The effects of temperature curing on the strength development, transport properties, and freeze-thaw resistance of blast furnace slag cement mortars modified with nanosilica
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This investigation studies the effects of hot water and hot air curing on the strength development, transport properties, and freeze-thaw resistance of mortars incorporating low-heat blast furnace slag cement and nanosilica (NS). Mortar samples were prepared and stored in ambient conditions for 24 h. After demolding, mortar samples were subjected to two different hot curing methods: Hot water and hot air curing (40◦C and 60◦C) for 24 h. For comparison purposes, mortar reference mixes were prepared and cured in water and air at ambient conditions. Strength development (from 1 to 180 days), capillary water porosity, water sorptivity, and freeze-thaw resistance were tested after 180 days of curing. The experimental results showed that both curing regimes accelerate the strength development of mortars, especially in the first seven days of hydration. The highest early strengths were reported for mortars subjected to a temperature of 60◦C, followed by those cured at 40◦C. The hot water curing regime was found to be more suitable, as a result of more stable strength development. Similar findings were observed in regard to durability-related properties. It is worth noting that thermal curing can more efficiently increase strength in the presence of nanosilica, suggesting that NS is more effective in enhancing strength under thermal curing.