In this study, CO2 quantification was performed on various concrete binder and aggregates by back titration, ther-mogravimetric method, and combustion-infrared absorption method, and their mutual consistency and error factors due to material characteristics were investigated. The back titration measures CO2 directly and is considered the suitable method for both materials, although the effect of sulfide was a concern. On the other hand, the TGA method was revealed to have the possibility of underestimating or overestimating the CO2 determination because the oxidation of sulfides in blast furnace slag, combustion of unburned carbon in fly ash, and dehydration of clay minerals in aggregate overlapping with the temperature range of calcination of calcium carbonate. In the combustion-infrared absorption method, elemental or organic carbon encapsulated in aggregate particles may underestimate or overestimate the CO2 content. In blended cement, sulfur compounds may interfere with the infrared absorption of CO2 and overestimate the amount of CO2. Based on these results, back titration was considered the most suitable method for determining CO2 for concrete materials. It is essential to understand the characteristics of each sample contained and select appropriate methods for CO2 quantification of concrete materials and concrete.
The influence of temperature on the hydration of cementitious materials has been traditionally modelled using the maturity concept and Arrhenius law. This approach yields a single material property, called apparent activation energy (Ea), that describes the whole temperature dependence. Determining Ea experimentally has sparked controversy, such as whether the different properties (e.g., compressive strength, tensile strength, E-modulus) exhibit different Ea, whether a single Ea value exists for the entire hydration process, or whether cement paste and concrete possess the same Ea. Furthermore, studies measuring Ea from elastic modulus measurements are truly scarce, likely due to experimental challenges with measuring this property at early-ages. This work investigated the influence of temperature on the elastic modulus evolution of cement paste and concrete. A single mix for each material was tested with the EMM-ARM (Elasticity Modulus Measurement through Ambient Response Method) methodology under three different isothermal conditions. The resulting elastic modulus evolution curves were used to derive Ea evolution curves from two traditional computation methods: the ‘speed’ method and the ‘derivative of speed’ method. Results showed that the elastic modulus evolution of both materials initially presented a constant Ea, independent of temperature and hydration development as preconized by the classical Arrhenius law. However, as hydration progressed to later stages, the activation energy exhibited evident dependencies on both temperature and hydration levels. Cement paste and concrete consistently exhibited different Ea values throughout hydration, with concrete having higher values. The use of the Ea curves to superimpose the different experimental elastic modulus evolution curves by means of the equivalent age concept led to near-perfect superpositions, strengthening the validity of this concept when applied to elastic modulus evolution.
Lightweight aggregate concrete (LWAC) is often used in building structures in these cold regions, which may also bear impact loads. To investigate the dynamic mechanical behavior of LWAC at low temperatures, this study conducted numerical simulations of the split Hopkinson pressure bar impact experiment on LWAC at room and low temperatures. The numerical simulation results showed good agreement with the experimental results, and on this basis, the dynamic failure process and characteristics of LWAC at different temperatures were analyzed. The numerical simulation results showed that both strain rates and temperatures have significant effects on the dynamic failure behavior of LWAC, and as the strain rate increases, more cracks are produced in LWAC during failure; as the temperature decreases, more cracks appear in the mortar matrix owing to the gradual decrease in the strength difference between the mortar matrix and the aggregate phase. In addition, both decreasing the temperature and increasing the strain rate enhance the strength of LWAC; a low temperature enhances the impact toughness of concrete at 60 s-1 and 80 s-1 but weakens it at 100 s-1. This study can be used as a theoretical reference for the safety and protection design of LWAC in low-temperature environments.