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Title no. 108-M72

Design and Elaboration of Concrete Mixtures Using

Steelmaking Slags
by Juan Manuel Manso, David Hernández, Maria Milagros Losáñez, and Javier Jesús González

The use of electric arc furnace oxidizing slag (EAFS) is discussed in matrixes, such as road bases, soil slag, and embankments,
this paper as a high-quality coarse aggregate for the manufacture among others. The work presented in this paper is an
of concrete. Ladle furnace reducing slag (LFS) is also discussed, innovation in this field and centers on the application of slag
both as a fine aggregate and a potentially hydraulic material. A types in hydraulic concrete matrixes made with portland
single system is used for proportioning this type of concrete, in
which the presence of very fine inert materials is a determinant.
cement. It proposes the use of crushed and weathered EAFS
The properties of this type of fresh concrete are evaluated, which in as a coarse aggregate for concretes, in which the fine aggregate
some cases exhibit rapid setting. In a hardened state, their physico- is also partially composed of EAFS (thereby avoiding its use
mechanical properties are those of high-quality concretes, showing as landfill material), limestone sand, and LFS. This innovative
outstanding compressive strength. It is concluded that high propor- use of LFS requires a detailed analysis of its behavior as filler
tions of EAFS and moderate proportions of LFS may be used in the in concrete mixtures, its hydraulic properties, and its inter-
manufacture of precast concretes, and that, in this case, the latter action with portland cement. It is also necessary to evaluate
demonstrates considerable hydraulic activity. the properties of concretes obtained in fresh and hardened
Keywords: electric arc furnace slag; ladle furnace slag; rapid setting;
states, as the results will demonstrate their effectiveness.
recycling; strength; workability. The practical aspects of mixture proportioning are considered
essential to this work to make innovative use of these by-products
INTRODUCTION in civil construction and building, and employing approaches that
The cement, mortar, and concrete industry is a sector are technically and economically feasible.
of activity that currently contributes notably to the global
emission of greenhouse gases, mainly in the form of RESEARCH SIGNIFICANCE
carbon dioxide (CO2).1 In the case of portland cement, Certain steelmaking by-products, such as EAFS and LFS,
this gas is emitted due to the decomposition of its raw can both be used as components of normal concrete. The
materials, calcination processes, and the combustion of proportioning and manufacture of this concrete calls for
fuel in its manufacture, being the most critical from this special considerations because of its low workability and
point of view.2 The use of industrial by-products to replace rapid setting times. However, the general quality of well-
natural aggregates can induce important benefits in direct manufactured slag concretes in terms of their mechanical
sustainability, reducing landfill deposits and the exploitation properties is rather good.
of natural resources.3-6
Two kinds of electric steelmaking by-products may Experimental Investigation
constitute sources for recycling: electric arc furnace Several research projects, as reported in the scientific and
oxidizing slag (EAFS) and ladle furnace reducing slags technical literature on the subject are at present and have in
(LFS). Production per tonnes (2207 lb) of steel manufactured the recent past been undergoing developments in this field,
amounts to approximately 0.16 tonnes (353 lb) of EAFS and and are summarized in the following paragraphs.
0.04 tonnes (88 lb) of LFS.7 Both contain the normal oxides: Since the early 1990s, various authors11-19 have proposed
silica, alumina, lime, and magnesia. The basicity of LFS systematic characterizations with a view to the possible
(generated in the basic refining process) is higher than that reuse of EAFS. In relation to this study, in the 1990s,
of EAFS (generated in the acid-refining process); and the some authors20,21 have analyzed the use of EAFS as aggre-
latter has a considerable amount of iron oxide, comprising gates in concrete mixtures. Later on, the results obtained
nearly half its total mass. by numerous authors22-28 all reported satisfactory results.
The recycling of these types of slags in the field of Chang et al.29 performed a carbonation curing to use EAFS
construction and civil engineering is an important line of in concrete mixtures. Qasrawi et al.30 proposed the use of
research. Prominent studies over the last decade suggest iron oxide scale and Etxeberria et al. 31 proposed the use of
that they may be considered high-quality materials,8,9 hence foundry sand in the preparation of concrete. Faraone et al.32
the need to investigate appropriate applications. Potential and Rodríguez et al.33 characterized high-quality mortars
volumetric expansion is a notorious feature in the use of using EAFS.
both types of slag; however, their weak hydraulicity after air
cooling leaves these products outside the field of ecological
and sustainable “slag cements.” ACI Materials Journal, V. 108, No. 6, November-December 2011.
Accordingly, one may distinguish between two categories MS No. M-2011-032.R2 received February 13, 2011, and reviewed under Institute
publication policies. Copyright © 2011, American Concrete Institute. All rights
regarding their application: first, their use in rigid mixtures, reserved, including the making of copies unless permission is obtained from the
among which are masonry mortar, hydraulic concrete, or copyright proprietors. Pertinent discussion including author’s closure, if any, will be
published in the September-October 2012 ACI Materials Journal if the discussion is
bituminous mixtures10; and secondly, flexible or nonrigid received by June 1, 2012.

