Mechanisms Affecting Viscosity of Cement Paste Made with Microfines of Manufactured Sand


Viscosity of cement-based materials incorporating manufactured sand is affected by the content and physical properties of the microfines in the sand. However, some of the mechanisms affecting the viscosity remain unclear. This paper investigates the effect of microfine type and content on the apparent viscosity (ηapp) and residual viscosity in/near pseudo-Newtonian regime (ηpse-New res) of cement pastes. Limestone (LS), slate (ST), and tuff (TF) microfines with different specific surface areas were investigated. Test results showed that, by deducting the greater contribution of yield stress to ηapp when using finer microfines, the increase of ηpse-New res at a given PCE dosage was mainly associated with the lower average PCE coverage onto powder particles that intensified local fluid shearing. However, despite the additional PCE demand that reduced the local fluid shearing to maintain a fixed mini-slump flow, the ηpse-New res can increase by adding TF and LS, while decreased by using ST, given their discrepant effects on enhancing and reducing particle friction contacts, respectively. Specifically, particle friction contacts were correlated to the solid volume fraction, particle packing density, and flow index of Herschel-Bulkley model, with local fluid shearing related to the mean particle size and PCE coverage. A qualitative approach relating the local fluid shearing, interstitial fluid viscosity, and particle friction contacts was developed to describe the ηpse-New res, given the hydrodynamic and contact interactions between powder particles. The model yielded good estimation for cement pastes made with different types and additions of microfines.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


The authors gratefully acknowledge the financial supports from the National Key Research and Development Program of China (2020YFC1909900), the Youth Program of National Natural Science Foundation of China (52008190), and the China Scholarship Council (CSC number: 201906050122).

Keywords and Phrases

Hydrodynamic interactions; Microfines; Particle contacts; Superplasticizer adsorption; Viscosity

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2022 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jun 2022