Damage in cement pastes exposed to MgCl2 solutions

Chunyu Qiao, Prannoy Suraneni, Marisol Tsui Chang, Jason Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Magnesium chloride (MgCl2) reacts with cement pastes resulting in calcium leaching and the formation of calcium oxychloride, which can cause damage. This paper examines the damage in different cement pastes exposed to MgCl2 solutions. Volume change measurement and low temperature differential scanning calorimetry are used to characterize the formation of calcium oxychloride. Thermogravimetric analysis and X-ray fluorescence are used to quantify calcium leaching from Ca(OH)2 and C-S-H. The ball-on-three-balls test is used to quantify the flexural strength reduction. Calcium oxychloride can form in cement pastes exposed to MgCl2 solutions with a (Ca(OH)2/MgCl2) molar ratio larger than 1. As the MgCl2 concentration increases, two-stages of flexural strength reduction are observed in the plain cement pastes, with the initial reduction primarily due to calcium leaching from Ca(OH)2 and the additional reduction due to the calcium leaching from C-S-H (at MgCl2 concentrations above 17.5 wt%). For the cement pastes containing fly ash, there is a smaller reduction in flexural strength as less Ca(OH)2 is leached, while no additional reduction is observed at high MgCl2 concentrations due to the greater stability of C-S-H with a lower Ca/Si ratio. The addition of fly ash can mitigate damage in the presence of MgCl2 solutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number74
JournalMaterials and Structures/Materiaux et Constructions
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • C-S-H
  • Ca(OH)
  • Calcium leaching
  • Flexural strength
  • Magnesium chloride

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanics of Materials


Dive into the research topics of 'Damage in cement pastes exposed to MgCl<sub>2</sub> solutions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this