Experimental chemo-mechanics of early-age fracture properties of cement paste

Christian G. Hoover, Franz Josef Ulm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


The risk of early-age fracture of cementitious materials in ever more challenging environments provides a unique opportunity to employ an experimental chemo-mechanical platform to develop functional relations between hydration degree, fracture and strength properties, assessed by isothermal calorimetry, micro-scratching, splitting and microindentation on white cement paste at various curing ages from 7 h to 28 days. We show that the modulus, tensile strength, fracture toughness and energy all evolve with a natural logarithmic dependence on the hydration degree. These trends are linked to the densification of the material during the hydration process, explained by compaction mechanics and free volume theory. We show that while the fracture process zone size is essentially constant during the hydration process, the ductility of the material, quantified by M/H, decreases, and is consistent with the evolution of Kc/H. Both quantities provide a convenient way to experimentally assess the fracture sensitivity of early-age cement-based materials.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-52
Number of pages11
JournalCement and Concrete Research
StatePublished - May 17 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging C
  • Fracture toughness C
  • Hydration A
  • Material properties

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • General Materials Science


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