTM C 637 (2009). This range of particle size was classified as grading 1 in fine aggregate according to the ASTM C637 (2009) and is suitable to be used as filler in cement mortar. 2.1.4 Water Tap water used was clean, neutral and contained limited substances that does not no cause any harm to the process of cement hydration and durability of produced self-compacting repair mortars. 2.2 Mixture proportions In this study, the SCRM composition was designed based on its consistency flow without segregation using the flow cone method. Binder to sand ratio was fixed at 1 to 1 ratio throughout this study. GGBFS was replaced from 30% to 60% of total cement by weight in an increment of 10%. Table 2 shows the composition of SCRM with various replacement levels of GGBFS. In accordance to ASTM C 827 (1987), the efflux or flow time needed to produce fluid mixture should be controlled in the range of 10 to 30 seconds. Therefore, in order to fixed the efflux time of self-compacting mortar at the range of 212 second, water to binder ratios of all the mixtures in the range of 0.55 to 0.60 were obtained. 2.3 Specimens preparation The mixing procedure of fluid SCRM was carried out in accordance to ASTM C 1107 (2008). The mixing procedures are described as follow:- First, OPC, GGBFS and graded dry sand were mixed in a concrete mixer for three minutes until the materials were blended intimately and uniformly. Water was then added into the dry mix and mixed for another three minutes until it was uniformed. The dimension of 70.6 mm 70.6 mm 70.6 mm cube samples in accordance to BS 1881: part 116 (1993) were used to determine the determination of compressive strength. Prism measuring 100 mm 100 mm 300 mm in accordance to RILEM PC-2 (1975) was used to determine the flexural strength. After 24 hours of casting, the specimens were demoulded and subjected to the respective curing condition until the day of testing. Three curing conditions were adopted to assess the influence of GGBFS content on the flexural and compressive strengths development. The three curing conditions were described as below: i) Air curing in laboratory at 27-30 0C average temperature with relative humidity of 65%. ii) Natural weathering outside laboratory at temperature ranged from 26-36 0C with relative humidity ranged from 65% to 90%. iii) Continuous water curing at constant temperature of 26 0C. 2.4 Test methods The flowability of fresh self-compacting cement grout was determined in accordance to ASTM C 939 (2006). The flowability of the cementitious grout complied with the physical requirements in accordance to ASTM C 937 (2006). The fresh cement grout was poured into a clean moistened flow cone without any compaction and vibration until the grout surface rose till the point gauge (17255ml). Once the flow cone was fully filled, unplug the cone, the cone was unplugged and simultaneously the time was recorded until it was time to empty the cone (when light inside the flow cone was visible). For each mix property, two consecutive test run was employed. The influence of GGBFS on the bleed characteristic of SCRM was investigated in accordance to ASTM C 940 (2003). The percentage of bleed water was drawn at 15 minute intervals during the first hour and at 30 minute intervals thereafter until cessation of bleeding. The compressive strength test was performed in accordance to BS 1881: part 116 (1993). For each mix property, three cubic samples were used for each age and curing conditions. The compressive strength was determined on the 7th day, 14th day, 28th day, 3
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months, 6 months, and 9 months after casting using a TONIPAC 300 testing machine with a maximum capacity of 3000 kN. The flexural strength test was carried out in accordance to ASTM C 78 (2009). In this test, only SCRM incorporating 40% and 50% GGBFS including control mix exposed to three different curing conditions were tested at the age of 6 months. The flexural strength reported represents the mean of three specimens. After the mechanical strengths testing, some samples were selected to examine the microstructure as well as nature of hydration product in the pastes.

3. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION 3.1 Flowability Flowability is an important design parameter of self-compacting cement grouts. In field, free flow and high filling ability of SCRM is preferred in grouting works to penetrate cracks, fine pores and fissures in concrete completely. For this reason, sufficient water (optimum w/b) for each mix proportion to produce a grout efflux time of 21 2 s was determined in accordance to ASTM C 938 (2002). Based on the results in Table 2, it was observed that as the GGBFS content increased, it is possible to restrict the efflux time specified by ASTM C 938 (2002) by increasing the amount of water. The replacement of OPC at 30%, 40%, 50% and 60% with GGBFS increased the w/b ratio from 0.55 to 0.57, 0.58, 0.59 and 0.60, respectively. In other words, the fluidity of SCRM mixtures decreased as the GGBFS content was increased. Ozkan et al. (2007) also reported similar observations that replacement of cement by GGBFS decreased the workability of fresh concrete. This may be attributed to the fineness of GGBFS which leads to an increase in total area surface per unit volume. Table 2: Mix proportions of SCRM
Mix Ingredients CG-CTR Binder : Sand Ratio Water : Binder Ratio OPC Content (%) GGBFS Content (%) 1:1 0.55 100 0 SCRM mix compositions CG-30 1:1 0.57 70 30 CG-40 1:1 0.58 60 40 CG-50 1:1 0.59 50 50 CG-60 1:1 0.60 40 60

Flowability

Fulfilled the requirement of ASTM C 938 (2002)

3.2 Bleeding control Table 3 shows the results of percentage of bleed water at prescribed interval and final bleeding rate of self-compacting repair mortars incorporating 0%, 30%, 40%, 50% and 60% GGBFS. As seen from the table, the total bleeding percentage of all the SCRM mixtures is less than 2% which satisfy the requirement of ASTM C 937 (2002). The results show that control mix without GGBFS possessed the highest final bleeding value. Nevertheless, as the percentage of GGBFS increased, it decreased the final bleeding value of SCRM. The reason for this could be associated to the relatively higher fineness of GGBFS as compared with OPC. According to ACI 226 (1987), the bleeding rate of concrete mix is governed by the ratio of the surface area of solids to the volume of water. Therefore it can be concluded that the use of high fineness GGBFS for optimum hydration will not have any considerable inverse effect on the workability and strength properties of concrete. Additionally, by incorporating GGBFS in repair mortar, it may reduce the risk of excessive bleeding of freshly placed mix, thus,
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resulting in better bonding strength along cracks and the interfaces between the coarse aggregate and cement paste can be provided. Table 3: Percentage of bleed water of SCRM mixtures
Bleeding at prescribed interval (%) 1 15 minutes 1st 30 minutes 1st 45 minutes 1st hour 1 hour until 3 hours Final bleeding (3 hours) (%)
st

CG-CTR 0.62 1.24 1.49 1.74 1.99 1.99<2

CG-30 0.60 1.24 1.47 1.60 1.76 1.76<2

CG-40 0.60 1.25 1.50 1.62 1.62 1.62<2

CG-50 0.50 1.23 1.23 1.38 1.38 1.38<2

CG-60 0.37 0.87 0.99 0.99 0.99 0.99<2

3.3 Compressive strength The results of 7-day, 14-day, 28-day, 3-month, 6-month, and 9-month compressive strength of SCRM samples subjected to three different curing conditions are shown in Figs. 1-6, respectively. Fig. 1 shows that there was a systematic reduction in compressive strength with the increase in GGBFS content during the early stages of hydration. The initial strength development of control mix was predominantly due to the hydration of the more reactive tricalcium silicate (C3S) component. During the first 7 days of curing, it is important to note that the samples cured under air and natural weather conditions developed initial strength more rapidly than equivalent samples stored in water except for 60% GGBFS replacement. This is situation can be explained as the comparative higher temperature under air and natural weather in Malaysias tropical environment accelerated the hydration of C3S and C2S compounds in Portland cement.

