Hydration and strength development in ternary portland cement blends containing limestone and fly ash or metakaolin

Kirk Vance, Matthew Aguayo, Tandre Oey, Gaurav Sant, Narayanan Neithalath

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

249 Scopus citations


This paper reports the influence of limestone particle size and the type of (partial) cement replacement material on hydration and the mechanical properties of cement pastes. Limestone powders having median particle sizes of 0.7, 3, and 15 lm, at OPC replacement levels between 0% and 20% (volume basis), and two other replacement materials of differing reactivity (i.e., Class F fly ash or metakaolin) at replacement levels between 0% and 10% (volume basis), are used to proportion ternary binder formulations. Fine limestone accelerates early-age hydration, resulting in comparable or better 1-day compressive strengths, and increased calcium hydroxide (CH) contents as compared to pure cement pastes. The incorporation of metakaolin in conjunction with limestone powder alters the heat release (i.e., kinetic) response significantly. A ternary blend of this nature, with 20% total cement replacement demonstrates the highest 1-day strength and lowest CH content. Thermal analysis reveals distinct peaks corresponding to the formation of the carboaluminate phases after 28 days in the limestone-metakaolin modified pastes, whereas the incorporation of similar levels of fly ash does not change the response markedly. It is shown that the synergistic effects of limestone and metakaolin incorporation results in improved properties at early ages, while maintaining later age properties similar to that of traditional OPC systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-103
Number of pages11
JournalCement and Concrete Composites
StatePublished - 2013


  • Carboaluminates
  • Fly ash
  • Isothermal calorimetry
  • Limestone
  • Metakaolin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Building and Construction
  • General Materials Science


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