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Workability and strength of masonry mortars with high volume Class-C fly ash

Dr.K.Ramamurthy, FBMS, and R.Manikandan


Professor Research Scholar
Building Technology and Construction Management Division
Department of Civil Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai-600 036, India
Abstract:

This study is focused on the use of fly ash in mortar as an addition and replacement of cement by

equivalent volume. For each mix, the water content required for achieving a flow value of 135%,

was first determined. The water requirement for each mix increases as addition and replacement

level of fly ash increases. Based on this water content, the 7, 28 and 90-day compressive strengths

were determined. Irrespective of age for each mix, compressive strength decreases as the addition

level of fly ash increase for mix 1:3 and 1:4 and almost remains constant for 1:5. Increase in

strength is observed up to 100% addition level for mix 1:6 and 1:7. Replacement of cement causes

reduction in compressive strength at all age. For a given cement content, addition of fly ash results

in reduction in compressive strength for 1:3 mix and increase in strength for 1:4 and 1:5 mix.

Compressive strength obtained at all addition and replacement level of fly ash satisfies code

specified minimum compressive strength.

INTRODUCTION

Masonry mortar should possess good workability for better spreadability and filling of joints,

higher water retention capacity for hydration of cement and good adhesion capacity for better

bonding of masonry units [8]. Generally three types of masonry mortars namely, cement-lime-

sand, lime mortar and cement-sand mortar are being widely adopted in practice. Lime mortar,

which is being used since ancient times is known to possess high water retention, plasticity and

increase in workability but has low early age strength development. However, Portland cement-

sand mortar has higher early age strength gain properties but possesses lower water retentivity and
lead to higher shrinkage cracks. The deficiency in both the above mentioned masonry mortars are

overcome by cement-lime-sand mortar [8, 14]. BS 5628 and ASTM C 270 classify the most

practically used cement-lime-sand masonry mortar into four categories as shown in Table-1.

Table-1 Classification of masonry mortar [1,2]

Designation and Mix proportion by volume Minimum 28 days


BS 5628 ASTM C 270 compressive strength, MPa
Designation

Designation
BS 5628 ASTM C 270
Cement: Lime: Sand Cement: Lime: Sand

i 1:0 to 0.25:3 M 1:0.25: (S>2.25<3) 16 17.2


ii 1:0.5:4 to 4.5 S 1:0.25 to 0.5: (S>2.25<3) 6.5 12.4
iii 1:1:5 to 6 N 1:0.5 to 1.25: (S>2.25<3) 3.6 5.4
iv 1:2:8 to 9 O 1:1.25 to 2.5: (S>2.25<3) 1.5 2.4

Most standards prescribe the use of masonry mortar relatively weaker than the masonry units

[1,2]. Even though the above codes prescribe the use of lime in masonry mortar for better fresh

mortar characteristics such as workability, water retentivity and cohesiveness of mix, non-

availability of good quality of lime hinders its wider use in countries like India, wherein the lime

is mostly manufactured through small-scale cottage industry without strict quality control as in the

case of cement production. This has led to the use of high strength Ordinary Portland cements (28-

day compressive strength of cement tested using mortar cubes exceeding 43 MPa) in masonry

mortar, which results in higher strength, lower workability, occurrence of bleeding and

segregation.

Under such circumstances, masonry mortar with desirable workability can be achieved by the use

of high volume fly ash utilization. Table-2 summarises a review of available literature on use of

fly ash in mortar, in general. All these studies have attempted to replace a certain percentage by

weight of cement with fly ash. Though the codes [1-3] recommend mix proportion by volume

ratio, most researchers have used mixes by weight ratio, which result in higher paste content.
Considering all these aspects, a systematic study was undertaken on the fresh and hardened

properties of mortar with cement-sand mixes for the influence of high volume of fly ash as an

addition and replacement levels of cement by volume proportion.

