Pre-hydration as a technique for the retardation of Roman cement mortars
The setting of Roman cement is so rapid as to make the use of retardation essential in most practical mortars. This work reports an approach to retardation of Roman cement mortars by means of a pre-hydration process in which pre-determined amounts of water (de-activation water) are added to the cement prior to subsequent mortar formation. It is shown that this process yields both monocarboaluminate and a carbonated AF(m) phase, the balance of which is modified by storage time; the belite phases are not affected. Increases in both de-activation water and pre-hydrated mix storage time yield a longer workable life and slightly lower strength of the mortar. An increase in de-activation water also yields an increase in shrinkage whilst an increase in storage time results in a reduction in shrinkage. Other parameters such as mixing protocol and re-mixing affect workable life without compromising the strength. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.