Fly ash meeting the requirements of ASTM C618, ‘‘Specification for Fly Ash and Raw or Calcined Natural Pozzolan for Use as a Mineral Admixture in Portland Cement Concrete,’’ is generally used as a cementitious material as well as an admixture.
Natural pozzolans are derived from some diatomaceous earths, opaline cherts and shales, and other materials. While part of a common ASTM designation with fly ash, they are not as readily available as fly ashes and thus do not generate the same level of interest or research.
Fly ashes are produced by coal combustion, generally in an electrical generating station. The ash that would normally be released through the chimney is captured by various means, such as electrostatic precipitators. The fly ash may be sized prior to shipment to concrete suppliers.
All fly ashes possess pozzolanic properties, the ability to react with calcium hydroxide at ordinary temperatures to form compounds with cementitious properties.
When cement is mixed with water, a chemical reaction (hydration) occurs.
The product of this reaction is calcium silicate hydrate (CSH) and calcium hydroxide [Ca(OH)2]. Fly ashes have high percentages of silicon dioxide (SiO2). In the presence of moisture, the Ca(OH)2 will react with the SiO2 to form another CSH.
Type F ashes are the result of burning anthracite or bituminous coals and possess pozzolanic properties. They have been shown by research and practice to provide usually increased sulfate resistance and to reduce alkali-aggregate expansions. Type C fly ashes result from burning lignite or subbituminous coals. Because of the chemical properties of the coal, the Type C fly ashes have some cementitious properties in addition to their pozzolanic properties. Type C fly ashes may reduce the durability of concretes into which they are incorporated.