The control of alkali silica reaction using blended cements
It has been previously established that alkali silica reaction (ASR) in concrete may be controlled by blending Portland cement with suitable hydraulic or pozzolanic materials. The controlling mechanism has been attributed to the dilution of the cement's alkali content and reduced mobility of ions in concrete's pore solution. In this project an attempt has been made to identify the factors which influence the relative importance of each mechanism in the overall suppression of the reaction by the use of blended cements. The relationship between the pore solution alkalinity and ASR was explored by the use of expansive mortar bars submerged in alkaline solutions of varying concentration. This technique enabled the blended cement's control over expansion to be assessed at given `pore solution' alkali concentrations. It was established that the cement blend, the concentration and quantity of alkali present in the pore solution were the factors which determined the rate and extent of ASR. The release of alkalis into solution by Portland cements of various alkali content was studied by analysis of pore solution samples expressed from mature specimens. The specification for avoiding ASR by alkali limitation, both by alkali content of cement and the total quantity of alkali were considered. The effect on the pore solution alkalinity when a range of Portland cements were blended with various replacement materials was measured. It was found that the relationship between the type of replacement material, its alkali content and that of the cement were the factors which primarily determined the extent of the pore solution alkali dilution effect. It was confirmed that salts of alkali metals of the kinds found as common concrete contaminants were able to increase the pore solution hydroxyl ion concentration significantly. The increase was limited by the finite anion complexing ability of the cement.