A laboratory study was undertaken to assess the compressive and flexural tensile strength and drying shrinkage properties of mortar mixtures containing high-calcium nonstandard Afsin-Elbistan fly ash (FA). Possibility of using Afsin-Elbistan FA in cement-based materials as shrinkage-reducing or compensation agent was also discussed. Five mortar mixtures including control Portland cement (PC) and FA mortar mixtures were prepared. FA replaced the cement on mass basis at the replacement ratios of 10%, 20%, 30% and 40%. Water-cementitious materials ratio was 0.4 for all mixtures. The mixtures were cured at 65% relative humidity and 20 +/- 2 degreesC. The compressive and flexural tensile strength and drying shrinkage values of the mortar mixtures were measured. The results show that Afsin-Elbistan FA reduced drying shrinkage of the mortar by 40%. Therefore, it was concluded that Afsin-Elbistan FA can be used as a shrinkage-reducing agent. The mortar containing 40% FA expanded. This indicates that Afsin-Elbistan FA may be utilized to compensate drying shrinkage of cement-based materials. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.