ACI Materials Journal/November-December 2011 673

Juan Manuel Manso is Head of the Civil Engineering Department of the University chemical composition is mainly calcium carbonate (>90%)
of Burgos, Burgos, Spain. He graduated as a civil engineer from the University of with silica, alumina, and magnesia in lower proportions.
Cantabria, Santander, Spain, and received his engineering doctorate from the EAFS—The EAFS used in this study had to undergo the
University of Burgos in 2001. His research interests include the reuse of steelmaking
by-products in civil engineering applications as well as in the management of building
following processes prior to its use:
and demolition wastes, and the field of polyester-resin concrete reinforced with • The reduction of its original size after cooling (pieces
nonmetallic bars. from 0.1 to 20 kg [0.22 to 44 lb]) to standard aggregate
sizes after moderate primary crushing to maximum
David Hernández is the Technical Director of the Technical and Scientific Research sizes of 0.5 in. (12.5 mm);
Service of the University of Cantabria, Cantabria, Spain, from which he also graduated
as a physicist, and he received his PhD in 2003 from the University of Navarra,
• The magnetic elimination of metallic iron (sometimes
Spain. His research interests include physical metallurgy and characterization of in proportions of up to 20%); and
metallurgical slag (blast furnace and ladle furnace), among others. • Weathering for a minimum of 14 weeks, including daily
Maria Milagros Losáñez is the Director Manager of Gikesa in the Laboratory of
Testing in Building Materials and Civil Engineering, Gipuzkoa, Spain. She graduated
The physico-chemical properties of this slag and its grading
as a Construction Engineer in 1984 from the University of Burgos, as an Architect in are shown in Tables 2 and 3.
1996 from the University of the Basque Country, San Sebastián, Spain, and received Spontaneous weathering is an inexpensive procedure
her PhD from the University of the Basque Country in 2006. Her research interests that ensures the volumetric stability of EAFS necessary
include mortar, concrete, and the use of by-products in construction. in its use as a coarse aggregate in concrete mixtures. The
Javier Jesús González is a Full Professor of Materials Science at the Industrial
material is laid out and cured in thin layers, which are turned
Technology Engineering School of the University of the Basque Country. He graduated every week. A subsequent test performed in accordance
as a mechanical engineer in 1976 from the University of Basque Country, as a civil with ASTM D479252 demonstrates and verifies that the
engineer in 1982 from the Politechnical University of Madrid, Madrid, Spain, and expansivity does not exceed the standard limit value of 0.5%
received his PhD from the University of Cantabria in 1987. His research interests
include the reuse of steelmaking by-products in civil engineering applications,
proposed by the ASTM D2940.53
mortars, concrete, and the mechanical behavior of engineering materials. A maximum aggregate size of 0.5 in. (12.5 mm) was
specified in this work for the following reasons: 1) the
specimen sizes used in the test (cylinders and cubes of 100 mm
Positive results were also obtained by Shi et al.34-36 when [4 in.] maximum length); and 2) current applications for
they proposed investigating the potential hydraulic properties this type of concrete are employed in precast structures for
of LFS after chemical activation. Further works concerning urban use (curb stones, flagstones, balustrades, banisters,
LFS were published by Drissen and Art37 and Posch et barriers, and so on) in which the maximum aggregate size is
al.,38 which characterized the product as a material. classically 0.5 in. (12.5 mm).
Slag recycling technology in Japan is highly advanced in The fine fraction from the moderate primary crushing of
almost every possible area. Prime examples, among others, EAFS is in general too large to be used as fine aggregate
are offered in References 39 to 43. according to ASTM C33/C33M54; Fig. 1 shows the
It is also worth mentioning that Maslehuddin et al.,44 appearance of these EAFS fine particles. Hence, the mixture
Beshr et al.,45 and Pellegrino and Gaddo46 applied EAFS of this EAFS fine fraction with limestone sand or other
as a coarse aggregate in combination with a fine aggregate mineral products allows one to obtain a suitable fine fraction
that was a natural product. These approaches produced high- of aggregate, and therefore a high-quality concrete in terms
quality concrete, and Pellegrino and Gaddo46 proposed a of porosity and mechanical strength.55,56
mixture proportioning adjusted to Bolomey’s curve. LFS—The LFS discussed in this paper was subjected to
The work of Khokhar et al.47 is also relevant in the field of the following processes prior to its use in concrete:
concrete mixture designs containing mineral additions. • Weathering for some days accompanied by water
irrigation to hydrate the free lime and to produce the
Some works of the present authors48-51 reported the use
disintegration of the as-cooled particles sized up to 1 in.
of EAFS, both as a coarse and fine aggregate. The results in
(25 mm); and
terms of strength and durability were favorable. • The elimination of metallic iron by magnetic procedures
and final sieving through a No. 30 (0.6 mm [0.02 in.])
Materials sieve to obtain the quality of material fineness suitable
Water and cement—Urban mains water supply: pH for this application, whereas fractions larger than
= 7.5; soluble salts = 90 mg/L (0.006 lb/ft3); chlorides 0.6 mm (0.02 in.) can be ground or reweathered.
= 19 mg/L (0.001 lb/ft3); sulfates = 13 mg/L (0.0008 lb/ The main physical and chemical properties of LFS are
ft3); hydrocarbons = 9 mg/L (0.0006 lb/ft3); and portland summarized in Table 1.
cement is Type I/42.5 R (refer to Table 1 for principal The weathering of LFS is performed to hydrate the
characteristics). very-reactive free lime in the form of calcium oxide,
Limestone sand—Crushed limestone sand was used producing portlandite (calcium hydroxide) in a slightly
as a suitable fine aggregate. Its grading is detailed in exothermic reaction. Simultaneously, this reaction produces
Table 2, as it has a fineness modulus of approximately 2.5, a volumetric expansion, which leads to total disintegration
and its apparent specific gravity is 2.7 Mg/m3 (167 lb/ft3). Its of particle sizes into a dusty form, similar to cement in its

