Screening for key material parameters affecting early-age and mechanical properties of blended cementitious binders with mine tailings

Anne Mette T. Bagger*, Wolfgang Kunther, Nina M. Sigvardsen, Pernille E. Jensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Considering the vast amounts and wide variability of tailings available worldwide, means to assess the potential of tailings for cement clinker replacement based on their physical, chemical and mineralogical characteristics would be useful. This work studied the early-age properties and mechanical performance of mortar of Portland limestone cement (CEM II/A-LL) clinker in a ternary blend with partial clinker substitution by 13 metal and mineral mine tailings. The properties studied included workability, setting time, porosity and compressive strength. The effects of replacement level and mine tailing characteristics on the performance of mortar were assessed by chemometrics.
The results showed that most mine tailings reduced the workability of mortar (3–19 %) and that an increased replacement level reduced the workability further. For most mine tailings, the initial setting time was identical to the reference, while they reached the final setting faster. Tailings had a variable impact on the porosity at low replacement, while porosity generally increased at a higher replacement. The compressive strength decreased with increasing replacement in most cases, and a clear negative correlation was found between compressive strength and porosity. However, five mine tailings developed up to 10 % higher strength after 28 days with 20 % supplementary composite material compared to the reference.
Chemometric analyses showed that tailings with high specific surface area and silicon dioxide content influenced the mechanical properties of the mortar most positively. Conversely, larger grain sizes, high loss on ignition, calcium oxide and calcium carbonate content impacted compressive strength negatively.
The analyzed characteristics do, however, not fully explain the resulting early-age and mechanical properties, thus additional investigations are needed to understand the performance in detail.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00608
JournalCase Studies in Construction Materials
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Mine tailings
  • Supplementary cementitious materials
  • Partial cement clinker replacement
  • Ternary blend composite cement
  • Mortar
  • Mechanical performance
  • Early-age properties
  • Chemometrics


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