Table-2 Review of literature on use of fly ash in masonry mortar

Authors, year Mix Parameters studied

Fly ash replacement level (%)


proportion

Class as per ASTM C618


(Cement:

Compressive strength
Lime:Sand)
Type of fly ash

Flexural strength

Water retention
Bond strength
Workability
Salient observations

Paya et al, 1995 1:0:3 F 15,30, √ √ √ - - Increase in workability – increase in strength for
45,60 15 and 30% fly ash replacement and no
improvement on the increase curing temperature
Malhotra & 1:0:6, 1:1:6, F 50, 100, - √ - √ √ Replacement of lime with fly ash shows poor
Dave, 1999 1:2:9, 1:3:12 150 performance but better than cement-sand mortar
Wong Y L 1:0:1.5 F 15,25, - √ √ √ - Replacement of fly ash increases interfacial bond
et al, 1999 0.3 (w/c) 45, 55 strength and fracture toughness at 15% and
decreases at 45% and 55% but enhanced with age
Kiattikomol et al, 1:0:2.75 F 20 - √ - - - Strength increased with increase in fineness of fly
2001 ash and age, but decrease at early age
Reda Taha 1:1:6 F& 40 - - - √ - Significant improvement in bond strength by
&Shrive, 2001 C replacement of cement and lime with Class-C and
F. Mix with Class-C shows limited enhancement
compared to Class-F.
Ramazan 1:0:2 C 10,20, - √ - - - Replacement of fly ash reduced early age strength
Demirbog, 2003 0.5 (w/c) 30 at all level of fly ash and increase with age
Cengiz Duran 1:2 C 10, 20, - √ √ - - 28 day Strengths are comparable with PC mortar
Atis et al, 2004 0.4(w/c) 30, 40 for 10% and 20 % replacement level and shows
decrease in for 30% and 40%
Chindaprasirt 1:0:3 F 20, 40 √ √ √ - Reduces water demand, enhances water retention
et al, 2005 and compressive strength
Gengying li & 1:1:6 F 30, 50 √ √ - √ - Replacement of cement and lime enhances
Xiaozhang, 2005 fluidity, bond strength and compressive and
reduction in size of fly ash increases overall
performance
Tangpagasit 1:2.75 F 20 - √ - - - Fly ash with median particle size of 2.7Dm and
et al, 2005 0.485 (w/c) 160 Dm improves the strength activity index at
early ages due to packing effect and pozzolanic
action at later ages
EXPERIMENTAL PROGRAMME

Materials used

Ordinary Portland cement with specific gravity and Blaine’s fineness values of 3.15 and 320

m2/kg respectively and having a 28-day compressive strength (tested using mortar cubes) of 53

MPa was used. River sand passing 4.75 mm with a specific gravity of 2.61 as fine aggregate, and

Fly ash conforming to class C as per ASTM C 618 [5] with specific gravity and Blaine’s fineness

values of 2.64 and 414 m2/kg respectively, and having a chemical composition as shown in

Table-3 were used.

Table-3 Chemical composition of fly ash

Properties of fly ash used and specifications


Properties
Fly ash used IS 3812-2003 [4] ASTM C 618 (Class-C) [5]
SiO2 (%) 31.62 25 (min) -
SiO2 + Al2O3 + Fe2O3 (%) 70.67 50 (min) 50 (min)
MgO (%) 3.71 5 (max) -
SO3 (%) 5.72 3 (max) 5 (max)
CaO (%) 17.17 >10 >10
Loss of ignition (%) 4.68 5(max) 6 (max)

Mix proportion
For the study of mortar mixes in which fly ash was included as addition, the basic five cement-

sand mortar mixes (i.e., 1:3, 1:4, 1:5, 1:6 and 1:7) by volume were considered. To each of these

mixes, fly ash was added by volume in the ratios of 0.5, 0.75, 1.0, 1.5 and 2. For mixes in which

fly ash was replaced with equivalent volume of cement (conventional method), three basic

cement-sand mortar mixes (i.e., 1:3, 1:4 and 1:5) with fly ash replacement ratio of 0.25, 0.4, 0.5

and 0.6 were considered. Mixes 1:6 and 1:7 were not included in the study on replacement of

cement with fly ash as the cement content in these mixes is already low. The fly ash addition and

replacement into the mix was done by equivalent volume of cement and shown in Table 4. The

fluidity (i.e., workability) of mortar was measured by the flow table test for the fixed flow value of

