Effect of mixing on the early hydration of alite and OPC systems
The kinetics of hydration of cementitious materials is sensitive to the mixing procedure. High shear mixing conditions lead to an increase in the kinetics of hydration at early age compared to low shearing conditions such as hand mixing. In this study the effect of mixing speed and procedure was studied on alite and Portland cement in the presence or not of aggregates. The kinetics of hydration was monitored using isothermal calorimetry at 20 degrees C. The early reactivity was enhanced both with an increase in the speed of mixing and the shearing conditions. The principal features are a shortening of the induction period; a higher rate of hydrate precipitation during the acceleration period as well as an increase in the height of the main heat evolution peak. Analysis of the results in terms of dissolution theory, coupled with quantitative simulation with the plc modelling platform indicate different effects of mixing prior to and after the end of the induction period. Before the end of the induction period mixing has an impact on the rate of dissolution in the fast dissolution regime and high undersaturation, which appears to be (at least partially) controlled by the rate of transport of ions away from the alite surface. After the end of the induction period the main effect of mixing appears to be the production of more C-S-H nuclei, due to the possible detachment of the primary C-S-H (metastable) by mechanical action. This higher nucleation density leads to a denser microstructure for systems mixed at high intensities. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.