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Plastic Shrinkage in Hot and Arid Environments

Plastic Shrinkage in Hot and Arid Environments

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Concrete international / september 2009
Concrete international / september 2009

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10/13/2012

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26 
september 2009
/
 
Cceeeaa
 
by AbdulrAhmAn m. AlhozAimy And AbdulAziz i. Al-negheimish
Pasc Shkae H a A Eves
ifc f a f wa-c a a ax a cca  cack v
ing Saud University and its Center of Excellence forConcrete Research and Testing are located in Riyadh,Saudi Arabia, in the center of the Arabian Peninsula. Thesummer weather in Riyadh can be severe—the averagedaytime temperature ranges from 40 to 45 °C (104 to 113 °F),and the average relative humidity is about 15%—so it’sfitting that faculty, staff, and students at the Center haveengaged in a comprehensive study of the effects of suchclimate conditions on concrete construction.To date, these studies have verified that using water-reducing and retarding (WRR) admixtures and controllingconcrete temperature can mitigate harmful effects on theproduction and delivery of concrete in hot weather.
1
WRRadmixtures have been shown, however, to increaseplastic shrinkage, reduce tensile strength, and thusincrease the risk of plastic shrinkage cracking in hot,dry environments.
2
This article describes the initialevaluation of the effects of WRR admixtures on the plasticshrinkage cracking of ready mixed concrete (RMC)produced and placed in this harsh summer climate.
ExPErimEntAl ProCEdurE
Because no standard procedures are available, varioustechniques have been used to study plastic shrinkagecracking of concrete.
3-5
We used 1 x 1 m (3.2 x 3.2 ft),100 mm (4 in.) thick slab specimens. Each slab wasreinforced in both directions with four 8 mm (0.31 in.)diameter steel bars spaced at 317 mm (12.5 in.) (Fig. 1).Five concrete mixtures were supplied by a local RMCproducer. Mixtures T25-R06, T32-R06, and T38-R06 hadrespective concrete temperatures of 25, 32, and 38 °C (77, 90,and 100 °F) and WRR admixture dosages of 600 mL/100 kg(9 fl oz/100 lb) of cement, per the manufacturer’s recommen-dations. Two additional mixtures had concrete temperaturesof 32 °C (90 °F). Mixture T32-NR had no WRR admixture, andMixture T32-R04 had a WRR admixture dosage of 400 mL/100 kg (6 fl oz/100 lb) of cement.Three exposure conditions—outdoor, indoor with fan,and indoor static—were investigated. For indoor-with-fantests, slabs were cast inside the laboratory and airflowfrom a fan was directed across their surfaces. For out-door-exposure tests, slabs were cast outdoors andexposed to the sun and the summer environment. Forindoor-static exposure tests, slabs were cast inside thelaboratory but were not exposed to moving air. Forindoor-with-fan and outdoor tests, two slabs were cast
Fig. 1: Rinforcing rs nd forms prior to csting of outdoor-xposur tst spcimns
 
Cceeeaa
 
/
september 2009
 27
from each of the five mixtures. Forthe indoor-static tests, two slabsfrom each of Mixtures T38-R06,T32-NR, and T32-R04 were cast. Atotal of 26 slabs were tested.
mAtEriAl ProPErtiES
Coarse aggregates were typically ablend of 20 and 10 mm (3/4 and3/8 in.) crushed limestone obtainedfrom quarries around Riyadh. Thefine aggregates were a blend ofnatural silica sand and manufacturedsand obtained from crushed lime-stone with the blend ratio selectedby the RMC plant to meet thegradation limits of ASTM C33 for fineaggregate. The specific gravity andabsorption values were, respectively,2.62 and 1.2% for the coarse aggregateand 2.61 and 1.5% for the fine aggregate.A local company manufactured thecement, which conformed to ASTMC150, Type I. No other cementitiousmaterials were used. The WRRadmixture conformed to ASTM C494,Type D requirements.
CASting And tEStingProCEdurES
The basic concrete mixture usedin the study was typical of thestructural-grade concrete used inRiyadh, with a cement content of350 kg/m
3
(590 lb/yd
3
 ) and specified28-day cube strength of 35 MPa(5000 psi). For all five mixtures, initialslump measured at the RMC plantwas maintained within the range of160 to 180 mm (6-1/4 to 7 in.) byadjusting the water content. Thecorresponding water-cement ratio
w
/
c
 ) was 0.47 to 0.54 for all mixturesexcept T32-NR, which had a
w
/
c
of0.65. The slump was kept constant toreplicate actual RMC industrypractice in Riyadh. The specifiedconcrete temperatures of 25, 32, and38 °C (77, 90, and 100 °F) wereobtained at the RMC plant by adjustingthe temperature of the mixing water.The mixture proportions for the 20and 10 mm (3/4 and 3/8 in.) crushedlimestone, crushed sand, and silicasand were 630, 420, 390, and390 kg/m
3
(1062, 708, 657, and657 lb/yd
3
 ), respectively.Casting was done at middayduring August to represent extremeweather conditions. The casting wascarried out on separate days for eachmixture and appropriate measureswere taken at the plant to achieveroughly the specified concretetemperature and slump. Concretequantity was kept constant for eachmixture. The trip to deliver theconcrete to the concrete laboratoryat King Saud University took 75 to85 minutes. Upon arrival at the lab,the concrete in the drum of the truckwas agitated at high speed forapproximately 2 minutes.For all mixtures, measurementstaken during the time of castingindicated outdoor temperatureranged from 38 to 42 °C (100 to108 °F), relative humidity (RH)ranged from 9 to 14%, and themaximum wind speed, taken about500 mm (20 in.) above the surface,ranged from 9 to 16 km/h (5.6 to9.9 mph). For the laboratoryconditions (both exposures), thetemperature was 28 ± 1 °C (82.4 ±1.8 °F) and RH was 16 ± 2%. For thefan-exposure condition, the windspeed was 14 ± 2 km/h (8.7 ± 1.2 mph).Steel forms were used for theslabs. Reinforcing bars were placedin the forms and supported onmortar spacers to keep the bars atmiddepth of the slab. Outdoor formsand reinforcing bars were mistedwith water to cool them beforeplacing the concrete. Concretewas placed in the forms in onelayer, consolidated by rodding,and finished by screeding in onedirection using a wooden straightedge.For each mixture, the following testswere performed on the fresh concrete: 
Concrete temperature test accordingto ASTM C1064;
 