Table 1—Physical properties and chemical composition of portland cement and ladle furnace slag
Specific gravity, Blaine, m2/kg
Composition percent and properties CaO SiO2 Al2O3 Fe2O3 MgO Others SO3 Free MgO Free CaO Mg/m3 (lb/ft3) (ft2/lb)
Portland cement 62 21 5 3.5 1.5 1 2.7 — 3.3 3.13 (193) 410 (2002)
LFS 58 17 12 — 10 1.5 1 3 to 4 10 to 20 2.65 (164) 206 (1006)

674 ACI Materials Journal/November-December 2011

Table 2—Grading of EAFS slag and limestone sand (relevant ASTM C33/C33M specifications)
Sieve size, Coarse EAFS, Coarse ASTM C33/C33M, Fine EAFS, Limestone sand, Fine ASTM C33/C33M,
mm (in.) ASTM No. wt.% passing wt.% passing wt.% passing wt.% passing wt.% passing
19.6 (0.75) 3/4 in. 100 100 — — —
12.5 (0.50) 1/2 in. 94 90 to 100 — — —
9.5 (0.37) 3/8 in. 64 40 to 70 100 100 100
4.8 (0.19) No. 4 1 0 to 15 96 99.8 100
2.4 (0.09) No. 8 0.2 0 to 5 68 85.2 95 to 100
1.2 (0.05) No. 16 — — 42 56.9 80 to 100
0.6 (0.025) No. 30 — — 26 39.1 50 to 85
0.3 (0.0125) No. 50 — — 17 28.4 25 to 60
0.15 (0.00625) No. 100 — — 9.8 22.2 10 to 30
0.075 (0.003125) No. 200 — — 5.6 18.2 —
Note: 1 mm = 0.039 in.

Table 3—Properties of electric arc furnace slag

Property Coarse slag Fine slag
Size, mm (in.) 4 to 12.5 (0.16 to 0.5) 0 to 4 (0 to 0.16)
Proportion after primary crushing, % 76 24
Apparent specific gravity, Mg/m3 (lb/ft3) 3.35 (207) 3.70 (228)
Porosity, % 9.7 13.5
Water absorption, % 2.88 3.65
Los Angeles loss/Micro Deval loss, % 18 14
Expansion average (ASTM D4792), % 0.20 0.25

Chemical composition, %
Sum of iron oxides SiO2 CaO Al2O3 MgO MnO Others
42.5 15.5 24 7.5 5 4.5 1

appearance. Subsequent long weathering of several weeks of

LFS leads to the carbonation of portlandite,57 but this factor
is incidental to the use of LFS due to the agglomeration of
particles produced. The free magnesium oxide contained
in LFS remains unreactive for long periods of time, and
spontaneous hydration requires several years.
The most frequent particle sizes of LFS, using the Malvern
analysis, are in the ranges of 5 to 8 mm and 50 to 80 mm (1.96
× 10–4 to 3.15 × 10–4 in. and 1.96 × 10–3 to 3.15 × 10–3 in). The
scanning electron microscopy (SEM) image in Fig. 2 shows
two types of pieces: single particles of a few microns in size,
and particles or aggregates sized 50 to 80 mm (1.96 × 10–3 to
3.15 × 10–3 in.). The results of the sieve analysis were
less significant: the No. 100 retains less than 10% of total
mass, whereas the No. 200 retains approximately 30% of
the total mass.
In relation to its chemical basicity values (two units) as the Fig. 1—SEM micrography of EAFS.
quotient between the CaO and the SiO2 + Al2O3, the work of
Posch et al.38 indicates the presence of spinel (minor), AC3 (refer to the D-1 reference mixture in the first data column in
(major), A7C12 (medium), and free CaO (medium) in this Table 5), any deviation from which relates to the particular
slag. The results of LFS X-ray diffraction analysis shown in type of research activities (remainder of mixtures on
Table 4 and Fig. 3, in combination with chemical analysis, Table 5). The envisaged workability is typical of concretes
confirm the predictions based on the work of Posch et al.38 and, that are used for precast pieces in the construction industry,
in addition, reveal the presence of nonhydraulic allotropic where energetic concrete compaction is the norm; also, the
forms of dicalcium silicate as the other main compounds. use of EAFS as coarse and fine aggregate leads to low values
in the slump. The use of plasticizer admixtures is advised if
Concrete mixtures an increase in concrete fluidity is considered necessary.
Concrete mixtures were prepared according to certain Initial conditions of mixtures:
initial or general conditions based on previous experience • Cement content = 350 kg/m3 (21.6 lb/ft3);

