Decalcification of cement paste in NH4NO3 solution: Microstructural alterations and its influence on the transport properties

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Leaching of cement-based materials changes its properties such as a reduction in pH, an increase in porosity and transport properties and a detrimental effect on properties related to long-term durability. Therefore, a better understanding of leaching process is important in long-term. In this study, an ammonium nitrate solution was used to accelerate the leaching. The experiments were on cement paste samples with different water/powder and limestone filler replacement ratios. The change of sample mass over time was monitored, and the amount of calcium ion leached out during the test was determined. Different post-analysis techniques like SEM, MIP and N2-adsorption were used to characterize the microstructural changes. The effect of accelerated leaching on transport properties was studied by measuring the change in water permeability. Results show that (i) NH4NO3 solution is an aggressive but suitable agent to be used to accelerate the Ca leaching while still keeping the “nature” of leaching; (ii) the square root-time law of degradation is applicable; (iii) the porosity increases significantly and the critical pore size is shifted to larger radius; and (iv) the BET specific surface area is also significantly increased. These changes result in a significant increase in permeability.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of The 10th fib International PhD Symposium in Civil Engineering
Place of PublicationCanada
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014
Event10th fib International PhD Symposium in Civil Engineering - Université Laval, Québec, Canada
Duration: 21 Jul 201423 Jul 2014


Conference10th fib International PhD Symposium in Civil Engineering


  • leaching, concrete, permeability, acceleration, microstructure

ID: 134274