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ACI

MATERIALS
JOURNAL
VOL. 109, NO. 5
SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2012
499 Creep Testing of Epoxy-Bonded Reinforcing Bar Couplers/G. Brungraber
503 Effect of Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH Ratios and NaOH Molarities on Compressive Strength
of Fly-Ash-Based Geopolymer/A. M. Mustafa Al Bakri, H. Kamarudin,
M. Bnhussain, A. R. Rafiza, and Y. Zarina
509 Effect of Using Mortar Interface and Overlays on Masonry Behavior by Using
Taguchi Method/M. Farouk Ghazy
517 Experimental Study on Dynamic Axial Tensile Mechanical Properties of
Concrete and Its Components/S. Wu, Y. Wang, D. Shen, and J. Zhou
529 Potential Recycling of Bottom and Fly Ashes in Acoustic Mortars and
Concretes/C. Leiva, L. F. Vilches, C. Arenas, S. Delgado, and
C. Fernández-Pereira
537 Early-Age Creep of Mass Concrete: Effects of Chemical and Mineral
Admixtures/S. Botassi dos Santos, L. C. Pinto da Silva Filho, and J. L. Calmon
545 Proposed Flexural Test Method and Associated Inverse Analysis for
Ultra-High-Performance Fiber-Reinforced Concrete/F. Baby, B. Graybeal,
P. Marchand, and F. Toutlemonde
557 A First-Cut Field Method to Evaluate Limestone Aggregate Durability/
J. R. Emry, R. H. Goldstein, and E. K. Franseen
565 Investigation of Properties of Engineered Cementitious Composites Incorporating
High Volumes of Fly Ash and Metakaolin/E. Özbay, O. Karahan, M. Lachemi,
K. M. A. Hossain, and C. Duran Ati¸ s
573 Fatigue Analysis of Plain and Fiber-Reinforced Self-Consolidating Concrete/
S. Goel, S. P. Singh, and P. Singh
A JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN CONCRETE INSTITUTE
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 497
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ACI Materials Journal
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CONTENTS
Board of Direction
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Engineering
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ACI MAterIAls JournAl
septeMber-oCtober 2012, V. 109, no. 5
A JOURNAL OF THE AMERÌCAN CONCRETE ÌNSTÌTUTE
AN ÌNTERNATÌONAL TECHNÌCAL SOCÌETY
499 Creep Testing of Epoxy-Bonded Reinforcing Bar Couplers by
Griffn Brungraber
503 Effect of Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH Ratios and NaOH Molarities on Compressive
Strength of Fly-Ash-Based Geopolymer by A. M. Mustafa Al Bakri,
H. Kamarudin, M. Bnhussain, A. R. Rafza, and Y. Zarina
509 Effect of Using Mortar Interface and Overlays on Masonry Behavior
by Using Taguchi Method by Mariam Farouk Ghazy
517 Experimental Study on Dynamic Axial Tensile Mechanical Properties
of Concrete and Its Components by Shengxing Wu, Yao Wang, Dejian
Shen, and Jikai Zhou
529 Potential Recycling of Bottom and Fly Ashes in Acoustic Mortars
and Concretes by Carlos Leiva, Luis F. Vilches, Celia Arenas, Silvia
Delgado, and Constantino Fernández-Pereira
537 Early-Age Creep of Mass Concrete: Effects of Chemical and Mineral
Admixtures by Sergio Botassi dos Santos, Luiz Carlos Pinto da Silva
Filho, and João Luiz Calmon
545 Proposed Flexural Test Method and Associated Inverse Analysis for
Ultra-High-Performance Fiber-Reinforced Concrete by Florent Baby,
Benjamin Graybeal, Pierre Marchand, and Fran¸ cois Toutlemonde
557 A First-Cut Field Method to Evaluate Limestone Aggregate Durability
by Julienne Ruth Emry, Robert H. Goldstein, and Evan K. Franseen
565 Investigation of Properties of Engineered Cementitious Composites
Incorporating High Volumes of Fly Ash and Metakaolin
by E. Özbay, O. Karahan, M. Lachemi, K. M. A. Hossain, and
C. Duran Ati¸ s
573 Fatigue Analysis of Plain and Fiber-Reinforced Self-Consolidating
Concrete by S. Goel, S. P. Singh, and P. Singh
583 In ACI Structural Journal
498 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
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2012
SEPTEMBER
19-21—4th International Conference on
Accelerated Pavement Testing, Davis, CA,
www.ucprc.ucdavis.edu/APT2012
19-21—18th IABSE Congress,s Seoul,
South Korea, www.iabse.org/Seoul2012
19-21—8th RILEM International
Symposium on Fibre Reinforced
Concrete, Guimarães, Portugal,
www.befb2012.civil.uminho.pt
20-23—ASCC Annual Conference,
Chicago, IL, www.ascconline.org
21-23—4th International Conference on
Problematic Soils, Wuhan, China,
www.cipremier.com/page.php?487
24-28—15th World Conference on
Earthquake Engineering, Lisbon, Portugal,
www.15wcee.org
SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER
29-2—PCI Annual Convention &
Exhibition and National Bridge
Conference, Nashville, TN, www.pci.org
OCTOBER
2-4—Tilt-Up Concrete Association
Annual Convention, Amelia Island, FL,
www.tilt-up.org
3-6—NCPA 47th Annual Convention,
New Orleans, LA, www.precast.org/
convention
11-14—International Concrete Polishing
& Staining Conference, Duluth, GA,
www.icpsc365.com/icpsc2011
22-23—Building Envelope Technology
Symposium, Phoenix, AZ,
www.rci-online.org/symposium.html
28-31—Tenth International Conference
on Superplasticizers and Other Chemical
Admixtures in Concrete, Prague,
Czech Republic,
www.intconference.org
OCTOBER/NOVEMBER
31-2—Twelfth International Conference
on Recent Advances in Concrete
Technology and Sustainability Issues,
Prague, Czech Republic,
www.intconference.org
NOVEMBER
3-8—International Pool | Spa | Patio
Expo, New Orleans, LA,
www.poolspapatio.com
4-7—First International Conference for
PhD Students in Civil Engineering,
Cluj-Napoca, Romania,
http://sens-group.ro/ce2012
11-14—Bridges Middle East, Doha, Qatar,
www.bridgesme.com
14-16—Greenbuild 2012,
San Francisco, CA,
www.greenbuildexpo.org
UPCOMING ACI CONVENTIONS
The following is a list of scheduled ACI conventions:
2012—October 21-25, Sheraton Centre, Toronto, ON, Canada
2013—April 14-18, Hilton & Minneapolis Convention Center, Minneapolis, MN
2013—October 20-24, Hyatt Regency & Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix, AZ
2014—March 23-27, Grand Sierra Resort, Reno, NV
For additional information, contact:
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e-mail: conventions@concrete.org
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 499
Title no. 109-M47
ACI MATERIALS JOURNAL TECHNICAL PAPER
ACI Materials Journal, V. 109, No. 5, September-October 2012.
MS No. M-2010-154.R1 received May 25, 2011, and reviewed under Institute
publication policies. Copyright © 2012, American Concrete Institute. All rights reserved,
including the making of copies unless permission is obtained from the copyright
proprietors. Pertinent discussion including author’s closure, if any, will be published in
the July-August 2013 ACI Materials Journal if the discussion is received by April 1, 2013.
Creep Testing of Epoxy-Bonded Reinforcing Bar Couplers
by Griffn Brungraber
test exists for reinforcing bar couplers; however, a creep
test for adhesive concrete anchors is applicable due to their
phenomenological similarity to epoxy-bonded reinforcing
bar couplers.
Materials
System C is a two-component structural adhesive. It is a
solvent-free, nonshrink, nonsag anchoring compound. The
mixing ratio of the system is 1:1, resin:hardener. The resin
and hardener are dispensed from a dual-cartridge system
and simultaneously mixed in a static mixing nozzle. The
system meets ASTM C881/C881M-02; Types I, II, IV, and
V; Grade 3; Classes A, B, and C.