ACI Materials Journal/November-December 2011 675

• Mixture ratio coarse aggregate/fine aggregate/cement =
• Target mean compressive strength at 28 days = 35 MPa
(5.08 ksi); and
• No admixtures.
EAFS was introduced into the mixtures with a low degree
of humidity and its moisture content was negligible in the
aforementioned mixture proportions. The fundamental
control parameter evident in the manufacture and application
of these mixtures, when using a porous and sharp aggregate
such as EAFS, is their consistency-workability measured
by the slump test in the Abrams cone.58 It is necessary to
reconsider the significance of a conventional w/c in concrete
made with the usual type of cement (without mineral
additions) and aggregates (siliceous and limestone) in
relation to this research. In this case, the EAFS aggregate
absorbs and retains a significant quantity of water, the
cement contains a proportion of inert mineral filler, and the
Fig. 2—SEM micrography of LFS. inclusion of LFS as fine aggregate in mixtures demands
additional water due to its low particle size that almost rivals
that of cement.
LFS is a new material and little is known about its use in
hydraulic mixtures. Its behavior when undergoing weathering
as a raw material has been analyzed,57 but its behavior when
used with portland cement in concrete mixtures that require
strength and durability is uncertain.
A total of five different mixtures were manufactured
and tested. Initially, two mixtures (Mixtures D-1 and
D-2) were prepared—followed later by Mixtures D-3 and
D-4 and finally Mixture D-5. The batches had a mass of
approximately 30 L (1.06 ft3), from which 24 cubic specimens
(100 x 100 x 100 mm [4 x 4 x 4 in.]) were poured into molds,
left to set for 24 hours, and then demolded and placed in a
moist room at 20°C (68°F) at 98% relative humidity.
Fig. 3—X-ray diffraction analysis of LFS. The criteria to fix the proportions in these mixtures is an
attempt to conduct an extensive survey on well-performed
Table 4—Components of LFS mixtures containing EAFS, limestone sand (LS), and LFS
Component Formula Key % as fine aggregate. The coarse aggregate is the same (EAFS)
Diopside CaMg(SiO3)2 D a1 type and proportion in all the mixtures. Taking into account
the different densities of the fine aggregate components
Merwinite Ca3MgSi2O8 Mw a2
(EAFS, LS, and LFS), the quantity of the ingredients per m3
Wollastonite CaSiO3 W a3 (ft3) of concrete in Table 5 (columns marked with †) do not
Larnite, bredigite, ingesonite Ca2SiO4 L, B, In a4 clearly indicate the initial criteria, and only the proportions
in each different batch (columns marked with *) clarify the
Calcium-olivine Ca2SiO4 O a5
precise criteria of proportioning.
Spinel MgAl2O4 S 2 In this study, Mixture D-1 is the reference mixture. As
Mayenite Ca12Al14O33 My 8 shown in Table 5, the coarse aggregate was an EAFS gravel
sized 4 to 12.5 mm (0.16 to 0.50 in.), totaling 50% of the
Calcium aluminate CaAl2O4 AC 2 overall aggregate weight. The fine aggregate was composed
Tricalcium aluminate Ca3Al2O6 T 7 of EAFS fine fraction added to limestone sand in the same
Jasmundite Ca11(SiO4)4O2S J 1
proportions, leading to a suitable grading based on previous
experience.48 This condition and a global w/c = 0.6 applied
Fluorite CaF2 F 2 to Mixture D-1 should, in theory, correspond to a plastic
Iron-magnesium oxides (wustite) (Fe,Mg)O I 2 workability (with a slump of 30 to 60 mm [1.2 to 2.4 in.]);
Portlandite Ca(OH)2 P 16
however, the actual slump resulted in 20 mm (0.8 in.) due to
the sharp form of the fine EAFS fraction. An increase in the
Periclase MgO M 3 amount of water employed proved ineffective due to its low
Aluminium metallic Al A 2 effectiveness in relation to the increased workability and to
Note: Sai = 55%. the notable drop in compressive strength.
Mixture D-2 was similar to the first mixture, including
• Water and cement (apparent water-cement ratio (w/c)): partial addition of LFS as the fine aggregate—half the
0.6 to 0.8; limestone sand of Mixture D-1 was replaced with LFS.
• Workability: 30 to 60 mm (1.2 to 2.4 in.) slump in the Hence, it was estimated that the amount of water needed to
Abrams cone test; maintain workability should be higher (w/c = 0.7) due to the

676 ACI Materials Journal/November-December 2011

Table 5—Concrete mixture proportions and workability
D-1 D-2 D-3 D-4 D-5
Mixture * † * † * † * † * †
Water, kg (lb) 6 (13.2) 215 (474) 7 (15.4) 250 (551) 6.5 (14.3) 240 (529) 8 (17.6) 270 (595) 5.6 (12.3) 215 (474)
Cement, kg (lb) 10 (22) 360 (794) 10 (22) 355 (783) 10 (22) 370 (816) 10 (22) 340 (750) 8 (17.6) 305 (672)
w/c 0.6 0.7 0.65 0.8 0.7
LFS, kg (lb) 0 (0) 7.5 (16.5) 265 (584) 7.5 (16.5) 280 (617) 15 (33) 515 (1124) 7.5 (16.5) 285 (628)
Fine aggregate 0/5, 15 (33) 540 (1190) 7.5 (16.5) 265 (584) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0) 0 (0)
kg (lb)
EAFS 15 (33) 540 (1190) 15 (33) 530 (1168) 22.5 (50) 830 (1830) 15 (33) 515 (1124) 22.5 (50) 860 (1896)
Coarse aggregate
EAFS 30 (66) 1080 (2381) 30 (66) 1060 (2337) 30 (66) 1110 (2447) 30 (66) 1030 (2249) 30 (66) 1150 (2535)
4/12.5, kg (lb)
Abrams cone slump, mm (in.) 20 (0.8) 35 (1.4) 5 (0.2) 45 (1.8) 5 (0.2)
First subcolumn is mass of each component used in mixture.

