Autogenous shrinkage of early age cement paste and mortar

Tianshi Lu

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

101 Downloads (Pure)


Concrete is a brittle composite material that easily fractures under tension. Due to the fact that the early-age deformation of the concrete member is restrained by adjoining structures, cracking can occur throughout the concrete prior to application of any load. The cracks would provide preferential access for aggressive agents penetrating in the concrete and then cause corrosion of reinforcement and degradation of concrete. As a result, the service life of concrete structure would be decreased. There are many different types of early-age deformation of concrete, e.g. temperature induced strain, drying shrinkage and autogenous shrinkage. Among these types of early-age deformation, autogenous shrinkage is a consequence of the self-desiccation during the cement hydration process. For a long time autogenous shrinkage was considered negligible compared with drying shrinkage. In recent years, autogenous shrinkage has drawn more and more attention due to the increasing use of concretes with low water-binder ratios. Despite the fact that phenomenon of autogenous shrinkage has been recognized for several decades, the mechanism behind it is still not fully understood and no consensus has yet been reached. Three is a general agreement about the existence of a relationship between autogenous deformation and relative humidity change in the capillary pores of the hardening cement paste. Many simulation models were built based on this relationship to predict the development of autogenous shrinkage. The reliability of these predictions, however, is not always satisfactory. The discrepancy between the measured and calculated autogenous deformation becomes very pronounced at later ages. In those simulation models, cement paste was considered as an elastic material and only the elastic part of autogenous shrinkage was predicted. In fact, cement paste is not ideal elastic material. When a cement paste is subjected to a sustained load, it will deform elastically and continue to deform further with time, which process is known as creep. Creep plays an important role in autogenous shrinkage of hydrating cement paste. The ignorance of creep would lead to an underestimation of the autogenous shrinkage. The aim of this project is to study the autogenous shrinkage of Portland cement pastes and blended pastes with supplementary materials. The autogenous shrinkage is supposed to consist of two parts, elastic part and time-dependent part (creep), which are simulated separately. Based on the autogenous shrinkage of cement pastes, autogenous shrinkage of cement mortars and concretes were simulated by taking the restraining effect of rigid sand/aggregate particles into consideration.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • van Breugel, K., Supervisor
Award date7 May 2019
Print ISBNs978-94-6384-040-8
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • autogenous shrinkage
  • capillary tension
  • creep
  • silica fume
  • fly ash
  • blast furnace slag
  • cement paste
  • cement mortar
  • concrete

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