1
The frst component of System C is composed primarily of
a bisphenol A-epichlorohydrin diepoxy resin and neopentyl
glycol diglycidyl ether mixture; together these compounds
act as the epoxy resin. The second component is composed
primarily of n-aminoethyl piperazine and a nonylphenol
mixture; together these compounds act as an amine adduct.
System F is a two-component, 100% solids, structural
epoxy. When mixed, the resin and hardener combine into
a smooth, nonabrasive paste adhesive. The mixing ratio of
the system is 1:1, resin:hardener. The resin and hardener
are dispensed from a dual-cartridge system and simultane-
ously mixed in a static mixing nozzle. The system meets
ASTM C881/C881M; Types I, II, IV, and V; Grade 3;
Classes A, B, and C, except gel times.
1
The gel time for the
system varies from 10 to 30 minutes at temperatures from 4 to
32°C (39.2 to 89.6°F), respectively.
The frst component of System F is composed primarily of
bisphenol A-epichlorohydrin diepoxy resin; the component
also contains small portions of methyl toluenesulfonate. The
second component is composed primarily of piperazinyl-
ethylamine and nonylphenol; the component also contains a
proprietary mixture of fllers.
Specimens
Number 5 (No. 16 metric) epoxy-bonded reinforcing bar
couplers were assembled with two different epoxy systems.
Two specimens were assembled with each epoxy system for
a total of four test specimens. Specimen assembly, curing,
and testing were performed at a temperature of 23°C (73°F)
and a relative humidity of 50%. The test setup is shown sche-
matically in Fig. 1 and in a photograph in Fig. 2.
Experimental rationale
Creep of adhesive concrete anchors is typically evalu-
ated using ASTM E1512-01(2007)
2
; therefore, the creep test
A 40-day creep test was performed on epoxy-bonded reinforcing
bar coupler specimens to assess their resistance to sustained
tensile load. The reinforcing bar couplers were assembled using
two different epoxy products. One was the product specifed by
the reinforcing bar coupler manufacturer; the other was a similar
product that had already shown susceptibility to long-term failure
in its intended application. The difference in the creep perfor-
mance of the epoxy-bonded reinforcing bar couplers assembled
with different epoxy products was signifcant—the manufacturer-
specifed epoxy product produced acceptable creep performance
and the other epoxy product was shown to creep extensively.
Keywords: adhesive; anchorage; coupler; creep; epoxy; reinforcing bar; splice.
INTRODUCTION
Reinforcing bar couplers are used to transfer load between
reinforcing bars in concrete structures in situations for which
a typical lap splice would be inconvenient, ineffcient, or
inappropriate. Epoxy-bonded reinforcing bar couplers are
one type of reinforcing bar coupler that are commercially
available and unique in that they transfer load via an epoxy-
flled sleeve. Although not all adhesives are epoxies, only
epoxy has been used in adhesively bonded reinforcing bar
couplers; therefore, the term “epoxy-bonded reinforcing bar
coupler” is used to describe a class of construction products,
although the mechanisms it refers to would be applicable to
any adhesively bonded reinforcing bar coupler.
Adhesives, although commonly used in other branches
of engineering, are relatively new to civil engineering
(compared to materials such as steel and concrete). Conse-
quently, their long-term degradation mechanisms are not as
well-understood by the civil engineers responsible for their
design as part of a reinforced concrete structure.
Epoxies, like many adhesives, are typically vulnerable
to moisture and elevated temperature—two environmental
conditions that are commonly found inside reinforced
concrete structures, such as bridge decks.
RESEARCH SIGNIFICANCE
Epoxy-bonded reinforcing bar couplers are commercially
available and have been installed in numerous reinforced
concrete structures. Due to their reliance on an adhesive to
transfer load—unique among reinforcing bar couplers—
they may be susceptible to the same type of creep fail-
ures that have been seen in epoxy anchorage to concrete.
This research demonstrates the difference in performance
between two commercially available epoxy systems. The
results show that the creep performance of epoxy-bonded
reinforcing bar couplers varies widely, depending on the
epoxy system used.
EXPERIMENTAL INVESTIGATION
Reinforcing bar coupler specimens were assembled using
two different types of epoxy. The only variable in their
assembly was the epoxy system used. No standardized creep
500 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
creep of reinforcing bar couplers, the results of this test were
compared to the results of a test on cementitiously grouted
reinforcing bar couplers by Jansson.
3
ANALYTICAL PROCEDURE
The results of the test were used to evaluate the perfor-
mance of epoxy-bonded reinforcing bar couplers. The
analytical procedure for extrapolation of the creep data was
taken from ASTM E1512. Data were recorded for 42 days
and the results for each system were averaged between the
specimens. Figure 3 shows the displacement time test data
for both epoxy systems on a logarithmic time scale and fts
the data to
( ) ln y c x b = ⋅ + (1)
where y is displacement; c is a curve-ftting constant; x is
time; and b is a curve-ftting constant.
The curves developed from the data are extrapolated to a
time of 600 days, as per ASTM E1512. Figure 4 shows the
displacement time test data and associated curve fts extrap-
olated to 600 days on a linear time scale.
ACI member Griffn Brungraber is an Assistant Bridge Engineer at T.Y. Lin Interna-
tional. He received his BS from Bucknell University, Lewisburg, PA, and his MS and
PhD from the University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, CA. He is a member of
ACI Committee 355, Anchorage to Concrete. His research interests include the long-
term performance of adhesives for concrete construction, infrastructure durability,
and the seismic performance of bridges.
setup for the epoxy-bonded reinforcing bar couplers adapted
ASTM E1512 wherever possible. The testing procedure for
ASTM E1512 is to apply constant load to the test specimens
and measure displacement. The load was initially applied
over the course of 1 minute and then maintained for 42 days.
The 42-day length of the test, the extrapolation of data to
a time of 600 days, and the stress level of the test—40%
of reinforcing bar ultimate strength—were all adapted from
ASTM E1512. Although no specifc standard exists for the
Fig. 1—Schematic fgure of reinforcing bar coupler test setup.
Fig. 2—Photograph of reinforcing bar coupler test setup.
Fig. 3—Displacement time creep test data and ftted curves.
Fig. 4—Displacement time creep test data and ftted curves
extrapolated to 600 days.
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 501
EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Extrapolated predictions of creep results
The extrapolated creep displacements at 600 days are
0.26 and 3.2 mm (0.010 and 0.124 in.) for Systems C and
F, respectively. ASTM E1512 recommends comparing creep
displacement to ultimate displacement during a tensile test;
however, ICC-ES Acceptance Criteria 58 (AC58)
4
is more
explicit in its creep displacement limits. AC58
4
specifes
displacement at 600 days to be below the lesser of displace-
ment at ultimate load or 3.05 mm (0.12 in.). Taking 3 mm
(0.12 in.) as the limit, it can be seen that System C meets the
requirements of AC58
4
but that System F slightly exceeds
them. The disparity between the extrapolated creep results of
the two systems is signifcant and these results provide another
example of the large disparities in the long-term performance
of different ASTM C881/C881M systems. The difference
in the performance of the two epoxy systems can be seen in
Fig. 5, which compares the specimens after the conclusion
of creep testing. An arrow indicates the location of visible,
permanent creep displacement on the System F specimen.
Creep comparison to other types of reinforcing
bar couplers
Epoxy-bonded reinforcing bar couplers are similar to
cementitiously grouted reinforcing bar couplers; the only
difference is the type of material used to grout the reinforcing
bars into a steel sleeve. In one published creep test, cementi-
tiously grouted reinforcing bar couplers were found to have
creep displacements extrapolated to 600 days of approxi-
mately 0.75 mm (0.030 in.).
3
This value is less than the
maximum displacement recommended by AC58 of 3 mm
(0.12 in.) and also matches the performance of System C
evaluated in this research.
FURTHER RESEARCH
Because epoxy degrades more quickly in moister and/or
higher-temperature environments, additional research to inves-
tigate the creep performance of epoxy-bonded reinforcing bar
couplers at a range of temperatures and moist environments
should be undertaken. To understand the potential impact
of heat and moisture on the creep performance of epoxy-
bonded reinforcing bar couplers, the environmental condi-
tions that can be expected during service inside a reinforced
concrete structure should be used.