Second subcolumn is dosage per cubic meter of concrete.

high fineness of the LFS, which in this case gave a result in Table 6—Mixture setting time measured in
the interval of 30 to 60 mm (1.2 to 2.4 in.). The presence of Vicat apparatus
fine LFS particles improved its workability. Mixture D-1 D-2 and D-3 D-4 D-5
In a second step, Mixtures D-3 and D-4 were prepared. In
Weight ratio LFS/PC 0/10 7.5/10 15/10 7.5/8
Mixture D-3, the limestone sand in Mixture D-2 was replaced
by EAFS sand and, in hindsight, the planned decrease in the Weight ratio LFS/PC, % 0/100 43/57 60/40 49/51
w/c to maintain workability (less fineness, w/c = 0.65) was Water, % weight 24 27 29.5 28
deemed an error: the slump decreased to 5 mm (0.2 in.) due
Initial setting, minutes 114 42 18 16
to the particular geometry of fine EAFS. In Mixture D-4, the
limestone sand in Mixture D-2 was replaced by LFS (finer Final setting, minutes 190 70 41 39
and blunt), and the w/c was increased to a high value (0.8),
which gave an acceptable slump of 45 mm (1.8 in.). to the clinker. The proportions between PC and LFS used in
In a third step, in Mixture D-5, which has Mixture D-3 these normal-consistency pastes were the same proportions
as its reference, the cement content was decreased to of both materials contained in Mixtures D-1 to D-5. The
300 kg/m3 (18.5 lb/ft3) (–15%) with a slow increase in the results of the setting times recorded in these tests are shown
w/c up to 0.7 to maintain a suitable amount of water. The in Table 6.
results for workability in this case were, as expected, very The results on the normal-consistency paste corresponding
similar to the original D-3 mixture (5 mm [0.2 in.]). to Mixture D-1 reflects the initial and final setting of the
Considering the values of the w/c and the obtained slumps, portland cement used in this work (refer to Tables 1 and 6).
this paper presents a first characteristic in the behavior of Pastes reflecting the proportions of LFS to PC in the other
slags in concrete mixtures. The role of LFS is next to that mixtures show shorter initial and final setting times. This
of the lime in hydraulic mixtures, increasing the plasticity corresponded with Mixtures D-4 and D-5, which were the
and the demand of water due to its fine, blunt, and smooth most likely to undergo this problem due to their higher LFS/
particles. However, in contrast to this, the crushed EAFS PC ratios. Setting times were longer in Mixtures D-2 and
is porous and its particles are angular with sharp edges; D-3 than in Mixtures D-4 and D-5, but also clearly below the
both of these factors lead to a decrease in workability, suitable values demonstrated by Mixture D-1. Hence, it is
especially when the fine aggregate has this morphology. important to consider the risk of overly rapid setting, which
Mixtures D-3 and D-5 with higher EAFS fine aggregate can make laying of these concrete Mixtures D-2 to D-5 in
contents have the lowest slump (5 mm [0.2 in.]), whereas practical construction difficult or even impossible. It can
Mixture D-4 with the high LFS content presents the higher be confidently stated from an analysis of the data presented
slump (45 mm [1.8 in.]). in Table 6, that it is inadvisable to exceed the proportion
40/60 in the LFS/PC ratio.
EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS AND DISCUSSION A recent paper by the authors57 has shown the results of
Setting properties severe weathering and hydration on several types of LFS.
Rapid setting was observed during the mechanical mixing The calcium silicates of LFS (in their allotropic forms)
of the components in some cases; the concrete mixer present low to zero hydraulicity (without the use of chemical
became blocked after a few minutes, making a satisfactory activators), but the calcium aluminates (monocalcium
mixture impossible. Initially, this situation was observed in aluminate, tricalcium aluminate, and mayenite) can present
Mixture D-4—which has the highest content of LFS—but a considerable degree of hydraulicity. Therefore, the
also in Mixture D-3 and then in Mixture D-5. proportion of reactive calcium aluminates contained in the
It was decided that a similar test to that prescribed in original portland cement (tricalcium aluminate proposed in
the ASTM C191-0859 (setting times in portland cement) the Bogue formulation) is increased by its mixture with LFS,
should be applied to different proportional mixtures of and this, it may be hypothesized, could be the possible cause
portland cement and LFS. A paste of normal consistency of the observed rapid setting. The addition of supplementary
was prepared, taking the PC-LFS mixtures as a compound calcium sulfate provides a viable solution to the questions
cement in which the LFS could be considered an addition raised and confirms the diagnosis.

