Establishment of a preconditioning regime for air permeability and sorptivity of alkali-activated slag concrete

Kai Yang, Changhui Yang, Bryan Magee, Sreejith Nanukuttan, Jianxiong Ye

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


This study reports an experimental investigation designed to assess the influence of near-surfacemoisture contents on permeation properties of alkali-activated slag concrete (AASC). Five differentdrying periods (5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 days) and three AASC and normal concretes with compressivestrength grades ranging from C30 to C60 were considered. Assessment of moisture distribution was achieved using 100 mm diameter cores with drilled cavities. Results indicate that air permeability of AASC is very sensitive to the moisture content and its spatial distribution, especially at relative humidity above 65%. To control the influence of moisture on permeation testing, the recommendation of this paper is that AASC specimens should be dried in controlled conditions at 40 C for 10 days prior to testing. It was also concluded from this study that AASC tends to perform less well, in terms of air permeability and sorptivity, than normal concrete for a given strength grade. This conclusion reinforces the need to further examine AASC properties prior to its widespread practical use.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)19-28
JournalCement and Concrete Composites
Early online date1 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

This output may not be REF compliant.
Reference text: [1] J.K. Angell, J. Korshover, Estimate of the global change in tropospheric temperature
between 1958 and 1973, Mon. Weather Rev. 103 (1975) 1007e1012.
[2] D. Xu, Y. Cui, H. Li, K. Yang, W. Xu, Y. Chen, On the future of Chinese cement
industry, Cem. Concr. Res. 78 (2015) 2e13.
[3] E. Deir, B.S. Gebregziabiher, S. Peethamparan, Influence of starting material on
the early age hydration kinetics, microstructure and composition of binding
gel in alkali activated binder systems, Cem. Concr. Compos. 48 (2014)
[4] F. Pacheco-Torgal, Z. Abdollahnejad, A.F. Camoes, M. Jamshidi, Y. Ding, Durability
of alkali-activated binders: a clear advantage over Portland cement or an
unproven issue? Constr. Build. Mater. 30 (2012) 400e405.
[5] I. Ismail, S.A. Bernal, J.L. Provis, R. San Nicolas, S. Hamdan, J.S.J. Van Deventer,
Modification of phase evolution in alkali-activated blast furnace slag by the
incorporation of fly ash, Cem. Concr. Compos. 45 (2014) 125e135.
[6] A. Wardhono, D.W. Law, T.C.K. Molyneaux, Long term performance of alkali
activated slag concrete, J. Adv. Concr. Technol. 13 (2015) 187e192.
[7] R.J. Thomas, S. Peethamparan, Alkali-activated concrete: engineering properties
and stress-strain behaviour, Constr. Build. Mater. 93 (2015) 49e56.
[8] S.A. Bernal, J.L. Provis, R.M. de Gutierrez, J.S.J. van Deventer, Accelerated
carbonation testing of alkali-activated slag concrete/metakaolin blended
concretes: effect of exposure conditions, Mater. Strucut. 48 (2015) 653e669.
[9] F. Collins, J.G. Sanjayan, Microcracking and strength development of alkali
activated slag concrete, Cem. Concr. Compos. 23 (2001) 345e352.
[10] S.A. Bernal, J.L. Provis, D.J. Green, Durability of alkali-activated materials:
progress and perspectives, J. Am. Ceram. Soc. 97 (2014) 997e1008.
