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Simulation of the Hydration Kinetics and Elastic Moduli of Cement Mortars by Microstructural Modeling



Luca Valentini, Matteo Parisatto, Vincenzo Russo, Giorgio Ferrari, Jeffrey W. Bullard, Ross J. Angel, Maria C. Dalconi, Gilberto Artioli


The ability of the VCCTL microstructural model to predict the hydration kinetics and elastic moduli of cement materials was tested by coupling a series of computer simulations and laboratory experiments, using different cements. The novel aspects of this study included the fact that the simulated hydration kinetics were benchmarked using real-time measurements of the early-age phase composition during hydration by in situ X-ray diffraction. Elastic moduli are measured both by strain gauges (static approach) and by P-wave propagation (dynamic approach). Compressive strengths were measured by loading mortar prisms until rupture. Virtual samples were generated by VCCTL, using particle size distribution and phase composition as input. The hydration kinetics and elastic moduli were simulated and the numerical results were compared with the experimental observations. The compressive strength of the virtual mortars were obtained from the elastic moduli, using a power-law relation. Experimentally measured and simulated time-dependence of the major cement clinker phases and hydration product phases typically agreed to within 5%. Also, refinement of the input values of the intrinsic elastic moduli of the various phases enabled predictions of effective moduli, at different ages and different water-to-cement mass ratios, that are within the 10% uncertainty in the measured values. These results suggest that the VCCTL model can be successfully used as a predictive tool, which can reproduce the early age hydration kinetics, elastic moduli and mechanical strength of cement-based materials, using different mix designs.
Cement and Concrete Composites


cement, mortar, elastic properties, strength, computer modelling


Valentini, L. , Parisatto, M. , Russo, V. , Ferrari, G. , Bullard, J. , Angel, R. , Dalconi, M. and Artioli, G. (2014), Simulation of the Hydration Kinetics and Elastic Moduli of Cement Mortars by Microstructural Modeling, Cement and Concrete Composites, [online], (Accessed March 1, 2024)
Created September 14, 2014, Updated October 12, 2021