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Developing a More Rapid Test to Assess Sulfate Resistance of Hydraulic Cements



Chiara F. Ferraris, Paul E. Stutzman, Max A. Peltz, John A. Winpigler


External sulfate attack of concrete is a major problem that can appear in regions where concrete is exposed to soil or water containing sulfates, leading to softening and cracking of the concrete. Therefore, it is important that materials selection and proportioning concrete in susceptible regions be carefully considered to resist sulfate attack. ASTM limits the tricalcium aluminate phase in cements when sulfate exposure is of concern. The hydration products of tricalcium aluminate react with the sulfates resulting in expansion and cracking. While ASTM standard tests are available to determine the susceptibility of cements to sulfate attack, these tests require at least six months and often up to a year to perform; a delay that hinders development of new cements. This paper presents a new method for testing cement resistance to sulfate attack that results in reduction of measurement time requirements by a factor of three to five times. Development of the procedure was based upon insights on the degradation process by petrographic examination of sulfate exposed specimens over time. Also key to the development was the use of smaller samples and tighter environmental control.
Journal of Research (NIST JRES) -


concrete, sulfate attack


Ferraris, C. , Stutzman, P. , Peltz, M. and Winpigler, J. (2005), Developing a More Rapid Test to Assess Sulfate Resistance of Hydraulic Cements, Journal of Research (NIST JRES), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online], (Accessed April 17, 2024)
Created March 16, 2005, Updated November 10, 2018