CONCLUSIONS
Based on the results of this experimental investigation of
creep loading, the following conclusions are drawn:
1. Epoxy-bonded reinforcing bar couplers do creep
measurably due to the creep of the epoxy grout under
sustained load. This phenomenon is similar to the creep
behavior of epoxy when used for anchorage to concrete.
2. The extrapolated creep performance of epoxy-bonded
reinforcing bar couplers can vary widely, depending on
which epoxy system is used to assemble them.
3. Epoxy-bonded reinforcing bar couplers, if assembled
with a well-suited epoxy system, have adequate creep
performance in dry, room-temperature conditions.
4. Epoxy-bonded reinforcing bar couplers, if assembled
with a well-suited epoxy system, have similar creep perfor-
mance to other types of nonadhesive, grouted reinforcing
bar couplers.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The author wishes to express his gratitude and sincere appreciation to
the California Department of Transportation for fnancing this research,
V. Karbhari for overseeing the research, and A. Pridmore and the staff of the
UCSD Powell and SRMD Laboratories for their assistance.
REFERENCES
1. ASTM C881/C881M-02, “Standard Specifcation for Epoxy-
Resin-Base Bonding Systems for Concrete,” ASTM International, West
Conshohocken, PA, 2002, 6 pp.
2. ASTM E1512-01(2007), “Standard Test Methods for Testing
Bond Performance of Bonded Anchors,” ASTM International, West
Conshohocken, PA, 2001, 5 pp.
3. Jansson, P. O., “Evaluation of Grout-Filled Mechanical Splices for
Precast Concrete Construction,” Report No. TI-2094, Michigan Depart-
ment of Transportation, Construction and Technology Division, Lansing,
MI, 2008, 68 pp.
4. ICC-ES Acceptance Criteria 58 (AC58), “Acceptance Criteria for
Adhesive Anchors in Concrete and Masonry Elements,” International
Congress of Building Offcials Evaluation Services (ICBO ES), 2001, 17 pp.
Fig. 5—Photograph of reinforcing bar coupler specimens
after conclusion of testing.
502 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 503
Title no. 109-M48
ACI MATERIALS JOURNAL TECHNICAL PAPER
ACI Materials Journal, V. 109, No. 5, September-October 2012.
MS No. M-2011-033.R3 received December 6, 2011, and reviewed under Institute
publication policies. Copyright © 2012, American Concrete Institute. All rights reserved,
including the making of copies unless permission is obtained from the copyright proprietors.
Pertinent discussion including author’s closure, if any, will be published in the July-August
2013 ACI Materials Journal if the discussion is received by April 1, 2013.
Effect of Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH Ratios and NaOH Molarities on
Compressive Strength of Fly-Ash-Based Geopolymer
by A. M. Mustafa Al Bakri, H. Kamarudin, M. Bnhussain, A. R. Rafza, and Y. Zarina
and moldable paste) and stored at mild temperatures (T <
100°C [212°F]) for a short period of time to produce a mate-
rial with good binding properties. At the end of this process,
an amorphous alkaline alumino-silicate gel is formed as
the main reaction product. In addition, Na-herschelite-type
zeolites and hydroxysodalite are formed as secondary reac-
tion products.
4-6
The most-used alkaline activators are a mixture of
sodium or potassium hydroxide (NaOH or KOH) with
sodium water glass (nSiO
2
Na
2
O) or potassium water glass
(nSiO
2
K
2
O).
1,7-9
One of the factors that infuences the
compressive strength of geopolymer is the Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH
ratio.
10,11
Rattanasak and Chindaprasirt
12
concluded that the
use of an Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH ratio of 1.0 produced a product
with a compressive strength as high as 70 MPa (10.15 ksi).
A study conducted by Hardjito et al.
10
showed that the use
of an Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH ratio of 2.5 gave the highest compres-
sive strength of 56.8 MPa (8.24 ksi), whereas a ratio of
0.4 resulted in a lower compressive strength of 17.3 MPa
(2.51 ksi).
The concentrations of NaOH solution that can be used
are in the range of 8 to 16 M.
8
Some researchers
7,12,13
have
studied the effects of different molarities of NaOH on the
geopolymer. Puertas et al.
13
stated that, at 28 days of reac-
tion, a mixture of equal parts FA and slag activated with 10 M
NaOH and cured at 25°C (77°F) develops a compressive
strength of approximately 50 MPa (7.25 ksi). Rattanasak and
Chindaprasirt
12
concluded that a geopolymer mortar strength
of up to 70 MPa (10.15 ksi) is obtained when the mixture is
formulated with 10 M NaOH and an Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH ratio of
1.0. Palomo et al.
7
reported that a 12 M activator concentra-
tion leads to better results than an 18 M concentration.
In this study, the effects of various Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH ratios
and NaOH molarities on FA geopolymer paste were studied.
Six different Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH ratios (0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5,
and 3.0) and six different NaOH molarities (6, 8, 10, 12,
14, and 16 M) were used in this study. The geopolymer
properties, such as compressive strength, water absorption,
porosity, and density, were used as indicators to prove that
the geopolymer has similar properties to PC.
RESEARCH SIGNIFICANCE
The Na
2
SiO
3
and NaOH solution requires different mass
proportions with different FAs to obtain high compressive
strength. Most of the studies on geopolymer concentrated
Carbon dioxide (CO
2
) emissions from the production of 1 ton
(2204.62 lb) of cement vary between 0.05 and 0.13 tons (110.23
and 286.60 lb). It is important to reduce CO
2
emissions by the
greater use of substitutes for portland cement (PC), such as fy ash
(FA), clay, and other geo-based materials. This paper studies the
processing of geopolymers using FA and alkaline activators. The
factors that infuence the early-age compressive strength, such as
the sodium hydroxide (NaOH) molarity and Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH ratios,
were studied. Sodium hydroxide and sodium silicate solutions were
used as alkaline activators. The geopolymer paste samples were
cured at 70°C (158°F) for 1 day and kept at room temperature until
testing (the seventh day). The compressive strength was measured
after 7 days. The results show that the geopolymer paste with a
combination of an Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH ratio of 2.5 and a 12 M NaOH
concentration produces the highest compressive strength. The
density obtained for geopolymer for PC is in the range of 1760 to
1855 kg/m
3
(0.064 to 0.067 lb/in.
3
). The porosity of the geopolymer
was in the range of 12.16 to 26.19%, and the water absorption
was in the range of 5.03 to 8.13%. The results of scanning electron
microscopy (SEM) indicated that the samples with a denser matrix
and less unreacted FA contributed to the maximum compressive
strength. In the X-ray diffraction (XRD) patterns, the intensity of
quartz content at 12 M was highly detected compared to the 6 and
10 M solutions.
Keywords: alkaline activation; compressive strength; geopolymer;
Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH ratio; NaOH molarity; scanning electron microscopy;
X-ray diffraction.
INTRODUCTION
The term “geopolymer” was frst applied by Davido-
vits
1
to alkali alumino-silicate binders formed by the
alkali-silicate activation of alumino-silicate materials.
Geopolymers (green polymeric concrete) are amorphous
to the semi-crystalline equivalent of certain zeolitic mate-
rials with excellent properties, such as high fre and erosion
resistances, as well as high strength. Recent works
2
have
shown that the addition of moderate amounts of minerals
to a geopolymer can yield signifcant improvements in the
geopolymer’s structure and properties.
The alkaline liquid could be used to react with the silicon
(Si) and aluminum (Al) in a source material of natural
minerals or in by-product materials, such as fy ash (FA) and
rice husk ash, to produce binders.
1
The alkaline activation of
materials can be defned as a chemical process that provides
a rapid change of specifc structures—partial or completely
amorphous—into compact cemented frameworks.
3
The
alkali activation of FA is a process that differs widely from
portland cement (PC) hydration and is very similar to the
chemistry involved in the synthesis of large groups of
zeolites.
4
Some researchers
5,6
have described the alkali
activation of FA (AAFA) as a physicochemical process in
which this powdery solid is mixed with a concentrated alkali
solution (in a suitable proportion to produce a workable
504 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
A. M. Mustafa Al Bakri is a Senior Lecturer and PhD Candidate at Universiti
Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP), Perlis, Malaysia. He received his BS in civil engineering
and his MS in material engineering from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM), Penang,
Malaysia. His research interests include green and construction materials.
