Mechanical and durability properties of ternary concretes containing silica fume and low reactivity blast furnace slag

In this study, the effect of incorporation of silica fume in enhancing strength development rate and durability characteristics of binary concretes containing a low reactivity slag has been investigated. Binary concretes studied included mixes containing slag at cement replacement levels of 15%, 30% and 50% and mixes containing silica fume at cement replacement levels of 2.5%, 5%, 7.5% and 10%. Ternary concretes included combinations of silica fume and slag at various cement replacement levels. The w/b ratio and total cementitious materials content were kept constant for all mixes at 0.38 and 420 kg/m3 respectively. Concrete mixes were evaluated for compressive strength, electrical resistance, chloride permeability (ASTM C1202 RCPT test) and chloride migration (AASHTO TP64 RCMT test), at various ages up to 180 days.The results show that simultaneous use of silica fume has only a moderate effect in improving the slow rate of strength gain of binary mixes containing low reactivity slag. However it improves their durability considerably. Using appropriate combination of low reactivity slag and silica fume, it is possible to obtain ternary mixes with 28 day strength comparable to the control mix and improve durability particularly in the long term. Ternary mixes also have the added advantage of reduced water demand.