Fig 1: 7-day compressive strength of SCRM with varying percentage of GGBFS

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However, it should be noted that the compressive strength of air and natural weather cured samples was rapidly leveled out after 14 days as shown in Figs 2 and 3. This is because the water was intensively eliminated and evaporated by the scorching sunshine as well as hot temperature in the tropical climate of Malaysia. The evaporation faced by air cured samples can be noticed by the lighter density as compared to water cured samples. The high rate of water evaporation through capillary pores in cement matrixes may result in insufficient water for hydration of cement. The samples under natural weather might have either higher or lower compressive strength and density as compared to the samples cured under air. During hot days with low humidity and higher temperature, the moisture content inside the samples faced higher evaporation through the diffusion mechanisms. On the other hand, during rainy days, the natural weather cured samples provided a suitable condition to maintain adequate water for hydration process as the inlet and outlet pores structure of the sample were restricted by rain water. From the above mentioned study, it can be concluded that initial water curing for early 7th day to 14th day is important to provide adequate hydration for early strength development. Based on the results shown in Figs 2 and 3, water cured samples acquired a slightly higher compressive strength than air and natural weather cured samples. The continuous increase in compressive strength with time for water cured samples after 14 days will have risen due to sufficient water for ongoing hydration of the reactive siica in GGBFS and remaining CaOH2. The 14 and 28-day compressive strength of water cured SCRM samples containing 30% and 40% GGBFS were slightly higher than the control SCRM, and for all the replacement level beyond 40%, the relationships were below than that of the control SCRM. The glassy compounds in GGBFS reacted slowly with water and it took time to obtain hydroxyl ions from the hydration product of Portland cement to break down the glassy slag parcels at this period of age. It was noted that additional C-S-H gel was formed as a result of the pozzolanic reaction of CaOH2 in cement, with reactive SiO2 in GGBFS.

Fig 2: 14-day compressive strength of SCRM with varying percentage of GGBFS

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Fig 3: 28-day compressive strength of SCRM with varying percentage of GGBFS Figs 4-6 show that as the curing age increased from 3 months to 9 months, the presence of 30% to 50% GGBFS was highly beneficial for samples cured under water and air with the compressive strength exceeding control mix samples. This indicated that GGBFS can achieve sufficient early compressive strength, while providing higher long term strength. In order to find a plausible reason for that, the SEM observation at the age of 6 months of water cured CG-CTR and CG-50 specimens were performed. The SEM images obtained with different magnification are shown in Fig. 7. As can be seen from Fig. 7 (a), there are great deals of rod-like crystals of ettringite or monosulfate, and relatively larger pore were observed in CG-CTR (without GGBFS). On the other hand, Fig. 7 (b) shows a denser microstructure in CG-50 sample, with improved pore structure by a certain amount of rod-like ettringgite and lots of cotton-shaped CH cover throughout. Therefore it can be concluded that at 6 months of age, GGBFS hydration and pozzonalic reaction were almost completed for all samples stored in water. The improved compressive strength reflected the strengthening effect of fine GGBFS on the mechanical properties of SCRM. However, a noticeable reduction in compressive strength was observed at all ages as the content of GGBFS increased to 60%. Thus, the maximum limit of GGBFS should be controlled at 50% to make the most excellent in long term compressive strength development of SCRM.

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Fig 4: 3-month compressive strength of SCRM with varying percentage of GGBFS

Fig 5: 6-month compressive strength of SCRM with varying percentage of GGBFS

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Fig 6: 9-month compressive strength of SCRM with varying percentage of GGBFS Table 4 shows the compressive strength development of SCRM expressed as percentage of 28-day compressive strength being subjected to different curing conditions. The results indicate that beyond 28 days of air curing, the compressive strength of control mix gradually decreased due to inadequate moisture content in samples for hydration process. It can be seen from the table with the age from 3 months up to 9 months, there is a general trend of decreasing compressive strength of air cured SCRM samples, regardless of GGBFS content. On the other hand, the compressive strength development of SCRM samples exposed to natural weathering crucially depends on humidity and temperature of tropical climate that inconsistently changed. Samples cured under inconsistent wet-dry cycles were considered as severe environmental condition. A better compressive strength development may be achieved with adequate moist-cured during rainy season and vice-versa during hot days. This is because the rain water can be absorbed by the SCRM samples through capillary and pore structures to compensate water loss via evaporation and maintain sufficient water in samples for both hydration and pozzolanic reactivity.

