Published in Petroleum Transactions, AIME, Volume 219, 1960, pages 281–287.
Changes in the properties of portland cement upon the addition of fine-ground silica are discussed. Data were collected from formulations cured for periods up to 60 days at temperatures varying from 180° to 350°F. Compressive strengths, permeabilities and thickening times are compared. It is demonstrated that addition of find-ground silica in proper proportion results in a hydrated cement with superior properties above 230°F; i.e., early compressive strengths are higher and increase with additional curing, permeabilities are significantly lover and thickening times are increased.
X-ray analysis of hydrated cement samples have been used to determine more fully the complex chemistry of these systems. Dicalcium silicate alpha-hydrate was found in all neat cements cured above 260°F. A 10 weight per cent silica addition produced a maximum amount of this phase. Xonotlite and tobermorite have been identified as hydration products at 320°F in systems containing 35 or more weight per cent silica. Formation of these components appears to be primarily responsible for the gain in strength and reduction of permeability observed after the addition of silica.
For several years it has been recognized that loss of compressive strength occurs when portland cement is cured at a temperature above 250°F. This phenomenon has been called "strength retrogression". More recently it has been recognized that increased permeability usually is associated with decreased compressive strength at these temperatures. At curing temperatures above 300°F, these factors reach serious proportions. A compressive strength loss of 50 per cent between curing times of 24 hours and 14 days has been reported, and permeabilities as high as 10 md have been measured in neat cements cured at 320°F for seven days.
Earlier investigators, although unsuccessful in eliminating strength retrogression, stated ". . . it appears possible that by the proper selection of additives for cement, strength loss with age at high temperatures can be either eliminated or considerably lessened". One solution suggested was the use of a pozzolanic material, hydrated lime, and a retarder.