Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation




Civil Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Kamyar C. Mahboub


The objective of this research was to determine the influence of calcium sulfoaluminate (CSA) cement on reinforcing fibers by evaluating the fiber pullout behavior, and bonding characteristics, of a single fiber embedded in a cementitious paste matrix. Four types of fibers commonly used in industry were evaluated: 1) Polyvinyl alcohol; 2) Polypropylene; 3) Coated Steel; and 4) Plain Steel.

Upward trends in energy costs and potential greenhouse gas regulations favor an increased use of construction materials that require lower energy and lower CO2 emissions to fabricate, such as CSA cement, as opposed to the production of ordinary portland cement (OPC), which is more energy intensive and produces more CO2 emissions. However, widespread use of CSA cement requires a more in-depth understanding of the engineering characteristics that govern its performance, including interaction with reinforcing fibers.

The overarching objective of this research was to provide the engineering base needed for the utilization of reinforcing fibers in CSA cement-based construction materials. The aims of the research were (1) to develop an ettringite-rich calcium sulfoaluminate cement, and (2) evaluate the pullout characteristics of reinforcing fibers embedded in a CSA-cement matrix. Key elements of the strategy included (1) Compare the performance of a laboratory-fabricated CSA cement to a commercial CSA cement and OPC, (2) Evaluate the peak load, and toughness of reinforcing fibers in CSA cement and OPC, (3) Evaluate the debonding-energy density and multiple-cracking behavior of fibers in CSA cement and OPC, and (4) Evaluate the shear bond strength of reinforcing fibers in CSA cement and OPC.

Based on the findings of this PhD dissertation, calcium sulfoaluminate cement has a significant influence on the characteristics and behavior of embedded reinforcing fibers. An important factor contributing to the bond strength between fiber and matrix was the ability to transfer interfacial stresses from fiber to matrix. The more rigid-dense morphology of the CSA cement paste related to the ettringite crystal structure yielded higher peak loads, toughness, debonding-energy densities and shear-bond strengths for both steel and synthetic fibers. In addition to cement phase morphology, the reduction of the fiber/matrix elastic modulus ratio was found to be a primary factor affecting the performance and behavior of fibers embedded in a cementitious matrix.