135%, an appropriate value prescribed for masonry mortar [6]. The water content required for
achieving a workability of 135% was determined on a trial and error basis for each of the above

mixes. For each mix, the results are based on the mean value of two trials. For the determined

water content, 7, 28 and 90 days compressive strength for each mix was determined using three

cubes each of size 70.7 mm.

Table 4 Mix proportions for addition and replacement of fly ash (by volume)

Addition of fly ash in mixes (Cement: Fly ash: Replacement of fly ash
(Cement:

Sand)
Control
Mixes

Sand)

C: F: S C: F: S C: F: S C: F: S C: F: S C: F: S C: F: S C: F: S C: F: S

1:3 1:0.5:3 1:0.75:3 1:1:3 1:1.5:3 1:2:3 0.75:0.25:3 0.6:0.4:3 0.5:0.5:3 0.4:0.6:3
1:4 1:0.5:4 1:0.75:4 1:1:4 1:1.5:4 1:2:4 0.75:0.25:4 0.6:0.4:4 0.5:0.5:4 0.4:0.6:4
1:5 1:0.5:5 1:0.75:5 1:1:5 1:1.5:5 1:2:5 0.75:0.25:5 0.6:0.4:5 0.5:0.5:5 0.4:0.6:5
1:6 1:0.5:6 1:0.75:6 1:1:6 1:1.5:6 1:2:6 - - - -
1:7 1:0.5:7 1:0.75:7 1:1:7 1:1.5:7 1:2:7 - - - -

DISCUSSION OF RESULTS
Properties of fresh mortar mixes: Addition of fly ash

Fig.1 shows the relationship between water content required to achieve the desired flow value of

135% for various mixes at different levels of addition of high volume fly ash. For a given

workability of control mix, the water requirement increases marginally with an increase in

aggregate-cement ratio. For a given percentage of fly ash addition, richer mixes (1:3 1:4 and 1:5)

demand higher water content. This is due to higher fineness and amount of fines in the mix, which

requires more water to coat the fly ash particles for achieving the desired workability. For example

at 75% fly ash addition level, the total fines content for 1:3 and 1:4 mixes are 774 and 665 Kg/m3

respectively and for 1:7 mix the total fines content is 448 kg/m3. However, for mix 1:6, the water

requirement remains constant up to 75% and than increases with addition of fly ash. But for 1:7

mix, the water content decreases up to 75% of fly ash addition and than increases. Initially, for the

control mix of 1:7, the water requirement is higher where segregation and bleeding occurred due

to increase in aggregate-cement ratio. When fly ash was added to the mix, bleeding and

segregation were eliminated as the mix becomes rich in fines. The bleed water was utilised by the
fly ash added which enhanced the cohesiveness and workability of the mix. This resulted in a

reduction of water content up to 75% of fly ash addition for a given workability. As the percentage

addition of fly ash is increased, the difference in water content between the mixes to achieve a

constant workability increases.

375

1:3
350 1:4
1:5
325 1:6
3
Water content, kg/m

1:7

300

275

250

225
0 50 100 150 200
% of fly ash addition by volume of cement

Fig.1 Water content required to produce a constant workability with addition of fly ash

Properties of fresh mortar mixes: Replacement of cement with fly ash

The water content required for various levels of replacement of cement with fly ash by volume is

shown in Fig.2. For a given workability, the water requirement in each mix increases as the

replacement level of fly ash increases. For a given replacement level of fly ash, the water content

requirement is significantly higher for mix 1:3 as compared to mix 1:4 and 1:5. This behaviour is

attributed to higher fineness value of fly ash as compared to that of cement. Similar graphs for the

type of fly ash proposed to be used would help in arriving at the approximate water content.
255

