Determination of particle size, surface area, and shape of supplementary cementitious materials by different techniques

Eleni C. Arvaniti, Maria C. G. Junger, Susan A. Bernal, Josée Duchesne, Luc Courard, Sophie Leroy, John L. Provis, Agnieszka Klemm, Nele De Belie*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    89 Citations (Scopus)


    The particle size distribution, surface area and shape are fundamental characteristics of supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs). Accurate measurement of these properties is required in computational efforts to model the hydration process, and the characterization of these parameters is also an important practical issue during the production and use of blended cements. Since there are no standard procedures specifically for the determination of physical properties of SCMs, the techniques that are currently used for characterizing Portland cement are applied to SCMs. Based on the fact that most of the techniques have been developed to measure cements, limitations occur when these methods are used for other materials than cement, particularly when these have lower fineness and different particle shape and mineralogical composition. Here, samples of fly ash, granulated blast furnace slag and silica fume were tested. Different results obtained using several methods for the determination of specific surface area are presented. Recommendations for testing SCMs using air permeability, sieving, laser diffraction, BET, image analysis and MIP are provided, which represent an output from the work of the RILEM Technical Committee on Hydration and Microstructure of Concrete with Supplementary Cementitious Materials (TC-238-SCM).
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3687-3701
    Number of pages15
    JournalMaterials and Structures
    Early online date4 Oct 2014
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 2015


    • cementitious materials
    • fly ash
    • surface area
    • particle size

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Engineering(all)


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