H. Kamarudin is a Vice Chancellor at UniMAP. He received his BS, MS, and PhD in
chemistry from USM. His research interests include chemistry reaction and sustain-
able material.
M. Bnhussain is a Director of the Program of Advanced Material at the King Abdu-
laziz City for Science and Technology, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He received his BS in
civil engineering from King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and his PhD
in civil engineering materials from the University of Leeds, Leeds, UK. His research
interests include construction materials, including green polymeric concrete.
A. R. Rafza is a Researcher at UniMAP. She received her BS and MS in civil engi-
neering (structural engineering) from USM. Her research interests include seismic
modeling, structural analysis, and green polymeric concrete.
Y. Zarina is a Researcher at UniMAP. She received her BS and MS in civil engi-
neering (structural engineering) from USM. Her research interests include seismic
modeling, structural analysis, and green polymeric concrete.
Table 1—Chemical composition of FA
Chemical composition Percentage, %
SiO
2
52.11
Al
2
O
3
23.59
Fe
2
O
3
7.39
TiO
2
0.88
CaO 2.61
MgO 0.78
Na
2
O 0.42
K
2
O 0.80
P
2
O
5
1.31
SO
3
0.49
MnO 0.03
Table 2—Mixture design details for various ratio of
Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH
FA/alkaline
activator ratio
Na
2
SiO
3
/
NaOH ratio
FA,
lb (g)
Na
2
SiO
3
,
lb (g)
NaOH,
lb (g)
2.5
0.5
1.33
(605)
0.18 (80) 0.35 (160)
1.0 0.26 (120) 0.26 (120)
1.5 0.32 (145) 0.21 (95)
2.0 0.35 (160) 0.18 (80)
2.5 0.37 (170) 0.15 (70)
3.0 0.40 (180) 0.13 (60)
on only two different molarities of NaOH. This study deals
with more details on different NaOH molarities (6, 8, 10,
12, 14, and 16 M) of geopolymer pastes. The research data
presented in this paper are useful to understand the effect
of various Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH ratios and different molarities on
the geopolymer, which infuence the compressive strength
results. The compressive strength of specimens decreases
with increasing porosity and water absorption. The scanning
electron microscopy (SEM) and X-ray diffraction (XRD)
tests are also important to understand the microstructural
characteristics and phases involved in geopolymer.
EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE
Materials
In this research, low-calcium Class F dry FA
14
obtained
from the Sultan Abdul Aziz Power Station in Kapar,
Selangor, Malaysia, was used as a base material to make
the geopolymers. The chemical composition of FA is shown
in Table 1. The table shows that this FA consists of a high
composition of silicon and aluminum oxide of 75.7%.
The mixture of sodium silicate (Na
2
SiO
3
) and sodium
hydroxide (NaOH) was used as an alkaline activator in
this study. NaOH in pellet form with 97% purity
8,15,16
and
Na
2
SiO
3
consisting of Na
2
O = 9.4%, SiO
2
= 30.1%, and H
2
O
= 60.5% (with a weight ratio of SiO
2
/Na
2
O of 3.20 to 3.30 and
a specifc gravity of 20°C [68°F] = 1.4 g/cm
3
[0.05 lb/in.
3
])
were used in this study.
Mixing method
The ratio of FA to alkaline activator was 2.5 and was
kept fxed for all mixtures. The use of this ratio is due to the
work of Hardjito et al.,
10,17
which states that a ratio of FA
to alkaline activator of 2.5 produces the highest compres-
sive strength on the 28th day of testing. In this study, various
Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH ratios (0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, and 3.0) were
used to determine the highest compressive strength. It
should be noted that Na
2
SiO
3
is a quick-setting chemical
and binding material that requires a different combination
of proportions with NaOH molarities. The NaOH molarity
was kept constant at 10 M. The total mass of each dry and
solutions material used is shown in Table 2. The best ratio
of the Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH result (highest compressive strength)
was further used in this study.
To prepare the NaOH solution, NaOH pellets were
dissolved in 1 L (0.26 gal.) of distilled water in a volumetric
fask for six different NaOH concentrations (6, 8, 10, 12,
14, and 16 M) with different masses of NaOH, as shown in
Table 3. The best mixture design (the FA/alkaline activator
and Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH ratios were fxed as 2.5 as their highest
compressive strength result obtained previously) was used to
determine the best NaOH molarity solution. The total mass
of each of the dry and solutions materials used was kept
constant for the geopolymer paste for all samples (6, 8, 10,
12, 14, and 16 M) with different molarities.
An alkaline activator consisting of a combination of NaOH
and Na
2
SiO
3
was prepared just before mixing with FA to
ensure the reactivity of the solution. The addition of sodium
silicate is to enhance the geopolymerization process.
18
The
FA and alkaline activator were mixed together in the mixer
until a homogeneous paste was achieved. This mixing
process could be handled for up to 10 minutes for each
mixture with different NaOH molarities, as shown in Fig. 1.
Table 3—Details of preparing NaOH solutions
NaOH molarity, M
Masses of NaOH pellets dissolved in
1 L (0.26 gal.) of distilled water, lb (g)
6 0.53 (240)
8 0.71 (320)
10 0.88 (400)
12 1.06 (480)
14 1.23 (560)
16 1.41 (640)
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 505
Casting and curing
The geopolymer paste was placed in a 50 x 50 x 50 mm
(1.97 x 1.97 x 1.97 in.) cube mold and cured in an oven
for 1 day
1
at 70°C (158°F).
1,19
After the samples were cured
in an oven, the molds were removed from the furnace and
left to cool to room temperature before demolding.
1
The
samples were then left to room temperature until they were
loaded in compression at the seventh day.
1
Testing
The compressive strength test was performed on
geopolymer paste samples in accordance with BS 1881-
116:1983
20
using a mechanical testing machine to obtain
the ultimate strength of the geopolymer. The samples were
loaded with 50.00 kN (11.24 kips) and the speed rate of
loading was 5.00 mm/min (0.20 in./min). The loading pace
rate was 0.1 kN/s (22.48 lb/s. The reported compressive
strength values are an average of three samples for each ratio.
The sample densities were determined by the mass
and volumes of the cubes in accordance with BS 1881-
114:1983.
21
The results of densities are taken as an average
of three samples for each ratio.
The water absorption test was performed in accordance
with ASTM C140 to determine the porosity of the samples.
The sample masses were measured before and after immer-
sion in water. The difference in weight was calculated to
determine the water absorption of the samples, as shown in
Eq. (1).
Water Absorption 100
S D
D
M M
M

= • (1)
where M
S
is saturated mass, units; and M
D
is dry mass, units.
A scanning electron microscope was used to reveal the
microstructure of the geopolymer paste. The test was carried
out using secondary and backscattered electron detectors.
XRD patterns were performed using an X-ray diffractom-
eter. The XRD test was held for phase analysis of the orig-
inal FA and to investigate the crystallinity of the geopolymer
samples that gave high compressive strength. The samples
were prepared in powder form. For the prepared geopolymer
samples, the samples were frst cut into 0.5 mm (1.97 in.)
thick slices and then ground into powder form as required.
EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Compressive strength
The Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH ratio and NaOH molarity affects the
compressive strength of the geopolymer. The compressive
strengths for different Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH ratios are shown in
Fig. 2. The highest compressive strengths of 57.00 MPa
(8.27 ksi) were observed at an Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH ratio of 2.5,
which is 18% higher than an Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH ratio of 3.0 on
the seventh day of testing. Hardjito et al.
10
and Sathia et
al.
22
stated that compressive strength increases as FA content
and concentration of the activator solution increase. This
is due to the increase in the sodium oxide content, which
is mainly required for the geopolymerization reaction. The
compressive strength of the product for an Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH
ratio of 3.0 was low, however, which could be due to the
excess OH

concentration in the mixtures.
18
Furthermore, the
excess sodium content can form sodium carbonate by atmo-
spheric carbonation and this may disrupt the polymerization
process.
23
The lowest compressive strength was found at an
Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH ratio of 0.5 with 40.00 MPa (5.80 ksi).