250 1:3
1:4
1:5
3
Water Content, Kg/m

245

240

235

230

225
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
% of fly ash replacement by volume of cement

Fig.2 Water content required to produce a constant workability with replacement of fly ash

Properties of hardened mortar mixes: Addition of fly ash

The 7, 28 and 90-day compressive strength of each mortar mixes with high volume fly ash

addition are presented in Figs.3 to 5. For a given percentage addition of fly ash, the 7, 28 and 90-

day compressive strengths decrease with an increase in aggregate-cement ratio, which is attributed

to the reduction in cement content of the mix. Irrespective of the age, the compressive strength

decreases as the percentage of fly ash addition increases for mix 1:3 and 1:4. This behaviour is due

higher water demand to achieve the desired workability and a reduction in cement content. Since

the mix proportions are made by volume, an increase in percentage addition of fly ash reduces the

cement content in the mix. For the mix 1:5, the variation of compressive strength at all ages

remains almost constant for the various addition level of fly ash. However for mix 1:6 and 1:7, the

compressive strength increases up to 100% addition level and beyond this level it remains

constant. This initial increase in strength is attributed to the reduction in bleeding and segregation

achieved by fly ash addition. The percentage of increase in compressive strength with age is
marginally higher for all addition level of fly ash as compared to control mix. This is attributed to

the pozzolanic action of fly ash. All these mixes fall under different designations of mortar as

prescribed by ASTM and BS [1,2].

25 1:3
1:4
1:5
7 day compressive strength, MPa

20 1:6
1:7

15

10

0
0 50 100 150 200
% of fly ash addition

Fig.3 7-day Compressive strength for addition of fly ash

35
1:3
28 day compressive strength, MPa

30 1:4
1:5
1:6
25 1:7

20

15

10

5
0 50 1 00 1 50 2 00
% of fly ash a ddition

Fig.4 28-day Compressive strength for addition of fly ash


35
1:3
1:4

90 day compressive strength, MPa


30 1:5
1:6
1:7
25

20

15

10

5
0 50 100 150 200
% of fly ash addition

Fig.5 90-day Compressive strength for addition of fly ash

The 28-day compressive strengths of each of the mortar mixes obtained from tests are compared

with the minimum compressive strengths prescribed by BS 5628 and ASTM C270 and the

corresponding mix designation are presented in Table-5. It seen that, addition of fly ash up to

200% adopted in this study has resulted in mixes conforming to the code specified strength, and

there is scope for further increasing the level of addition.

Table-5 Classification of mixes as per BS and ASTM for addition of fly ash [1, 2]

Mix designation of mortar mixes based on minimum compressive strength as per ASTM C 270 and BS 5628
1:3 1:4 1:5 1:6 1:7
% of fly ash addition

Designation as per

Designation as per

Designation as per

Designation as per

Designation as per
Designation as per

Designation as per

Designation as per

Designation as per

Designation as per
strength (MPa)
strength (MPa)

strength (MPa)

strength (MPa)

strength (MPa)
Actual comp.

Actual comp.

Actual comp.

Actual comp.

Actual comp.
ASTM C270

ASTM C270

ASTM C270

ASTM C270

ASTM C270
BS 5628

BS 5628

BS 5628

BS 5628

BS 5628

0 32.3 i M 24.9 i M 16.4 i S 9.6 ii N 5.9 ii N


50 22.3 i M 21.5 i M 17.9 i M 15.7 ii S 11.5 ii N
75 24.2 i M 21.6 i M 21.7 i M 16.7 i S 14.4 ii S
100 24.1 i M 20.7 i M 19.4 i M 17.5 i M 13.7 ii S
150 21.5 i M 18.7 i M 16.3 i S 14.3 ii S 10.6 ii N
200 17.8 i M 18.7 i M 16.8 i S 14.9 ii S 13.2 ii S
Properties of hardened mortar mixes: Replacement of cement with fly ash

Figs. 6 to 8 show the variation of compressive strength for various replacement level of cement

with fly ash at 7, 28 and 90-days respectively. Irrespective of the age of each mix, the compressive

strength decreases steeply as the replacement level increases. This is attributed to the combined

effect of increase in water content and reduction in cement content. An increase in compressive

strength with age is observed, which is attributed to the pozzolanic action of fly ash.