ACI Materials Journal/November-December 2011 677

Table 7—Physical properties and compressive mechanical test results of hardened concrete
Mixture D-1 D-2 D-3 D-4 D-5
3 3
Bulk specific gravity, Mg/m (lb/ft ) 2.73 (169) 2.73 (169) 2.84 (175) 2.69 (166) 2.83 (175)
3 3
Apparent specific gravity, Mg/m (lb/ft ) 3.06 (189) 3.09 (191) 3.18 (196) 3.12 (193) 3.11 (192)
Physical data Water absorption, % weight 5.5 6.3 5.7 7.2 5.6
Total porosity, % 14.3 16.3 15.1 18.5 14.8
Matrix porosity, % 9 11.3 8.9 13.7 8.4
At 7 days 35.4 (5.1) 39.8 (5.8) 55.3 (8) 24.9 (3.6) 34.1 (4.9)
At 28 days 46.6 (6.8) 52.9 (7.7) 60.4 (8.8) 31.5 (4.6) 47.6 (6.9)
Compressive strength, MPa (ksi) At 90 days 52.2 (7.6) 58.3 (8.5) 64 (9.3) 35.1 (5.1) 51.2 (7.4)
At 180 days 54.9 (8) 62.8 (9.1) 70.6 (10.2) 37.3 (5.4) 53.7 (7.8)
At 360 days 58.9 (8.5) 67.2 (9.7) 80.5 (11.7) 39 (5.7) 54.2 (7.9)

Certainly, the addition of a small quantity (2% on weight important consideration related to their ultimate design,
of cement) of calcium sulfate (gypsum) to Mixtures D-4 and manufacture, and efficiency of the modes of use in which
D-5, and 1% to Mixtures D-2 and D-3 slowed lead time they are employed. This question, which is discussed in
setting to usual values of over 3 hours. This procedure this section, is not accurately addressed in the scientific
slowed an overly rapid hydration of aluminates from PC and technical literature on the subject. To obtain useful
and LFS leading to the formation of primary ettringite (refer results, it is necessary to design these mixtures on the basis
to Hewlett60).These observations raise pertinent questions of two conditions: the matrix porosity, and the suitable and
relating to the future use of LFS in hydraulic mixtures. equilibrate content between the very fine fraction of inert
aggregates (with a size under 0.063 mm [0.025 in.] passing
Physico-mechanical properties of hardened concrete the No. 200 sieve) and the hydraulic reactive fine fraction,
Table 7 presents the physical data regarding densities, provided by the portland cement and the remainder of
water absorption, and porosity of the different mixtures reactive materials as LFS.
employed in the tests. EAFS is a heavy and porous material, In this paper, the authors propose to evaluate the hydraulic
and when it is used as aggregate it will produce higher density activity of LFS, stating that a fraction of the total LFS mass
and higher porosity values than those commonly found in in mixtures is active and the remainder of the LFS will
commercial hardened concrete. The fifth row of Table 7 cites be considered inert. To quantify the question, the initial
matrix porosity as the difference between the total porosity hypothesis cites that the hydraulically active fraction is
of mixtures measured by the classical immersion procedure a part of the finer fraction (passing the No. 200 sieve) for
and detailed in the previous row and the porosity of its EAFS LFS, and the thick particles retained by the No. 200 sieve are
coarse and fine aggregate specified in Table 3. inert. Thus, this LFS may be characterized by the following
Mixtures D-3 and D-5 are the densest of the series, which proportions and properties:
is understandable, as both Mixtures D-3 and D-5 contain
• A less fine inert fraction (30% of total weight retained
larger amounts of heavy EAFS. Moreover, Mixture D-4 is
by a No. 200 sieve);
the most porous; it has the highest ratio (w/c = 0.8)—a value
• A fine fraction that is hydraulically active (approximately
that is clearly excessive.
40% of the total weight); and
Compressive mechanical tests were performed on
the 100 x 100 x 100 mm (4 x 4 x 4 in.) cube specimens at 7, • A fine inert fraction (approximately 30% of the total weight).
28, 90, 180, and 360 days after pouring the fresh concrete. These numerical values are proposed on the basis of this
A factor of approximately 0.8 is used to estimate coarse research team’s experience with LFS and on the composi-
corresponding values of compressive strength in equivalent tions and proportions presented in Table 4. They will be
cylindrical specimens of 150 x 300 mm (6.7 x 11.8 in.). confirmed or otherwise by the results of the calculations
Table 7 lists the results of the mechanical compression test. performed on the concrete mixtures in this paper.
The portland cement contained reactive calcium silicates Mixture D-1—Reference Mixture D-1 may be considered
and aluminates, and the LFS contained, at the outset of the a “conventional” concrete mixture suitable for use in the
test, inert calcium silicates, reactive calcium aluminates manufacture of precast elements if a low slump is required.
(AC3, Mayenite), and portlandite. The Blaine fineness of Its density is higher than commercial concrete due to the
PC is 400 m2/kg (1953 ft2/lb) and the fineness in the LFS is use of EAFS aggregate. The evolution of its strength over
lower at 200 m2/kg (977 ft2/lb). The strength results obtained time (refer to Fig. 2) is understandable when observing that
in Mixtures D-1, D-2, and D-3 demonstrate hydraulic capillary water retained in EAFS results in a delayed curing
reactivity of LFS in these types of concretes, probably and, therefore, the mixture may be considered well-graded
interacting and catalyzed by the components and hydraulic and well-proportioned in relation to its water and inert
reactions of PC. The presence of reactive aluminates in LFS fines content. This mixture demonstrates a good strength
largely contributes to the short-term compressive strength of evolution in compression (refer to Table 7) of 46.6 MPa
the mixtures. (6.8 ksi) at 28 days and 58.9 MPa (8.5 ksi) at 1 year.
The correct proportioning of these types of concrete The matrix porosity in Mixture D-1 has been calculated
mixtures, containing very porous EAFS aggregate and at 9% (refer to Table 7); values below 10% are considered
relevant proportions of LFS as fine aggregate, is a very excellent, and tolerable at below 12%. If the porosity

