Dosage Effect of Wet-Process Tuff Silt Powder as an Alternative Material of Sand on the Performance of Reactive Powder Concrete
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A large amount of stone powder is produced during the production of machine-made sand. This research aims to study the effect of wet-process tuff silt powder (WTSP) dosages (as an alternative sand material to utilize waste stone powder and reduce environmental hazards) on reactive powder concrete’s (RPC) mechanical performance. The physical and chemical properties of WTSP were analyzed as per relevant standards. This study prepared RPC samples with various WTSP content (0%, 6%, 12%, and 18%) to replace quartz sand at the same water–binder ratio (0.14) and allowed the samples to cure for 3 days, 7 days and 28 days prior to unconfined compression testing and flexural testing. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and Mercury Intrusion Porosimetry (MIP) testing were also carried out to observe the evolution of macroscopic properties in response to replacing part of quartz sand with the same amount of WTSP. The results show that the developed flexural and unconfined compressive strength (UCS) decreases slowly with a greater dosage of WTSP. However, when the WTSP content is 12% or less, the RPC made with WTSP satisfies the industrial application threshold regarding mechanical properties. For RPC samples containing more than 12% WTSP, the UCS and flexural strength showed a dramatic drop. Thus 12% of WTSP content was deemed the maximum and the corresponding UCS of 104.6 MPa and flexural strength of 12 MPa for 28 days of curing were the optimums. The microscopic characteristics indicate that the addition of WTSP can effectively fill the large pores in the RPC micro-structure, hence reducing the porosity of RPC. Furthermore, the WTSP can react with the cementitious material to form calcium aluminate during the hydration process, further strengthening the interface. The alkaline calcium carbonate in WTSP could improve the interfacial adhesion and make the structure stronger.