Cementitious binders for construction in northern cold regions

Thesis event information

Date and time of the thesis defence

Place of the thesis defence

Wetteri auditorium (IT115), Linnanmaa

Topic of the dissertation

Cementitious binders for construction in northern cold regions

Doctoral candidate

MSc. Ahmad Alzaza

Faculty and unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Technology, Fibre and Particle Engineering

Subject of study

Process and Environmental Engineering


Professor Laurie Lacarrière, National Institute of Applied Sciences of Toulouse


Professor Mirja Illikainen, University of Oulu

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Cementitious binders for construction in northern cold regions

The construction season in northern regions is shortened by the severe cold weather, which also
considerably reduce the performance and quality of cementitious materials. The construction
season is currently extended using various methods, such as the installation of heating/insulation
systems, the use of high-early-strength cement, and the avoidance of the use of ecofriendly
supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs). These measures increase the costs, energy
consumption, emissions, and complexity of winter construction. Winter maintenance work is
consequently postponed frequently, thereby decelerating regional growth. Therefore, this thesis
aims to develop sustainable cementitious materials for northern cold regions with maximum
utilization of SCMs and minimum use of heating systems.
A comparable 28-day compressive strength can be attained in the ordinary Portland cement
(OPC)-based binder cured at −10 °C to that at 20 °C, which can be attributed to the combined
effects of calcium silicate hydrate (C–S–H) seeds, a binary antifreeze admixture, and roomtemperature
(23 °C ± 1 °C) precuring. Moreover, 30 wt.% of OPC in the 0 °C-cured binders could
be substituted with ground granulated blast-furnace slag by the addition of C–S–H seeds. This
replacement level can be increased to 50 wt.% with the use of GGBFS pre-alkali activation
treatment. The calcium sulfoaluminate belite ferrite (CSABF) cement works effectively as an
ecofriendly mineral accelerator, assuring the strength development of the OPC/CSABF blend at
extremely low ambient temperatures (i.e., −25 °C). The results of this thesis demonstrate the
potential for extending the construction season in northern regions using more sustainable
cementitious materials while reducing the requirement for expensive and energy-consuming
heating systems during winter construction work.
Last updated: 23.1.2024