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Early-Age Properties of Cement-Based Materials: II. Influence of Water-to-Cement Ratio



Dale P. Bentz, Max A. Peltz, John A. Winpigler


The influence of water-to-cement mass ratio (w/c) on early-age properties of cement-based materials is investigated using a variety of experimental techniques. Properties that are critical to the early-age performance of these materials are tested, including heat release, semi-adiabatic temperature, setting time, strength development, and autogenous deformation. Measurements of these properties using a single cement are presented for four different w/c, ranging from 0.325 to 0.425. Some of the measured properties are observed to vary widely within this range of w/c ratios. The heat release and setting time behaviors of cement pastes are contrasted. While early-age heat release is relatively independent of w/c, the measured setting times vary by several hours between the four w/c investigated in this study, indicating the fundamental differences between a physical process such as setting and heat release which is purely a quantification of chemical reaction. While decreasing w/c certainly increases compressive strength at equivalent ages, it also significantly increases autogenous shrinkage and semi-adiabatic temperature rise, both of which can increase the propensity for early-age cracking in cement-based materials.
Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering


autogenous deformation, building technology, calorimetry, cement-based materials, early-age cracking, water-to-cement ratio


Bentz, D. , Peltz, M. and Winpigler, J. (2009), Early-Age Properties of Cement-Based Materials: II. Influence of Water-to-Cement Ratio, Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering, [online], (Accessed April 14, 2024)
Created September 1, 2009, Updated February 19, 2017