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Microstructural Origins of Cement Paste Degradation by External Sulfate Attack



Pan Feng, Edward Garboczi, Pan Feng, Jeffrey W. Bullard


A microstructure model has been applied to simulate near-surface degradation of portland cement paste in contact with a sodium sulfate solution. This new model uses thermodynamic equilibrium calculations to guide both compositional and microstructure changes. It predicts localized deformation and the onset of damage by coupling the confined growth of new solids with linear thermoelastic finite element calculations of stress and strain fields. Constrained ettringite growth happens primarily at the expense of calcium monosulfoaluminate, carboaluminate and aluminum-rich hydrotalcite, if any, respectively. Expansion and damage can be mitigated chemically by increasing carbonate and magnesium concentrations or microstructurally by inducing a finer dispersion of monosulfate.
Construction and Building Materials


cement paste, microstructure, sulfate attack, computer modeling


Feng, P. , Garboczi, E. , Feng, P. and Bullard, J. (2015), Microstructural Origins of Cement Paste Degradation by External Sulfate Attack, Construction and Building Materials, [online], (Accessed April 12, 2024)
Created October 14, 2015, Updated October 12, 2021