RILEM TC 247-DTA round robin test

carbonation and chloride penetration testing of alkali-activated concretes

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Many standardised durability testing methods have been developed for Portland cement-based concretes, but require validation to determine whether they are also applicable to alkali-activated materials. To address this question, RILEM TC 247-DTA ‘Durability Testing of Alkali-Activated Materials’ carried out round robin testing of carbonation and chloride penetration test methods, applied to five different alkali-activated concretes based on fly ash, blast furnace slag or metakaolin. The methods appeared overall to demonstrate an intrinsic precision comparable to their precision when applied to conventional concretes. The ranking of test outcomes for pairs of concretes of similar binder chemistry was satisfactory, but rankings were not always reliable when comparing alkali-activated concretes based on different precursors. Accelerated carbonation testing gave similar results for fly ash-based and blast furnace slag-based alkali-activated concretes, whereas natural carbonation testing did not. Carbonation of concrete specimens was observed to have occurred already during curing, which has implications for extrapolation of carbonation testing results to longer service life periods. Accelerated chloride penetration testing according to NT BUILD 443 ranked the tested concretes consistently, while this was not the case for the rapid chloride migration test. Both of these chloride penetration testing methods exhibited comparatively low precision when applied to blast furnace slag-based concretes which are more resistant to chloride ingress than the other materials tested.