12
11 1:3
1:4
7 day compressive strength, MPa

10
1:5
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2

0 10 20 30 40 50 60
% of fly ash replacement

Fig.6 7-day compressive strength of mixes with replacement of fly ash with cement

The 28-day compressive strengths of each of the mortar mixes obtained from tests are compared

with the minimum compressive strengths prescribed by BS 5628 and ASTM C270 and the

corresponding mix designation are presented in Table-6. Replacement of cement up to 60% used

in this study, has resulted in mixes conforming to the code specified mix designations.
35
1:3

28 day compressive strength, MPa


1:4
30
1:5

25

20

15

10

5
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
% of fly ash replacement

Fig.7 28-day compressive strength for replacement of fly ash.

35
1:3
1:4
90 day compressive strength, MPa

30 1:5

25

20

15

10

5
0 10 20 30 40 50 60
% of fly ash replacement

Fig.8 90-day compressive strength for replacement of fly ash.


Table-6 Classification of mixes as per BS and ASTM for addition of fly ash [1,2]

Replacement level of Mix designation of mortar mixes based on minimum compressive strength as per ASTM C
cement with fly ash 270 and BS 5628
1:3 1:4 1:5

Actual comp.

Actual comp.

Actual comp.
as per ASTM

as per ASTM

as per ASTM
Designation

Designation

Designation
Designation

Designation

Designation
as per BS

as per BS

as per BS
strength

strength

strength
(MPa)

(MPa)

(MPa)
C270

C270

C270
5628

5628

5628
0 32.3 i M 24.9 i M 16.4 i S
25 23.8 i M 17.8 i M 13.6 ii S
40 21.2 i M 15.1 ii S 11.5 ii N
50 20.5 i M 12.8 ii S 8.7 ii N
60 11.9 ii N 9.4 ii N 8.1 ii N

Comparison between Addition of fly ash to the mix and Replacement of cement with fly ash

In the cases of addition of fly ash and replacement of cement with fly ash in different mixes, as the

mixes are made in volume proportions, the cement content in each of the mixes would be

different. Hence a comparison between these two methods of inclusion of fly ash into the mortar

mixes is compared on the basis of cement content in the mixes in Figs.9-11.

24
28-days compressive strength, MPa

22

20

18

16 1:3 mix
Addition
Replacement
14 Addition
Replacement
12

200 250 300 350 400 450 500 550


3
Cement content, kg/m

Fig.9 Comparison of methods of inclusion of fly ash (Addition vs. Replacement) for 1:3 Mix
22

20

28-days compressive strength, MPa 18

16

1:4 mix
14 Addition
Replacement
12 Addition
Replacement

10

8
150 200 250 300 350 400 450
3
Cement content, kg/m

Fig.10 Comparison of methods of inclusion of fly ash (Addition vs. Replacement) for 1:4 Mix

22

1:5 mix
20
28-days compressive strength, MPa

Addition
Replacement
18 Addition
Replacement
16

14

12

10

8
100 150 200 250 300 350 400
3
Cement content, kg/m

Fig.11 Comparison of methods of inclusion of fly ash (Addition vs. Replacement) for 1:5 Mix
For the mix 1:3, within comparable range, for a given cement content, the mixes with addition of

fly ash results in relatively lower compressive strength as compared to the mixes with cement

replaced with fly ash. As the strength range under consideration is well within the standard high

strength masonry mortar, this reduction in strength is beneficial for richer mixes like 1:3, and

hence addition of fly ash is preferable for 1:3 mix, which facilitates higher fly ash utilization. In

the case of mixes 1:4 and 1:5 (Figs.10 and 11), to achieve a particular strength, the mixes in which

fly ash is added requires relatively lower cement content as compared to mixes with replacement

of cement with fly ash (conventional method adopted by researchers). Further, the reduction in

compressive strength with a reduction in cement content is steeper for mixes in which cement is

replaced with fly ash.

