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Curing, Hydration, and Microstructure of Cement Paste



Dale P. Bentz, Paul E. Stutzman


This paper compares the hydration characteristics and microstructures of cement pastes with water-to-cement ratios (w/c) of 0.35 and 0.435, cured under saturated and sealed conditions. Degree of hydration is quantified by loss on ignition measurements. The microstructure, and specifically the pore structure, of the hydrated systems are evaluated using both scanning electron microscopy with image analysis and low temperature calorimetry. Low temperature calorimetry is found to be particularly valuable as an indicator of the percolation state of the capillary pore network in the hydrating samples. The w/c=0.35 specimens cured under sealed conditions first form a depercolated capillary pore system that later reconnects due to self-desiccation and autogenous shrinkage. In the w/c=0.435 specimens, conversely, there is some indication that sealed curing leads to an earlier depercolation of the remaining capillary pores than when saturated curing is applied, but without a subsequent repercolation. The results indicate the criticality of proper curing for both w/c, suggest that curing for strength and curing for transport/durability may require different practices, and may provide the impetus for new innovative curing strategies to produce concretes with mechanical and transport properties optimized for their intended application.
Aci Materials Journal Journal
No. 5


building technology, curing, hydration, low temperature calorimetry, microstructure, porosity, scanning electron microscopy


Bentz, D. and Stutzman, P. (2006), Curing, Hydration, and Microstructure of Cement Paste, Aci Materials Journal Journal, [online], (Accessed June 15, 2024)


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Created September 13, 2006, Updated February 19, 2017