Synergistic use of fly ash and silica fume to produce high-strength self-compacting cementitious composites

Muhammad Tausif Arshad, Saeed Ahmad, Anwar Khitab, Asad Hanif*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


High-performance cementitious composites with self-compacting characteristics are gaining due importance in meeting the challenges of the modern world. This experimental study deals with developing high-strength self-compacting cement mortar composites containing a binary blend of silica fume and fly ash. Seven specimens series were prepared with fly ash (FA), ranging from 17.5% to 25%, and silica fume (SF), from 1.25% to 7.5% of the cement mass. The control specimen powder content consists of 80% ordinary portland cement (OPC), 20% FA, and 0% SF; in the remaining six series of specimens, OPC is kept constant, whereas FA is reduced by 1% and SF is increased by 1% subsequently. Rheological behavior, mechanical properties, and microstructural characteristics of the developed high-performance composites were evaluated. The optimum binary blend for achieving the maximum flow spread and flow rate of the cement mortar is reported as 80% FA and 20% SF. For superior mechanical characteristics, optimum powder content was found as 80% OPC, 17.5% FA, and 2.5% SF. Using the proposed binary blend for construction applications will produce high-strength composites and promote sustainable development due to the use of industrial wastes as OPC replacement.

Original languageEnglish
Article number915
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2021
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// 4.0/).


  • Fly ash
  • Mechanical properties
  • Microstructure
  • Rheological properties
  • Self-compacting mortar
  • Silica fume
  • Ultrasonic pulse velocity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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