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The objective of this investigation was to test the effectiveness of the Acoustic Emission (AE) measurements in determining the critical stresses during four-point bending of mortar beams. Within the measuring procedure the parameter σcr/σ300 was calculated and analysed. Additionally, the influence of cement replacement by high calcium fly ash (HCFA) on the process of crack healing was discussed. Mortar beams with different content of HCFA and reinforced by steel microfibres were prepared for tests. After curing in standard conditions the beams were subjected to four-point bending test in order to introduce the pre-cracking. Thereafter the beams were cured in the lime water and loaded after 56 and 112 days in the same way as for the first time. Additionally the microstructure of mortars was studied in a stereo optical microscope as well in an electron scanning microscope including the Energy Dispersive X-ray analysis (EDX). The results of microstructural characterization of mortar containing HCFA from lignite combustion are presented. The applied load level slightly exceeded the critical stress, producing intense crack growth processes however did not significant affected the load capacity of the beams. During the consecutive loading the decreasing tendency of σcr/σ300 ratio was noted. The obtained results confirm that the latter parameter can be applied as a measure of the composite degradation level for the elements carrying the repeated loads of amplitude close to the critical stress of the structure and also that the cement replacement with HCFA influences the process of crack healing.
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