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On the Relation of Setting and Early-Age Strength Development to Porosity and Hydration in Cement-Based Materials



Didier Lootens, Dale P. Bentz


Previous research has demonstrated a linear relationship between compressive strength (mortar cubes and concrete cylinders) and cumulative heat release normalized per unit volume of (mixing) water for a wide variety of cement-based mixtures at ages of 1 d and beyond. This paper utilizes concurrent ultrasonic reflection and calorimetry measurements to further explore this relationship from the time of specimen casting to 3 d. The ultrasonic measurements permit a continuous evaluation of thickening, setting, and strength development during this time period for comparison with the ongoing chemical reactions, as characterized by isothermal calorimetry measurements. Initially, the ultrasonic strength-heat release relation depends strongly on water-to-cement ratio, as well as admixture additions, with no universal behavior. Still, each individual strength-heat release curve is consistent with a percolation-based view of the cement setting process. However, beyond about 8 h for the systems investigated in the present study, the various strength-heat release curves merge towards a single relationship that broadly characterizes the development of strength as a function of heat released (fractional space filled), demonstrating that mortar and/or concrete strength at early ages can be effectively monitored using either ultrasonic or calorimetry measurements on small paste or mortar specimens.
Cement and Concrete Composites


Calorimetry, hydration, percolation, porosity, setting, strength, ultrasonic reflection.


Lootens, D. and Bentz, D. (2016), On the Relation of Setting and Early-Age Strength Development to Porosity and Hydration in Cement-Based Materials, Cement and Concrete Composites, [online],, (Accessed May 23, 2024)


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Created February 9, 2016, Updated October 12, 2021