The compressive strength results for various NaOH molar-
ities on the seventh day of testing are shown in Fig. 3. For the
seventh day of testing, the 12 M NaOH samples produced
the highest compressive strengths of 94.59 MPa (13.72 ksi).
This is due to the increase of Na ions in the system, which
was important for the geopolymerization because Na ions
were used to balance the charges and formed the alumino-
silicate networks as the binder in the mixture.
24
At a low
Fig. 1—Mixture of FA with alkaline activator.
Fig. 2—Compressive strength of various Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH
ratios.
Fig. 3—Compressive strength of various NaOH molarities.
506 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
which reduced the compressive strength of the sample. The
amount of liquid in the systems affects the saturation rate
of the ionic species and the strength of the geopolymer. The
geopolymer microstructures with different NaOH molarities
are shown in Fig. 5(a) through (f).
As the NaOH molarity increases from 6 to 16 M, the
microstructure of the resultant geopolymer contains a
smaller proportion of unreacted FA microspheres. As can be
seen from Fig. 5(a) and (b), a large proportion of FA still
did not completely dissolve. Figure 5(d) shows the least
unreacted FA for the alkaline activator that gave the highest
compressive strength of 94.59 MPa (13.72 ksi) on the seventh
testing day. This suggests that the dissolution of silica and
alumina in the geopolymerization process that formed the
alumino-silicate gel in the 12 M NaOH sample was higher,
contributing to the stability of the geopolymer during the
hardening process and giving a high compressive strength
of geopolymer.
29
The pores are indicated on the fgures by
arrows, and cracks are also found in the matrix (Fig. 5(a),
(b), (c), (e), and (f)), which would limit the binding capacity
and lead to a lower compressive strength.
XRD pattern
The results of the XRD of FA and geopolymer pastes with
6, 10, and 12 M NaOH concentrations are shown in Fig. 6.
The original FA and the 6, 10, and 12 M NaOH molarity
pastes had a similar diffraction pattern and did not signif-
cantly alter the degree of amorphous and crystallization of
FA. For 12 M NaOH molarity, the XRD pattern showed that
the intensity of quartz content was highly detected at 2q =
26.5 degrees compared to the 6 and 10 M solutions. This also
indicated that the new crystalline phases were detected in the
geopolymer paste and that the 12 M NaOH solution contains
the highest amount of crystalline and had a higher compres-
sive strength compared to FA. Alvarez-Ayuso et al.
30
stated
that the increase in the crystalline product increased the
compressive strength of the geopolymer. The formation of
crystallines in the samples—studied by quantitative XRD—
depended strongly on the NaOH concentration. The crystal-
lization rate increased with increasing NaOH content and the
proportion of the crystalline phase gradually increased with
a longer curing time.
31
The obtained results suggest that the composition of the
alumino-silicate gel formed by the reaction between FA and
NaOH molarity, the geopolymerization is low due to the
low concentration of base and, hence, less leaching of
silica and alumina from the source material.
25
The lowest
compressive strength was found for the 6 M NaOH solu-
tion with 40.00 MPa (5.8 ksi). After 12 M of NaOH solu-
tion, the compressive strength decreased. The high viscosity
hinders the leaching of the silica and alumina, resulting in
a lesser degree of geopolymerization
26
as compared to that
of the 12 M NaOH paste. Palomo et al.
27
also found that
a 12 M NaOH solution produced better results than the
corresponding 18 M activator.
The compressive strength of PC paste was in the range
of 17 to 20 MPa (2.47 to 2.90 ksi) at 28 days of testing;
however, geopolymer paste can achieve a better performance
of compressive strength of 94.59 MPa (13.72 ksi) at 7 days
of testing. This clearly shows that geopolymer paste can
achieve a higher compressive strength than PC paste.
Density, porosity, and water absorption
The densities of the geopolymer samples are in the range
of 1760 to 1855 kg/m
3
(0.064 to 0.067 lb/in.
3
) for 7 days
of testing. Higher alkali contents in the mixture yield better
reactivity with the FA, resulting in a denser microstruc-
ture.
28
The density of normal PC paste is 1750 to 2400 kg/m
3

(0.063 to 0.087 lb/in.
3
). Because the density obtained from
the geopolymer samples is in this range, the samples possess
the same properties as PC paste.
The porosity of the geopolymer was in the range of
12.16 to 26.19%, and the paste specimen produced water
absorption in the range of 5.03 to 8.13% for the seventh day
of testing. According to Thokchom et al.,
28
the compressive
strength of specimens decreases with increasing porosity
and water absorption.
SEM analysis for geopolymer paste
The microstructure of FA-based geopolymer for different
mixture designs was observed with SEM, as shown in
Fig. 4(a) and (b). It showed that the materials are hetero-
geneous, with partially reacted and unreacted FAs existing
on the dense, gel-like matrix geopolymer. The sample with
the FA/alkaline activator and an Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH ratio of 2.5
(Fig. 4(a)) showed a more dense matrix and less unreacted
FA, which contributed to a maximum compressive strength
of 8.27 ksi (57 MPa). Figure 4(b) shows the microcracks that
exist on the sample with an FA/alkaline activator ratio of 2.5,
Fig. 4—SEM pictures of geopolymer paste with various mixture designs: (a) FA/alka-
line activator of 2.5 and Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH of 2.5; and (b) FA/alkaline activator of 2.5 and
Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH of 3.0.
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 507
the alkaline activator is variable and depends on the reac-
tivity and the type and concentration of the activators.
32
CONCLUSIONS
Based on the experimental work reported in this paper, it
can be concluded that the Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH ratios and NaOH
molarities affect the compressive strength of FA-based
geopolymer. The Na
2
SiO
3
/NaOH ratio of 2.5 contributed to
the high compressive strength of 57.00 MPa (8.27 ksi). The
highest NaOH molarity does not necessarily give the highest
compressive strength. The FA-based geopolymer with 12 M
NaOH showed excellent results, including a high compres-
sive strength of up to 94.59 MPa (13.72 ksi) on the seventh
testing day. This was proven by the XRD results, which
show that the intensity of the quartz content at 12 M was
highly detected and contributed to the highest compressive
strength compared to the 6 and 10 M solutions. The density
obtained for the geopolymer (1760 to 1855 kg/m
3
[0.064 to
0.067 lb/in.
3
]) was in the range for PC of 1750 to 2400 kg/m
3

(0.063 to 0.087 lb/in.
3
). The samples with a denser matrix
and less unreacted FA contributed to the maximum compres-
Fig. 5—SEM image of geopolymer with: (a) 6 M; (b) 8 M; (c) 10 M; (d) 12 M;
(e) 14 M; and (f) 16 M of NaOH solution.
Fig. 6—XRD patterns of FA and geopolymer paste samples
with 6, 10, and 12 M NaOH concentrations.
508 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
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sive strength. A higher dissolution of silica and alumina in
the geopolymerization process that forms alumino-silicate
gel contributes to the higher compressive strength of the
geopolymer; however, different FAs from other countries
may need different ratios to achieve high compressive
strength. FA-based geopolymer has excellent properties
due to the very high compressive strength obtained in this
study. Further studies need to be conducted to fnd the best
mixture design to achieve the highest compressive strength
of FA-based geopolymer concrete.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
A grant from the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology
(KACST) for this research project is gratefully acknowledged.
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Molarity of Fly Ash-Based Green Polymeric Cement,” Journal of Engi-
neering and Technology Research, V. 3, No. 2, 2011, pp. 44-49.
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on the Synthesis of FA Geopolymer,” Minerals Engineering, V. 22, No. 12,
Oct. 2009, pp. 1073-1078.
13. Puertas, F.; Martinez-Ramirez, S.; Alonso, S.; and Vazquez, T.,
“Alkali-Activated FA/Slag Cement: Strength Behaviour and Hydration
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pp. 1625-1632.
14. Chindaprasirt, P.; Chareerat, T.; and Sirivivatnanon, V., “Work-
ability and Strength of Coarse High Calcium FA Geopolymer,” Cement and
Concrete Composites, V. 29, No. 3, Mar. 2007, pp. 224-229.
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 509
Title no. 109-M49
ACI MATERIALS JOURNAL TECHNICAL PAPER
ACI Materials Journal, V. 109, No. 5, September-October 2012.
