Experimental and SEM Analyses of Ground Fly Ash in Concrete

  • Brueggen, Beth (School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science, University of Oklahoma) ;
  • Kang, Thomas H.K. (KCI Member, School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science, University of Oklahoma) ;
  • Ramseyer, Chris (School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science, University of Oklahoma)
  • Received : 2009.10.05
  • Accepted : 2010.03.30
  • Published : 2010.06.30


Fly ash is used in concrete to improve the fresh and hardened properties of concrete, including workability, initial hydration temperature, ultimate strength and durability. A primary limitation on the use of large quantities of fly ash in blended cement concrete is its slow rate of strength gain. Prior studies investigated the effects of grinding fly ash and fly ash fineness on the performance of concrete containing fly ash. This study aims to discover the sources of those effects, to verify the compressive strength behavior of concrete made with raw and processed Class C fly ash, and to investigate the properties of fly ash particles at the microscopic level. Concrete cylinder test results indicate that grinding fly ash can significantly benefit the early age strength as well as the ultimate strength of concrete with ground fly ash. Therefore, it is demonstrated that grinding fly ash increases its reactivity. Scanning Electron Microscopy was then used to investigate the physical effects of the grinding process on the fly ash particles in order to identify the mechanism by which grinding leads to improved concrete properties.


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