Slump test according to ASTMC143; and
 
Setting time according toASTM C403.
CIRCLE READER CARD #11
 
28 
september 2009
/
 
Cceeeaa
 
To evaluate compressive strength, standard 150 x 150 x150 mm (6 x 6 x 6 in.) cubes were cast and tested at 28 daysin accordance with BS 1881.
6,7
Ambient temperature andrelative humidity were recorded for each casting. Immedi-ately after finishing, slabs were monitored to observe thetime of initiation of cracking, and concrete samples weremonitored to determine the initial setting time.Specimens for outdoor tests were left outdoors for theduration of testing, until the concrete had hardened andcracks had been mapped. For indoor-with-fan tests, theelectric fan was left on overnight. The surfaces of the slabswere examined after the concrete had hardened. Crackpatterns were sketched, and crack lengths and widthswere measured. The length of each crack was determinedby placing a string along the crack and then measuring thelength of the string. The width of each crack was measuredat intervals along its length using a handheld microscope.The area of each crack was calculated by multiplying itslength by its average width. The crack areas were summedfor each slab, and the unit crack area was calculated bydividing this sum by the slab area. The average crackwidth for a slab was obtained by dividing the total crackarea by the total crack length.
rESultS
With the exception of Mixture T32-NR, which had acompressive strength of about 30 MPa (4300 psi), the 28-day
Table 1:
S
ummary 
 
of 
 
plaStic
 
Shrinkage
 
cracking
 
characteriSticS
 
for
 
the
 
five
 
mixtureS
. e
 ach
 
tabulated
 
 value
 
iS
 
the
 
 average
 
of 
 
data 
 
taken
 
from
 
two
 
teSt 
 
SlabS
Mixtur dsigntionCrcking chrctristicsexposur conditionsIndoor with fnOutdooIndoor with sttic ir 
t25-r06Cack aa, 
2
/
2
(.
2
/f
2
 )1972 (0.284)1718 (0.247)Cack , (.)2353 (92.6)2560 (100.8)Avacack w, (.) 0.83 (0.032)0.63 (0.025)t32-r06Cack aa, 
2
/
2
(.
2
/f
2
 )2230 (0.321)1230 (0.177)Cack , (.)2863 (112.7)1693 (66.7)Avacack w, (.) 0.78 (0.031)0.71 (0.028)t38-r06Cack aa, 
2
/
2
(.
2
/f
2
 )420 (0.06)279 (0.04)116 (0.017)Cack , (.)2610 (102.8)1378 (54.3)1130 (44.5)Avacack w, (.) 0.16 (0.006)0.19 (0.007)0.10 (0.004)t32-r04Cack aa, 
2
/
2
(.
2
/f
2
 )663 (0.095)1306 (0.188)n v cackCack , (.)3533 (139.1)2735 (107.7)Ava cack w, (.) 0.18 (0.007)0.47 (0.019)t32-nrCack aa, 
2
/
2
(.
2
/f
2
 )409 (0.059)335 (0.048)n v cackCack , (.)2135 (84.1)1068 (42.0)Ava cack w, (). 0.19 (0.007)0.31 (0.012)
compressive strengths for the mixtures were in the rangeof 40 to 45 MPa (5700 to 6400 psi). The plastic shrinkagecracking characteristics for all mixtures are summarized inTable 1.Table 2 lists the elapsed times from start of mixing toend of finishing operations, from end of finishing to initialcracking, and from end of finishing to initial setting. Table 2values are limited to indoor-with-fan and outdoor tests.
geea behav
All mixtures in the indoor-with-fan and outdoor conditionsexhibited plastic shrinkage cracking. Of the mixtures placedin the indoor-static environment, two showed no cracking,and one exhibited only marginal cracking.Of the slabs cast in the outdoor and indoor-with-fanenvironments, those cast using Mixtures T25-R06 andT32-R06 exhibited greater unit crack areas and averagecrack widths than those produced using the other mixtures.The dominant cracks were typically long and appeared nearand along underlying reinforcing bars (Fig. 2).Slabs cast using Mixture T38-R06 showed relatively shortand discontinuous cracks in outdoor and indoor-with-fantests and even less cracking in the indoor-static tests.Slabs cast using Mixture T32-R04 exhibited only shortand discontinuous cracks in indoor-with-fan tests, butthey exhibited a combination of long continuous andshort discontinuous cracks in outdoor tests. The longcontinuous cracks appeared near underlying reinforcing

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