678 ACI Materials Journal/November-December 2011

exceeds 12%, the compressive mechanical strength clearly be considered a good, reasonable quality slag concrete,
decreases, as can be observed in Mixture D-4. containing a slight excess of water and inert fines (175 kg/m3
The amount of effective water can be estimated as 163 L/m3 [10.8 lb/ft3]) due mainly to those furnished by the LFS.
(0.163 ft3/ft3) of concrete by subtracting the EAFS absorbed Mixture D-3—The same amounts of LFS and PC and
water (2.88% or 3.65%, refer to Table 3) from the total water the same LFS/PC ratio are maintained in Mixture D-3
added to the mixture. Hence, the effective w/c in this mixture as in Mixture D-2, with the added innovation that all the
is 163/360 = 0.45, which is consistent with a matrix porosity Mixture D-2 limestone sand content is replaced by EAFS
of 9%. fine aggregate—a “coarse sand” with fewer fine particles
The amount of inert fines (passing the No. 200 sieve) in this than the limestone sand. The design for Mixture D-3 had
mixture is approximately 145 kg/m3 of concrete (9.0 lb/ft3), less water (w/c = 0.6) and the consistency slump was only 5
yielding these numerical data from the addition of the fines mm (0.2 in.). The water absorbed by the additional porous
provided by: a) cement (5% limestone filler by weight), EAFS fine aggregate compensates to excess the capillary
18 kg (39.7 lb); b) limestone sand (18.2% fines that pass the water demand of the replaced limestone sand.
No. 200 sieve by weight), 98 kg (216 lb); and c) EAFS fine The effective w/c of Mixture D-3, calculated as in
aggregate (5.6% of EAFS fine fraction by weight), 30 kg Mixture D-1, was 178/370 = 0.48 and the matrix porosity
(66.1 lb). was 8.9%; both values were very similar to those of
• This value of 145 kg/m3 (9.0 lb/ft3) is reasonably Mixture D-1. Taking into account the same considerations
correct according to the experience of concrete makers as for Mixtures D-1 and D-2 on the calculation of the
and researchers, and even Article 31.1 of the Spanish inert fine fraction weights, the total amount of inert fines
Standard EHE-0858 sets the maximum value for inert was 145 kg/m3 (9.0 lb/ft3) in Mixture D-3, as in Mixture D-1.
fines in normal concrete at 175 kg/m3 (10.8 lb/ft3). Hence, it would appear prudent to estimate some similarity
This value should depend, in a first approach, on the between the performances of Mixture D-3 and Mixture D-1.
maximum aggregate size and on the cement content Additionally, it was estimated that Mixture D-3 had an
of the concrete. An ideal value of inert fines of amount of reactive LFS of 110 kg/m3 (6.8 lb/ft3), according
approximately 150 kg/m3 (9.3 lb/ft3) is considered for to the initial hypothesis on LFS composition.
this type of concrete, with a maximum aggregate size In summary, Mixture D-3 may be considered well
of 12.5 mm (0.5 in.) and a cement content of 350 kg/m3 graded, of excellent strength, and with an adjusted water
(21.6 lb/ft3). content that produces low workability. After the first week,
Mixture D-2—Mixture D-2 contained an LFS amount the mechanical strength was 55.3 MPa (8 ksi), while the
that replaced half the limestone sand in Mixture D-1. This maximum value after 1 year was 80.5 MPa (11.7 ksi)
addition of LFS implied an increase in water demand to in 100 x 100 x 100 mm (4 x 4 x 4 in.) cubic specimens,
maintain workability due to its increased fineness; in fact, a equivalent to approximately 65 MPa (9.4 ksi) in the
ratio of w/c = 0.7 leads to a slump of 35 mm (13.8 in.). The conventional 150 x 300 mm (6.7 x 11.8 in.) cylindrical specimens,
effective water, calculated as in Mixture D-1, was 200 kg/m3 using a conversion factor of 0.8 as stated previously.
(12.3 lb/ft3), and the effective w/c was estimated at 200/355 These results may be explained by considering the
= 0.54, a value higher than the Mixture D-1 value, which development of hydraulic reactivity in the LFS. The
corresponded to a matrix porosity result of 11.3%, as hydration of calcium aluminates contained in the LFS was
reflected in Table 7. These data (effective w/c versus matrix probably the key to understanding the high short-term
porosity) obtained for Mixtures D-1 and D-2 suggest a single strength of Mixture D-3. The rapid setting observed in
and direct correlation between both factors. Mixtures D-3 and D-2 may be considered as the start of a
The amount of total inert fines had to be increased in this more complete hydraulic reaction of LFS calcium aluminates
mixture with respect to Mixture D-1, which related to the in these mixtures, which demonstrate a positive result in
LFS inert fraction. Based on the aforementioned hypothesis relation to strength. It is hypothesized that the differences,
regarding LFS composition, it is possible to estimate an relating to strength, between Mixtures D-3 and D-2 were
amount of 175 kg/m3 (10.8 lb/ft3) of inert fines (passing due to the matrix porosity values and the proportions of inert
the No. 200 sieve) in this mixture, which is well within fines; Mixture D-3 was a better graded and proportioned
the safety margin, while it maintains a value of matrix mixture than Mixture D-2. Mixtures D-1 and D-3 were
porosity below 12%. The inert fraction of fines furnished mixtures that performed very well, whereas the workability of
by the LFS (approximately 30% of added LFS by weight) Mixture D-3 was adversely affected by the higher proportion
is 80 kg/m3 (4.9 lb/ft3), which replaces the limestone sand of EAFS sand.
fines (49 kg/m3 [3 lb/ft3] passing the No. 200 sieve); the fines Mixtures D-4 and D-5—Mixtures D-4 and D-5 contained
from the cement and the EAFS fines are similar to those in higher proportions of LFS than the previous mixtures; the
Mixture D-1. LFS/PC ratio was in excess of 40/60. As previously stated,
The mechanical compressive strength of Mixture D-2 is rapid setting and the presence of potentially expansive
higher than that of Mixture D-1 over time, according to the compounds in the LFS, such as magnesium oxide, created
data listed in Table 7, reaching a value of 52.9 MPa (7.7 ksi) an unstable situation, which was the reason for proposing
at 28 days and 67.2 MPa (9.7 ksi) at 1 year. Considering this the limit at 40/60.
fact and the negative impact on the strength of the matrix Mixture D-4 was similar to Mixtures D-2 or D-3, except for
porosity value (slightly higher than that of Mixture D-1), the replacement of a portion of the fine aggregate with LFS.
one can deduce that LFS exhibits an outstanding degree Likewise, Mixture D-4 was similar to Mixture D-1 except
of hydraulic properties. According to the hypothesis given for the total replacement of the limestone sand by LFS. The
for LFS, the amount of reactive LFS is 105 kg (231.5 lb) LFS/PC ratio at 60/40 in Mixture D-4 was too high, in that it
but, undoubtedly, as a conglomerate that is less effective increased the demand for water to obtain good workability.
than the portland cement. To summarize, Mixture D-2 may The rapid setting in Mixture D-4 was foreseeable due to the