MS No. M-2011-042.R3 received January 3, 2012, and reviewed under Institute
publication policies. Copyright © 2012, American Concrete Institute. All rights reserved,
including the making of copies unless permission is obtained from the copyright
proprietors. Pertinent discussion including author’s closure, if any, will be published in
the July-August 2013 ACI Materials Journal if the discussion is received by April 1, 2013.
Effect of Using Mortar Interface and Overlays on Masonry
Behavior by Using Taguchi Method
by Mariam Farouk Ghazy
to out-of-plane and in-plane vertical and lateral stresses was
investigated.
4
A signifcant strength increase was observed
for all strengthened specimens.
Experimental investigations that studied the rehabilita-
tion of masonry walls with reinforced mortar overlays were
carried out.
5,6
The general conclusion was that the applica-
tion of mortar overlays is a powerful rehabilitation technique
for masonry constructions.
The results of a series of axial compression tests on
concrete block wallets coated with cement mortar overlays
were presented. Different types of mortars and combina-
tions with steel welded meshes and fbers were tested.
6,7
The
main conclusion was that the application of mortar overlays
increases the wall strength, but not in a uniform manner; the
strengthening effciency of wallets loaded in axial compres-
sion is not proportional to the overlay mortar strength
because it can be affected by the failure mechanisms of the
wall. Steel mesh-reinforced overlays, in combination with
high-strength mortar, show better effciency because the
steel mesh mitigates the damage effects in the block wall
and in the overlays themselves.
7
A relationship between the masonry prism compressive
strength and bond strength was obtained.
8
The results clearly
indicate that an increase in bond strength, while keeping the
mortar strength constant, leads to an increase in the compres-
sive strength of masonry.
The various infuences on masonry behavior caused by
brick-mortar interface properties were investigated.
9
The
brick-mortar interface is characterized by a central bonded
area of variable size and shape surrounded by fssures
near the masonry surface. The interface is usually the
weakest spot during bending and shear. At the fssure tip
(10 to 15 mm [0.39 to 0.59 in.] deep from the surface), the
bricks split, showing that high strain levels develop around
the central brick-mortar contact area. In stack-bonded
masonry prisms, the fssures close before the bricks notice-
ably deform. Only after closing of the horizontal fssures,
which occurs at considerable loads, do the outer sides of
the bricks become stressed.
The behavior of lime-based renders on the masonry
walls made from solid clay bricks and parallel tests of the
characteristics of fresh and hardened lime-based mortars
was studied.
10
The tests were carried out on fve different
lime-based mortar mixtures. The results show that in cases
when higher ductility of the hardened lime-based renders
The effect and optimization of using different types of mortar for
both interface and overlays on masonry behavior was investi-
gated by using the Taguchi method. The experimental studies were
conducted under varying types of mortar. The mortar was rein-
forced with a polypropylene (PP) fber with a volume fraction (0,
1, and 2%) by volume of mortar. An orthogonal array (OA), the
signal-to-noise ratio (S/N), and the analysis of variance (ANOVA)
were employed to study the performance characteristics of the
masonry prisms and walls.
The conclusion revealed that the number of overlays and the
type of interface mortar were the most infuential factors on the
masonry prism’s compressive strength and flexural bond
strength, respectively. Moreover, the application of mortar over-
lays increases the wall compressive strength.
Keywords: compressive strength; fexural bond strength; masonry walls;
overlay; polypropylene fbers; signal-to-noise ratio; Taguchi method.
INTRODUCTION
Masonry—specifcally brick and mortar—requires much
more than knowledge of the brick or mortar individually to
fully understand its properties. Why would two materials
of very different strengths combine to form a composite
system that displays a yield strength intermediate to both
and not that of the lower-strength material? This materials
interaction is being reviewed at the University of Colorado,
Boulder.
1
Recent advances in masonry technology brought
new materials, building techniques, and rational methods
of structural analysis; however, the structural behavior of
masonry walls is still a complex matter. A concrete masonry
wall is made of at least two different materials that are
assembled under diverse conditions of execution and quality
control. If the masonry wall is coated on both sides with
cement mortar overlays, these overlays become part of the
composite element. In this case, the wall can be seen as a
sandwich panel where the overlays are the covering sheets
and the concrete masonry wall is the core.
2
The use of fber-reinforced polymers (FRPs) as external
wraps for the structural rehabilitation of buildings and
bridges has taken tremendous strides forward over the past
decade. In particular, extensive use of this structural rehabili-
tation system has been made in the area of masonry struc-
tures.
2,3
The glass fber-reinforced polymer (GFRP) wrap
system provided adequate tension reinforcement to develop
the compressive strength of the masonry, thus substantiating
its utility in this application.
Epoxy-bonding a thin layer of composite materials to the
exterior surfaces of unreinforced masonry (URM) walls
forces the individual brick or block elements to act as an
integrated system. The high tensile strength of composite
materials can be used to signifcantly increase the shear and
fexural capacity of URM walls. The application of GFRP
laminates in strengthening the concrete block walls subjected
510 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
has been made to investigate the effect of using mortar
interface and overlays on masonry behavior by using the
Taguchi
11
method. Furthermore, the analysis of variance
(ANOVA) was used to discuss the relative importance of all
control factors.
RESEARCH SIGNIFICANCE
The effect and optimization of using different types of
mortar for both interface and overlays on masonry behavior
was investigated in this study by using the Taguchi
11
method as
a new technique in experimental design. Taguchi’s
11
method
of experimental design was used in this study to provide a
simple, effcient, and systematic approach for the optimi-
zation of experimental designs. The experimental studies
were conducted under varying types of mortars to study the
masonry behavior. Three basic control factors were taken
into consideration: the type of mortar interface (A), the type
of mortar overlays (B), and the number of overlays (C).
EXPERIMENTAL WORK
Materials and means
The constituent materials used in this study were locally
available materials specifed by the following:
1. Brick units: Perforated shale brick units (10 vertical
holes) were obtained from various manufacturers to select
the brick with the best performance (with a higher compres-
sive strength and low absorption). The absorption proper-
ties of the brick may affect the mortar structure and, conse-
quently, the mechanical behavior.
9
The mechanical prop-
erties of the brick units are given in Table 1, according to
ES 4763/2005
13
and ECP 204-2005.
14
A hydraulic testing
machine with a total capacity of 348.2 kips (1550 kN) was
used to test brick units. No. 3 brick was used to complete
the experimental program, and the area of the holes was less
than 25% of the total surface area of the brick units. Thus,
the loading area was taken as equal to the gross area.
2. Cement: Grade 4700 psi (32.5 N) ordinary portland
cement was used in this investigation. Cements conform to
ES 4756-1/2007.
15
3. Fine aggregates: Medium well-graded sand with a
fneness modulus of 2.2 and 2.5 was used for mortar and
concrete, respectively.
4. Coarse aggregates: Natural well-graded gravel with
a maximum nominal size of 0.787 in. (20 mm) was used
for casting the concrete beam. It included a combination
of round and angular particles. The surface of the particles
was more or less smooth. The fne and coarse aggregates
conformed to ES 1109/2002.
16
5. Chemical admixtures: A high-range water-reducing
admixture (HRWRA) was used in fber-reinforced mortar
mixtures to keep a plastic consistency of mortar that satisfes
the requirements of ASTM C494/C494M-99a
17
Type F and
BS 5075-3:1985
18
for HRWRA. Its dosage ranged between
0.6 and 2.5% of cement weight, as given by the manufacturer.
6. Fibers: The polypropylene (PP) fbers used in this inves-
tigation are commercially available. The length of the fbers
was approximately 0.75 in. (19 mm) and the equivalent
diameter was 0.0016 in. (0.04 mm).
Specimen preparation and testing
The mortar mixtures were weighed and mixed manually
in a container with a capacity of 250 L (66.04 gal.) for a
period of 10 minutes. The perforated shale brick units were
kept in water before they were built to lead to better bond
Mariam Farouk Ghazy is an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Engineering
in the Department of Structural Engineering at Tanta University, Tanta, Egypt. Her
research interests include concrete technology, fber-reinforced concrete, inspection
and quality control of reinforced concrete, and composites.
is demanded, the incorporation of fne, fexible, and evenly
distributed fbers in the lime-based mortar could be a solution.
