Clays as SCM – Reactivity of Uncalcined Kaolinite and Bentonite, and Impact on Phase Assemblage and Strength Development of PC Mortars

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The impact of substitution of cement paste with uncalcined clay (bentonite and kaolinite) in the range of 5% by volume of paste on the development of hydration and properties of mortar was investigated. Two issues were addressed, the expected filler effect of the dispersed sub-micron clay particles, and the possible chemical reactivity of the clay.

The study indicated that Portland cement paste may be modified by addition of well dispersed clay and that the impact includes accelerated cement hydration as well as altered distribution of products. Compressive strength development was accelerated, but later age strength was reduced, especially for the bentonite mixes. In contrast, microscopic porosity measurements indicated no detrimental impact on the coarse capillary porosity.

The investigation indicates that for durability related engineering properties, the application of uncalcined clay might be a potential means for reduction of the clinker factor in concrete in support of sustainability.

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