ACI Materials Journal/November-December 2011 679

excess LFS. Its consistency was adequate (45 mm [1.8 in.]), cement. Other kinds of LFS with different calcium
but it had the greatest matrix porosity and the lowest density aluminates contents should perform differently. In
of the entire set of specimen mixtures. The values for matrix general, an increase in the short-term compressive
porosity (13.7%) and the effective w/c (222/340 = 0.65) in strength and a decrease in the setting time of concretes
Mixture D-4 were obviously too high. may be expected according to their use.
The evolution of compressive strength was correct but • The inclusion of LFS in its dusty form in concrete is
the values at 7, 28, 90, 180, and 360 days were the lowest only advisable under appropriate conditions, because its
in the set, which demonstrate that Mixture D-4 performed chemical reactivity in the presence of portland cement
poorly in comparison to the other mixtures, although the must be taken into account. It is recommended that
value of the 28-day compressive strength of 31.5 MPa the proportions of LFS versus Type I portland cement
(4.6 ksi) (equivalent to 25 MPa [3.6 ksi] in a cylindrical should not exceed a ratio of 40/60 by weight, and that
specimen) was acceptable. The excessive content of LFS the total amount of LFS should not exceed 200 kg/m3 of
leads to values of 200 kg/m3 (12.3 lb/ft3) for the inert fines concrete (12.3 lb/ft3).
in Mixture D-4. As similar calculations had been proposed • To design high-quality concrete using steelmaking
for previous mixtures in the series, this amount of inert fines slags, in the experience of this research group, the
was considered unsafe in view of the strength and durability following rules should be respected:
requirements of the mixture. The strength maintained ◦◦ Appropriate primary crushing and weathering of EAFS;
acceptable values due to the hydraulic properties of PC and ◦◦ Suitable proportioning between the coarse and fine
LFS, but the design of the mixture was too loose. fraction aggregates;
Mixture D-5 can be compared to Mixture D-3 but, in this ◦◦  Adequate use of fine inert aggregates, such as
case, the portland cement content had been reduced without siliceous or limestone sand;
any reduction in the LFS. As a consequence, the LFS/PC ratio ◦◦ Correct preparatory treatment and limited amounts
was virtually 50/50 and exceeded the recommended value of of LFS; and
40/60. The original w/c was higher than in Mixture D-3, but ◦◦  Limited initial slump in consistency. Plasticizer
the reduction of cement led to a lower amount of water and a admixtures may subsequently be added to reach
low slump consistency of 5 mm (0.2 in.), which was similar higher workability.
to Mixture D-3. The effective w/c was adequate—151/305
= 0.5—and the matrix porosity (8.4%) of Mixture D-5 was ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors wish to express their gratitude to the Spanish Ministry of
very close to the values for Mixture D-3, and a positive Science and Technology for supporting this work through Research Project
performance was inferred from these results. MAT 2004-02205.
The estimated amount of inert fines (140 to 150 kg/m3
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