Understanding the Filler Effect on the Nucleation and Growth of C-S-H
The filler effect, due to the physical presence of mineral additions in cement, is mainly known to accelerate the hydration of the clinker component. Previously, this was attributed to the surface of the filler providing nucleation sites for C-S-H as there is a clear dependence on the surface provided by the filler particles. Our results reveal that the increase in nucleation is quite low compared to the area provided. Based on the isothermal calorimetry experiments and SEM images, we demonstrate that the most important parameter is the interparticle distance. We propose that this is mainly the result of the shearing conditions rather than extra surface available for C-S-H as formerly assumed. Quantitatively slag and fly ash behave very similarly to quartz. Limestone, on the other hand, seems also to stimulate C-S-H nucleation giving it a higher efficiency in accelerating clinker hydration.