Norzaireen Azmee, Yassir M. Abba, Nasir Shafiq, Galal Fares



ice, the performance-based concrete mix (PBCM) approach has become quite popular because it enhances the quality of materials that are fundamentally necessary for a particular situation.

In the present study, experimental analysis is performed to determine the optimal mechanical properties and microstructural characteristics of concrete for sustainable development and cost effectiveness. Specifically, a mixture of high-volume fly ash (FA) and ultrafine calcium carbonate (UFCC) is investigated as a partial substitution of cement.

For optimizing the concrete’s performance, various curing regimes are applied to evaluate the best conditions for obtaining ideal mechanical and microstructural properties. The results show that concrete containing 10% UFCC with a mean particle size of 3.5 µm blended with 40% FA yielded the best performance, with an enhancement of 25% in the compressive strength in the early age.

Moreover, the UFCC improved the compactness and refined the interstitial transition zone (ITZ). However, the effects of the different curing methods on the concrete’s strength were insignificant after 28 days.



high-volume fly ash; ultrafine calcium carbonate; heat curing effects; microstructural characteristics; interfacial transition zone