1 Introduction</h5> There has been much research on enhancing the strength and ductility of cement composites to improve their mechanical and material resistance under various environmental and loading conditions [1,2] . To enhance the strength of cement composites [3–6] , matrix densification has been successfully applied by optimizing the matrix composition and/or by adding micro grains or nano-materials. The addition of short fibers to the densified mortar matrices, including ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC), has also been intensively investigated to improve the ductility of cement composites [1,2,7–10] .</P>In short-fiber reinforced mortar and concrete, a strong interfacial bond between fibers and matrices is very important to enhance both tensile strength and ductility. Many researchers have enhanced interfacial bond strength by various methods [11–16] . The methods include the densification of the interfacial transition zone (ITZ) using finer grains, and the application of mechanical bonds that utilize the deformed shape of steel fibers. Kang et al.  recently investigated the effect of sand grain size on the packing density of mortar containing silica fume, and the mechanical and cracking behavior of high-performance fiber-reinforced cementitious composites (HPFRCC). They reported that the use of finer grain sands had a favorable effect on the
Construction and Building Materials – Elsevier
Published: Oct 1, 2013
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