Effect of mixing method on the mini-slump spread of Portland cement pastes

Abstract The current compressive strength test for cement classification is performed under a fixed water to cement ratio according to the Brazilian and European standards, regardless the consistency obtained. However, under practical conditions the amount of water required is related to the rheological need to obtain and maintain a desired workability. Intrinsic cement characteristics influence the water demand such as the cement particle’s granulometry, specific surface area, density, the presence or not of water reducing admixtures, chemical and mineralogical nature of raw materials, etc., influence particles agglomeration state. Because water demand influences the mechanical properties of cement based products, the compressive strength class under a fixed water to solids ratio specified by the standards may not be representative for the user. The present work investigates the influence of mixing conditions on mini-slump spread results, a test that has been used for many years but never standardized. Cement paste samples were produced with varied mixing conditions (time and rotation speed) using a conventional stirrer and subjected to mini-slump spread test immediately after mixing and at fixed hydration times. Results show that mixing and hydration time do influence on mini-slump spread. At lower rotation speeds, results variability increases. Under fixed time after first contact with water, increasing rotation speed leads in a reduction of results variability and increase the test’s repeatability on cement pastes.