Direct observation of the moisture distribution in calcium aluminate cement and hydratable alumina-bonded castables during first-drying: an NMR study

Ahmed J. Barakat, Leo Pel (Corresponding author), Olaf Krause, Olaf C.G. Adan

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The drying behavior for various calcium aluminate cement and hydratable alumina-bonded refractory castables was investigated in the first-drying temperature range (100°C-300°C). Using a specialized high-temperature Nuclear Magnetic Resonance setup, we were able to directly and nondestructively measure the spatially and temporally resolved moisture distribution, while simultaneously measuring the temperature distribution as well. These measurements show that the drying front position is a linear function of time, which can be explained on the basis of a simplified model where only vapor transport is considered. Based on the measurements and the model, one can directly determine the permeability at high temperatures. Moreover, the results demonstrate that the drying front speed and temperature strongly correlates with the control of key material parameters (eg, water demand, binder content, etc). In particular, microsilica fume-containing low-cement castables displayed the highest vapor pressures, while regular castables generated the lowest vapor pressures reflecting the permeability of these materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2101-2113
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of the American Ceramic Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2020



  • castables
  • first-drying
  • high-temperature NMR
  • phase transitions
  • porous media

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