[11] L.J. Parrott, Moisture conditioning and transport properties of concrete test
specimens, Mater. Struct. 27 (1994) 460e468.
[12] R.D. Hooton, S. Mindess, J.C. Roumain, A.J. Boyd, K. Rear, Proportioning and
testing concrete for durability, Concr. Int. 28 (2006) 38e41.
[13] R.K. Dhir, P.C. Hewlett, Y.N. Chan, Near-surface characteristics of concrete
prediction of carbonation resistance, Mag. Concr. Res. 41 (1989) 137e143.
[14] R.K. Dhir, P.C. Hewlett, Y.N. Chan, Near surface characteristics of concrete
intrinsic permeability, Mag. Concr. Res. 41 (1989) 87e97.
[15] C. Andrade, M. Castellote, C. Alonso, C. Gonzalez, Non-steady-state chloride
diffusion coefficients obtained from migration and natural diffusion tests. Part
I-Comparison between several methods of calculation, Mater. Struct. 33
(2000) 21e28.
[16] F.D. Lydon, D.K. Broadley, Effect of coarse aggregate on relative permeability
of concrete, Constr. Build. Mater. 8 (1994) 185e189.
[17] H.M. Jennings, J.W. Bullard, J.J. Thomas, J.E. Andrade, J.J. Chen, G.W. Scherer,
Charaterization and modeling of pores and surfaces in cement paste: correlations
to processing and properties, J. Adv. Concr. Technol. 6 (2008) 5e29.
[18] P.A. Claisse, Transport properties of concrete, Concr. Int. 27 (2005) 43e48.
[19] M.A. Wilson, M.A. Carter, C. Hall, W.D. Hoff, C. Ince, S.D. Savage, B. McKay,
I.M. Betts, Dating fired-clay ceramics using long-term power law rehydroxylation
kinetics, Proc. R. Soc. A Math. Phys. Eng. Sci. 465 (2009) 2407e2415.
[20] P.A.M. Basheer, Permeation analysis, in: R. V.S., J.J. Beaudoin (Eds.), Handbook
of Analytical Techniques in Concrete Science and Technology: Principles,
Techniques and Applications, Noyes Publications, 2001, pp. 658e727.
[21] C. Galle, Effect of drying on cement-based materials pore structure as identified
by mercury intrusion porosimetry, Cem. Concr. Res. 31 (2001)
[22] I. Maruyama, Y. Nishioka, G. Igarashi, K. Matsui, Microstructural and bulk
property changes in hardened cement paste during the first drying process,
Cem. Concr. Res. 58 (2014) 20e34.
[23] H.F. Taylor, Cement Chemistry, Thomas Telford, 1997.
[24] S. Diamond, The microstructure of cement paste and concrete-a visual primer,
Cem. Concr. Compos. 26 (2004) 919e933.
[25] P.K. Mehta, P.J.M. Monteiro, Concrete: Microstructure, Properties, and Materials,
third ed., McGraw-Hill Professional, 2005.
[26] F. Collins, J.G. Sanjayan, Cracking tendency of alkali-activated slag concrete
subjected to restrained shrinkage, Cem. Concr. Compos. 30 (2000) 791e798.
[27] I. Ismail, S.A. Bernal, J.L. Provis, S. Hamdan, J.S.J. van Deventer, Drying-induced
changes in the structure of alkali-activated pastes, J. Mater. Sci. 48 (2013)
[28] M.M. Hossain, M.R. Karim, M.K. Hossain, M.N. Islam, M.F.M. Zain, Durability of
mortar and concrete containing alkali-activated binder with pozzolans: a
review, Constr. Build. Mater. 93 (2015) 95e109.
[29] K. Yang, P.A.M. Basheer, Y. Bai, B.J. Magee, A.E. Long, Development of a new in
situ test method to measure the air permeability of high performance concretes,
NDT E Int. 64 (2014) 30e40.
[30] M. Romer, Effect of moisture and concrete composition on the Torrent
permeability measurement, Mater. Struct. 38 (2005) 541e547.
[31] K. Chen, C.H. Yang, Q. Pan, S. Zhao, Z.D. Yue, Drying shrinkage characteristics
of alkali-slag cement mortar, J. Chongqing Univ. (Nat. Sci. Ed. 35 (2012)
