The durability and thermal stability of hardened Portland cement pastes containing vermiculite (V) and expanded vermiculite (EV) exposed to high temperatures were studied. Different mixtures were prepared using 2.5, 5, and 10 wt% of both types of V. Each mixture, after 28 days of hydration, was heated at 300, 600, and 800 °C for 3 h. Two modes of cooling were used; gradual cooling in air and rapid cooling in cold water. The percentage of residual strength, chemically combined water content, change in phase composition, and the thermal stability of the heated specimens were studied. The specimens cooled in water showed greater loss in strength than the air-cooled specimens. The presence of V improved the heat resistance of ordinary type I Portland cement (OPC) pastes. 5 wt% replacement revealed the best performance at all heating temperatures. The EV showed better thermal resistance than the nonexpanded one. Addition of silica fume (SF) with V in OPC pastes lead to superior performance. This can be explained as result of the combined effects of insulation properties of V and pozzolanic reactivity of SF which accounts for the notable increase in the residual strength for these mixes.
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