To investigate the effects of various process parameters
on the fnal results and then to suggest the near-optimum
(the best) process settings, statistically designed experi-
ments were used in this study. The Taguchi
11
method, a
powerful experimental design tool, uses a simple, effective,
and systematic approach for setting suitable process param-
eters to effectively control the amount of fnal results and to
easily determine what parameters have the most signifcant
effects on the fnal results. Further, this approach requires
minimum experimental cost and effciently reduces the
effect of the source of variation. Taguchi
11
has developed
a system of tabulated designs (arrays) that allow for the
maximum number of main effects to be estimated in an unbi-
ased (orthogonal) manner, with a minimum number of runs
in the experiment.
In this study, three parameters were taken with three
different levels of each. Thus, a total of 27 (3
3
) different
combinations were considered according to full factorial
design. According to Taguchi,
11
however, the samples
could be organized into only nine groups. If they were
considered separately, they would still yield results with
the same confidence.
Taguchi’s
11
method of experimental design provides a
simple, efficient, and systematic approach for the optimi-
zation of experimental designs for performance quality and
cost.
12
The traditional experimental design methods are too
complex and diffcult to use. Additionally, large numbers of
experiments have to be carried out. Traditional experimen-
tation involves one-factor-at-a-time experiments, wherein
one variable is changed while the rest are held constant. The
major disadvantage of this strategy is that it fails to consider
any possible interactions between the parameters. It is also
impossible to study all the factors and determine their main
effects—that is, the individual effects in a single experiment.
The Taguchi
11
technique overcomes all of these drawbacks.
Compared to the conventional approach to experiments, this
method drastically reduces the number of experiments that
are required to model the response functions.
In this study, a new application of Taguchi’s
11
method was
employed to design the experimental work and determine the
effect of using different types of mortar for both interface
and overlays on masonry behavior. The Taguchi
11
method
of offine quality control has been successfully used in the
design and selection of near-optimum process parameters in
many areas of manufacturing processes; however, no effort
Table 1—Brick unit properties
Manufacturer
No.
Dimensions,
in. (mm)
Absorption,
%
Compressive strength
of brick, psi (MPa)
1
9.1 x 4.25 x 2.44
(230 x 108 x 62)
9.53
1435.5
(9.9)
2
9 x 4.25 x 2.56
(229 x 108 x 65)
11.69
1261.5
(8.7)
3
9.65 x 4.57 x 2.6
(245 x 116 x 66)
9.41
1450
(10)
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 511
between brick and mortar. The mortar proportions were in
accordance with ECP 204-2005.
14
The ratio by volume was
1:3 for cement:sand, and the water-cement ratio (w/c) was
1.3 for plain mortar while adding HRWRA for PP fber-
reinforced mortar to improve the workability. Mortar cubes
with dimensions of 2.8 x 2.8 x 2.8 in. (70 x 70 x 70 mm) were
made during construction of the test specimens to record
the compressive strength of mortar after 28 days (refer to
Table 2). For the masonry prisms, three courses of brick
units were made to measure the compressive strength and
seven vertical courses of brick units were made to measure
the fexural bond strength after 28 days in accordance with
ASTM C1314-00a
19
and ASTM E518-00a,
20
respectively.
Figure 1 shows the specimen’s preparation and testing.
Eighteen specimens were made and cured in the laboratory
condition. After 2 days, masonry prisms were covered with
various layers of mortars—approximately 0.4 in. (10 mm)
of thickness for each layer. Masonry prism strengths were
calculated using the gross area under loading. Masonry
prisms were tested using a universal testing machine with a
total capacity of 67.4 kips (300 kN).
Nine wall specimens 30 in. (750 mm) long, 30 in.
(750 mm) high, and 4.64 in. (116 mm) wide—the width
of the brick unit—were constructed using the same perfo-
rated shale brick units and mortar to build brick prisms. Bed
and head joint mortar had overlays approximately 0.4 in.
(10 mm) thick, which were added to the walls after running
bond and mortar joint pointing 2 days after construction. The
walls were capped with 0.4 in. (10 mm) thick concrete beams
to distribute the applied load uniformly (refer to Fig. 2).
All of the walls were air-cured inside the laboratory (at a
temperature of approximately 77°F [25°C] and 70% rela-
tive humidity) for 28 days. A hydraulic load cell with a total
capacity of 112.4 kips (500 kN) was used to test the walls
after 28 days. During testing, applied loads and midheight
longitudinal strain (with a gauge length of 10 in. [250 mm])
were recorded at each load stage for each specimen. The
compressive strength of masonry walls was calculated by
using the gross area under loading.
Plan of experiments
In experimental investigations, the statistical design
of experiments is used quite extensively. The statistical
design of experiments refers to the process planning the
experiment so the appropriate data can be analyzed by the
statistical method, resulting in valid and objective conclu-
sions. The design of experimental methods such as facto-
rial design, response surface methodology (RSM), and
the Taguchi
11
method are now widely used in place of the
one-factor-at-a-time experimental approach, which is time-
consuming and exorbitant in cost.
Design of experiment based on Taguchi’s
11
technique—
The major steps required for the experimental design using
the Taguchi
11
method are 1) establishment of the objective
function; 2) identifcation of the factors and their levels; 3)
selection of an appropriate orthogonal array (OA); 4) experi-
mentation; 5) analysis of the data and determination of the
near-optimum level of each factor (optimum combination);
and 6) confrmation of experiment.
Taguchi
11
designed certain standard OAs by which the
simultaneous and independent evaluation of two or more
parameters for their ability to affect the variability of a
particular product or process characteristics can be done in
a minimum number of tests. While there are many standard
OAs available, each array is meant for a specifc number of
independent design variables and levels. In this study, the
behavior of three control factors each at three levels was
investigated. Therefore, an L
9
OA was selected for this inves-
tigation. The three independent variables (control factors)
and their three levels are presented in Table 3. Table 4 shows
the layout of the L
9
OA according to Taguchi.
11
A loss func-
Table 2—Characteristics of used mortars and concrete
Material Mixture proportion PP fber,
*
% w/c HRWRA

, % Compressive strength, psi (MPa)
Mortar 1
C:S = 1:3
(by volume)
0
1.3
0 2320 (16)
Mortar 2 1 1 2247.5 (15.5)
Mortar 3 2 1.5 2247.5 (15.5)
Concrete C:S:G = 1:1.7:3.4 (by weight) 0 0.5 1 4350 (30)
*
Percentage by volume of mortar.

Percentage by weight of cement.
Fig. 1—Masonry prism specimens’ preparation and testing.
Fig. 2—Masonry wall’s preparation and testing.
512 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
[ ]

η = η + η + η
= η − η
1 1 2 3
1
,
3
Effect of max min
A
A A
A
(3)
A control factor with the largest effect means that it has
the most signifcant infuence on the strengthening quality.
ANOVA
21,22
is used to discuss the relative importance of all
control factors on the cutting quality and to determine which
control factors have the highest effect. Parameters used in
ANOVA are calculated by the following equations
(4)
2
9 3
2
1 1
9
2
1
1 1
, ,
9 3
, ,
, , 100%
m i A A m
i
i i
T i m e T control factor
i
A A
A A A A A
e T
S S S
S S S S S
V S
V S f F
V S
= =

=
 
= η = η − ∑ ∑
 
 
= η − = − ∑ ∑
= = σ = ×
where S
m
is the average of squares of sums; S
A
is the sum of
squares related to control factor A; S
T
is the sum of squares
of the errors correlated to all control factors; V
A
is the
variance related to factor A; f
A
is the degree of freedom for
factor A; F
A
is the F-ratio related to control factor A; and
s
A
is the percentage contribution related to control factor A.
The values of s
B
and s
C
can be calculated similarly. The
computer values for s
A
, s
B
, and s
C
show the relative
importance of the three control factors in determining the
strengthening qualities.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
A statistical software is used to develop the experimental
plan for the Taguchi
11
method. The same software is also
used to analyze the measured data. Moreover, ANOVA was
used to discuss the relative importance of all control factors
and their contribution.
