Sulphate Attack Resistance of Selected Cement Brands in Nigeria
Sulphate attack is a major threat to any concrete structure. While the environment of the concrete structure could aggravate the attack, material constituent also plays significant role to either permit or resist the attack. In this paper, sulphate resistance potential of selected cement brands in Nigeria was investigated. The cement brands studied were Dangote, Lafarge, Purechem and Sokoto. Mortar of mix ratio 1:3 was prepared from each cement brand with water cement ratio (w/c) of 0.5. Thereafter, mortar prisms of size 160 x 40 x 40 mm were cast for flexural and compressive strength tests. Cement paste bars (40 x 10 x 10 mm) made from each cement brand were also cast to measure expansion in sulphate solution. Each specimen was immersed in sulphate solutions of sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium for 7, 14, 28, and 56 days. Strength properties were determined at the end of each period, while expansion of the mortar specimens was monitored for 9 months. The results showed that the strength of the mortar reduced with increase in period of exposure to sulphate solutions for all the cement brands, but the reduction was more pronounced with mortar made from Sokoto cement. This indicates that it has the lowest residual strength, followed by Dangote and then Purechem. Lafarge appeared to have the highest residual strength. The expansion test results showed that there was no significant expansion observed from each cement brands. Perhaps, there is need to increase the days of monitoring or increase the concentration of the sulphate to be able to generalize performance. Magnesium sulphate was discovered to cause more degradation of the mortar samples followed by Sodium sulphate, while calcium sulphate was least aggressive. The study concluded that mortar sample made from Lafarge cement resisted sulphate attack better than those from other cement brands. It is therefore recommended that cement type should be carefully selected for the sulphate-ridden environment and/or the concrete structure is protected from direct contact with sulphate.
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