Prevention of thaumasite formation in concrete exposed to sulphate attack
Thermodynamic calculations were performed to investigate at which sulphate ion concentration hardened concrete can be damaged by the formation of thaumasite. It is indicated that thaumasite can be formed from C–S–H phases and portlandite at very low sulphate concentrations in an aggressive solution. Higher sulphate ion concentrations are required in the absence of portlandite. Still higher sulphate ion concentrations are needed if C–S–H phases with a low calcium/silicon ratio are consumed. Therefore, it is suggested that the formation of thaumasite at low and moderate sulphate concentrations in the attacking solution can be avoided by lowering the calcium/silicon ratio in the C–S–H phases. This can be achieved by the addition of pozzolanic and latently hydraulic admixtures. During the reaction of these materials, portlandite is consumed and the calcium/silicon ratio of the C–S–H phases is lowered. The aforementioned concept was confirmed by studies published in the literature and also by experimental investigations reported in this paper.