[32] K. Yang, P.A.M. Basheer, Y. Bai, B.J. Magee, A.E. Long, Assessment of the
effectiveness of the guard ring in obtaining a uni-directional flow in an in situ
water permeability test, Mater. Struct. 48 (2015) 167e183.
[33] X.C. Pu, C.H. Yang, C.C. Gan, Investigation of setting time of high strength
alkali-activated slag cement and concrete, Cement 10 (1992) 32e36.
[34] GB-175, Common Portland Cement, Standardization Administration of the People’s Republic of China, SAC, Beijing, 2007, p. 16.
[35] GB/T-14684, Sand for Construction, Standardization Administration of the
People’s Republic of China, SAC, Beijing, 2011, p. 28.
[36] GB/T-14685, Pebble and Crushed Stone for Construction, Standardization
Administration of the People’s Republic of China, SAC, Beijing, 2011, pp. 1e30.
[37] BS:1881-125, Methods for Mixing and Sampling Fresh Concrete in the Laboratory,
BSI, London, 1986, pp. 1e10.
[38] GB/T-50080, Standard for Test Method of Performance on Ordinary Fresh
Concrete, Standardization Administration of the People’s Republic of China,
SAC, Beijing, 2002, pp. 1e31.
[39] BS-EN:13057, Products and Systems for the Protection and Repair of Concrete
Structures-Test Methods: Determination of Resistance of Capillary Absorption,
BSI, London, 2002, pp. 1e16.
[40] L.J. Parrott, Influence of cement type and curing on the drying and air
permeability of cover concrete, Mag. Concr. Res. 47 (1995) 103e111.
[41] C. Shi, Strength, pore structure and permeability of alkali-activated slag
mortars, Cem. Concr. Res. 26 (1996) 1789e1799.
[42] P. Steins, A. Poulesquen, O. Diat, F. Frizon, Structural Evolution during geopolymerization
from an early age to consolidated material, Langmuir 28
(2012) 8502e8510.
[43] W. Chen, H.J.H. Brouwers, The hydration of slag, Part 1: reaction models for alkali-activated slag, J. Mater. Sci. 42 (2007) 428e443.
[44] C. Frank, S. J.G, Effect of pore size distribution on drying shrinkage of alkaliactivated
slag concrete, Cem. Concr. Res. 30 (2000) 1401e1406.
[45] S. Al-Otaibi, Durability of concrete incorporating GGBS activated by water
glass, Constr. Build. Mater. 22 (2008) 2059e2067.
[46] M.R. Karim, M.M. Hossain, M.N.N. Khan, M.F.M. Zain, M. Jamil, F.C. Lai, On the
utilisation of pozzolanic wastes as an alternative resource of cement, Materials
7 (2014) 7809e7827.
[47] C. Ince, M.A. Carter, M.A. Wilson, A. El-Turki, R.J. Ball, G.C. Allen, N.C. Collier,
Analysis of the abstraction of water from freshly mixed jointing mortars in
masonry construction, Mater. Struct. 43 (2009) 985e992.
[48] S.A. Bernal, R. Mejia de Gutierrez, A.L. Pedraza, J.L. Provis, E.D. Rodriguez,
S. Delvasto, Effect of binder content on the performance of alkali-activated
slag concretes, Cem. Concr. Res. 41 (2011) 1e8.
[49] F.U.A. Shaikh, Effects of alkali solutions on corrosion durability of geopolymer
concrete, Adv. Concr. Constr. 2 (2014) 109e123.
[50] K. Yang, P.A.M. Basheer, B.J. Magee, Y. Bai, Investigation of moisture condition
and Autoclam sensitivity on air permeability measurements for both normal
concrete and high performance concrete, Constr. Build. Mater. 48 (2013)


  • Alkali-activated slag concrete
  • Relative humidity
  • Sorptivity
  • Porosity
  • Air permeability


Dive into the research topics of 'Establishment of a preconditioning regime for air permeability and sorptivity of alkali-activated slag concrete'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this