CONCLUSION

The following conclusions are applicable for the range of parameters considered and the materials

used in this study.

1. For a given workability, an increase in fly ash addition to the mortar mix, increases water

content, which is more pronounced for mixes 1:3, 1:4 and 1:5, Addition of fly ash reduced

bleeding and segregation in the mix 1:7. For a given replacement level of fly ash, the water

content requirement is significantly higher for mix 1:3 as compared to mixes 1:4 and 1:5,

to achieve the desired workability. This behaviour is attributed to higher fineness of fly

ash.

2. Increase in compressive strength with age is observed for both addition and replacement of

fly ash to each mix, which is attributed to the pozzolanic action of fly ash.

3. Within the comparable range, for a given cement content, addition of fly ash in the mix 1:3

results in relatively lower compressive strength as compared to replacement. However, the

obtained reduced strength is well within the standard high strength masonry mortar, which

facilitates higher fly ash utilization.


4. In the case of mixes 1:4 and 1:5, to achieve a particular strength, addition of fly ash

requires relatively lower cement content as compared to replacement of cement with fly

ash.

REFERENCES

1. American Society for Testing and Materials, Standard Specification for Mortar for Unit
Masonry, ASTM C 270, 1989, Philadelphia
2. British Standards Institution, Code of Practice for Structural Use of Masonry, BS 5628
(Part I), 1978, London
3. Bureau of Indian Standards, Code of Practice for Preparation and Use of Masonry Mortars,
IS 2250, 1981, India
4. Bureau of Indian Standards, Pulverized fuel ash – Specification – Part 1: For use as
Pozzolana in Cement, Cement Mortar and Concrete, IS 3812 (Part 1), 2003, India
5. American Society for Testing and Materials, Standard Specification for Fly Ash and Raw
or Calcined Natural Pozzolan for Use as a Mineral Admixture in Portland Cement
Concrete, ASTM C 618, 1991, Philadelphia
6. Bureau of Indian Standards, Specification for Flow Table for Use in tests of Hydraulic
Cements and Pozzolanic Materials, IS 5512, 1969, India.
7. Paya J, Monzob J, Peris-Mora E, Borrachero M V, Tercero R and Pinillos C, Early-
strength development of Portland cement mortars containing air classified fly ashes,
Cement and Concrete Research, Vol.25, No.2, 1995, pp.449-456.
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10. Kraiwood kiattikomol, Chai Jaturapitakkul, Smith Songpiriyakij and Seksun Chutubtim, A
study of ground coarse fly ashes with different finenesses from various sources as
pozzolanic materials, Vol.23, 2001, pp.335-343.
11. Reda Taha M M and Shrive N G, The use of Pozzolans to improve bond and bond
strength, 9th Canadian masonry symposium, June 2001.
12. Ramazan Demirbog, Influence of mineral admixtures on thermal conductivity and
compressive strength of mortar, Energy and Buildings, Vol.35, 2003, pp.189-192.
13. Cengiz Duran Atis, Alaettin kilic and Umur Korkut Sevium, Strength and shrinkage
properties of mortar containing a nonstandard high-calcium fly ash, Cement and Concrete
Research, Vol.34, 2004, pp.99-102.
14. Gengying Li and Xiaozhong Wu, Influence of fly ash and its mean particle size on certain
engineering properties of cement composite mortars, Cement and Concrete Research,
Vol.35, 2005, pp.1128-1134.
15. Jatuphon Tangpagasit, Raungrut Cheerarot, Chat Jaturapitakkula and Kraiwood
Kiattikomol, Packing effect and pozzolanic reaction of fly ash in mortar, Cement and
Concrete Research, Vol.35, 2005, pp.1145-1151.
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