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(a2)

(b2)

CH CH

CH

(a3)

Ettringite

(b3)

CH

CH

CH

(a4)

(b4)

CH

CH CH Ettringite CH

Fig. 7: Observation of SEM images of 6 months water cured SCRM samples (a) CG-CTR (b) CG-50 at different magnification

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Table 4: Compressive strength development of SCRM expressed as percentage of 28-day compressive strength when being subjected to different curing conditions
Age Mix notation CG-CTR CG-30 7 days CG-40 CG-50 CG-60 CG-CTR CG-30 14 days CG-40 CG-50 CG-60 CG-CTR CG-30 28 days CG-40 CG-50 CG-60 CG-CTR CG-30 3 months CG-40 CG-50 CG-60 CG-CTR CG-30 6 months CG-40 CG-50 CG-60 CG-CTR CG-30 9 months CG-40 CG-50 CG-60 Compressive strength development as percentage of 28-day compressive strength Air Natural weather Water 79 79 75 80 83 96 90 86 90 88 100 100 100 100 100 92 111 105 121 111 91 104 102 114 121 87 109 98 111 125 74 67 73 66 72 93 80 83 87 88 100 100 100 100 100 122 133 119 113 140 142 121 134 119 121 128 139 118 137 139 76 62 59 60 64 84 83 79 83 75 100 100 100 100 100 125 135 124 144 107 135 134 125 166 108 128 140 137 174 113

3.4 Flexural Strength Fig. 8 shows the results of a 6-month flexural strength. Based on the results, both SCRM samples containing 40% and 50% GGBFS cured under air and natural weather conditions exhibited a lower flexural strength than that of control mix. However, it can be noticed that under water curing condition, SCRM samples containing 40% and 50% GGBFS exhibited higher flexural strength than control mix. 40% of GGBFS replacement achieved 10.9 MPa while 50% of GGBFS replacement achieved 9.4 MPa after a 6 months period of water
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curing, which is about 27% and 17% higher than that of the control mix. The improved flexural strengths may be attributed to the sufficient water for cement hydration process and provide better bond between paste-aggregate. Therefore, adequate water is also important for long term flexural strength development of SCRM.

Fig 8: 6-month flexural strength of SCRM with varying percentage of GGBFS under different curing conditions (selected mixes) 4. CONCLUSIONS Based on the results obtained in the present investigation, the following conclusions are made. 1. Incoporating GGBFS in the SCRM decreased the flowbility due to its fineness and higher amount of water is needed to compensate for the loss in workability. 2. The increased content of GGBFS from 30% to 60% decreased the bleeding rate of fresh SCRM mixtures, reflecting the beneficial effect of GGBFS for repairing work. 3. There was a systematic decrease in compressive strength with the increase in GGBFS content during the early age, however, beyond 28 days and up to 9 months, the presence of 30% to 50% GGBFS in SCRM exceeded the strength of the control mix because of its pozzolanic reactivity. 4. A noticeable reduction in compressive strength was observed at all ages as the content of GGBFS reached 60%, thus the maximum use of GGBFS is suggested to be 50% or less to make the most excellent in long term compressive strength development of SCRM. 5. Water curing condition reflected the best performance in long term compressive strength development of SCRM as compared to air and natural weather curing conditions. 6. A 6-month flexural strength of water cured SCRM made with 40% and 50% GGBFS exceeded that of the SCRM made with pure OPC due to sufficient water for long-term
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hydration process and pozzolanic activity. On the contrary, the air and natural cured SCRM made with 40% and 50% GGBFS showed a lower flexural strength gain than SCRM made with pure OPC. Overall test results in this study demonstrate that it is beneficial to use GGBFS as cement replacement to prepare self-compacting repair mortars for grouting works. However, due to very high fine material contents in SCRM, further investigation on shrinkage cracking is required before it can be introduced to the construction industry. As expected, the positive influence of GGBFS can be more pronounced in these mixtures even at higher replacement ratios of GGBFS when superplasticizers are used. Therefore, the use of superplasticising admixtures in SCRM mixtures with lower w/b ratios for further investigation can be considered.

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