Masonry prism
Table 5 gives the experimental test results of the compres-
sive strength and fexural bond strength for the masonry
prism and corresponding S/N using Eq. (1). The mean S/N
of compressive strength for each level are shown in Table 6.
The effect of each control factor is computed from the value
of D (h
max
– h
min
). Based on the data presented in Table 6, the
optimal compressive strength was obtained at (A
2
B
2
C
3
) 1%
PP fber-reinforced interface mortar (Level 2), 1% PP fber-
reinforced overlay mortar (Level 2), and cover with overlays
of mortar in both faces (Level 3). Moreover, factor C (the
number of overlay mortar) recorded a maximum value of
D (2.69) and thus had the most signifcant infuence on the
compressive strength (Rank 1).
The mean S/N of the fexural bond strength for each of
the three levels is shown in Table 7. The best level for each
control factor is the one with the highest S/N. Based on the
data presented in Table 7, factor A (type of mortar interface)
had the largest effect (recorded maximum value of D 4.69)
and thus had the most signifcant infuence on the fexural
bond strength (Rank 1). The optimal fexural bond strength
tion is then defned to calculate the deviations between the
experimental value and the desired value. This loss func-
tion is further transferred into a signal-to-noise ratio (S/N).
Usually, there are three S/N available, depending on the type
of characteristic; the lower-the-better (LB), the higher-the-
better (HB), and the nominal-the-better (NB). In this inves-
tigation, the objective was to maximize the strength and
ductility; therefore, “larger-is-better” quality characteristics
were selected. The logarithmic function can be calculated
as follows
11
2
1
1 1
10log
n
i
i
S
N
n y =
 
η = = − ∑
 
 
(1)
where the quality score y
i
with the larger-the-better style has
been assumed. The overall mean value of h over the nine
experiments becomes
9
1
1
9
i
i =
η = η ∑
(2)
The effect of a control factor level is defned as the devia-
tion of its related S/N h from the mean value h. For example,
when the effect of Level A
1
is concerned, one can note that
the control factor A is at Level 1 in Experiments 1 to 3.
Hence, the average h
A1
and effect of A are given, respec-
tively, as
Table 3—Levels of variables used in experiment
Levels
(coded)
Variables (control factors)
A
Type of mortar
interface
B
Type of overlay
mortar
C
Number of overlay
mortar
1 (Control) 0% (Ordinary) 0% (Ordinary) 0 (Without overlay)
2 PP 1% PP 1% 1
3 PP 2% PP 2% 2
Table 4—L
9
OA
Experiment No.
Variables (control factors)
A B C
1 (Control) 1 1 1
2 1 2 2
3 1 3 3
4 2 1 2
5 2 2 3
6 2 3 1
7 3 1 3
8 3 2 1
9 3 3 2
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 513
was obtained at 1% PP fber-reinforced interface mortar
(Level 2), 1% PP fber-reinforced overlay mortar (Level 2), and
cover with two layers of mortar (Level 3) in the front and
back face. The experiment adopting the best level combi-
nation was A
2
B
2
C
3
for Experiment 5, which is listed in
Table 4.
The results of the ANOVA for the masonry prisms’
compressive strength and fexural bond strength are given in
Tables 8 and 9, respectively. The last column of these tables
indicates the percentage of each factor’s contribution on the
total variation, thus exhibiting the degree of infuence on the
result. Table 8 reveals that factor C (the number of overlay
mortar), which reached 57.61%, made the major contribu-
tion to the overall performance of masonry compressive
strength. The contribution percentage for factor B (type of
overlay mortar) is the smallest—6.39%—probably because,
in each case, the compressive strength of these mortars is
approximately the same. Moreover, Table 9 shows that
factor A (type of mortar interface), which reached 64.1%,
made the major contribution to the overall performance of
masonry fexural bond strength. The contribution percentage
for factor B (type of overlay mortar) is the smallest—2.7%.
Masonry walls
Table 10 presents the experimental test results of the
ultimate loads and the maximum longitudinal strain and
calculated compressive strength for the tested masonry
walls and corresponding S/N using Eq. (1). From the
results, a significant strength increase was observed
for all tested walls compared to control wall Experiment 1.
The response table mean S/N for ultimate loads and
the compressive strength are given in Tables 11 and 12,
respectively. It indicates that the S/N at each level of the
control factor were changed from Level 1 to Level 3. The
higher the difference, the more infuential the control factor.
The control factors and their interactions were sorted in rela-
tion to the D values. It can be seen in Tables 11 and 12 that
the strongest infuence was exerted by factor C (Rank 1),
factor A (Rank 2), and factor B (Rank 3), respectively. It
Table 5—Test results of masonry prism
Experiment
No.
Type of interface
mortar (A)
Type of overlay
(B)
Number
of overlay (C)
Compressive
strength, psi (MPa)
S/N for
compressive strength
Flexural bond
strength, psi (MPa)
S/N for fexural
bond strength
1 1 1 1 377 (2.6) 8.3 55.1 (0.38) –8.4
2 1 2 2 493 (3.4) 10.63 79.75 (0.55) –5.19
3 1 3 3 548.1 (3.78) 11.55 94.25 (0.65) –3.74
4 2 1 2 594.5 (4.1) 12.26 139.2 (0.96) –0.35
5 2 2 3 703.25 (4.85) 13.71 152.25 (1.05) 0.42
6 2 3 1 449.5 (3.1) 9.83 98.6 (0.68) –3.35
7 3 1 3 565.5 (3.9) 11.82 104.4 (0.72) –2.85
8 3 2 1 507.5 (3.5) 10.88 85.55 (0.59) –4.58
9 3 3 2 609 (4.2) 12.47 91.35 (0.63) –4.01
Table 6—Response table mean S/N for compressive
strength, masonry prism
Level A B C
1 10.16 10.79 9.67
2 11.93 11.74 11.78
3 11.72 11.28 12.36
h
max
11.93 11.74 12.36
h
min
10.16 10.79 9.67
D (h
max
– h
min
) 1.77 0.95 2.69
Rank 2 3 1
Note: Bold italic numbers denote best levels.
Table 7—Response table mean S/N for fexural
bond strength, masonry prism
Level A B C
1 –5.78 –3.87 –5.45
2 –1.09 –3.12 –3.19
3 –3.82 –3.7 –2.06
D 4.69 0.75 3.39
Rank 1 3 2
Table 8—Results of ANOVA for compressive
strength, masonry prism
Control
factors
Degree of
freedom
(f)
Sum of
square
(SS)
Mean of
square (MS
= SS/f)
F ratio
(F = MS/
MS
e
)
Contribution
(s = SS/
SS
T
), %
A 2 0.963 0.482 3.34 27.7
B 2 0.222 0.111 0.77 6.39
C 2 2.003 1.002 6.94 57.61
Error (e) 2 0.288 0.144 — 8.3
Total 8 3.477 — — 100
Notes: MS
e
is error mean square; SS
T
is total sum of square.
Table 9—Results of ANOVA for fexural bond
strength, masonry prism
Control
factors
Degree of
freedom
(f)
Sum of
square
(SS)
Mean of
square
(MS)
F
ratio
Contribution
s, %
A 2 0.214 0.107 20.43 64.1
B 2 0.009 0.005 0.85 2.7
C 2 0.101 0.051 9.68 30.24
Error 2 0.01 0.005 — 2.96
Total 8 0.334 — — 100
514 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
similar trends to those of the compressive strength results of
masonry prisms.
Among the different control factors, the one provided by
the number of overlay mortar showed the best effciency of
strengths (factor C). A possible explanation is that the over-
lays could mitigate and confne the effects of damages in the
bricks and the composite could attain a higher load capacity.
Thus, a sudden loss of rigidity in walls without overlays was
avoided. Figure 3 shows the recorded load/longitudinal strain
curves for different walls. These curves show the higher
longitudinal strain values for all tested walls compared with
the control wall (Experiment 1). The increase up to 10 times
for Experiment 5 (2% PP fber-reinforced mortar interface
and with overlays in two faces) means a higher ductility.
was evident that factor C (number of overlay mortar) had
the greatest effect on the infuence of the ultimate load and
compressive strength of the wall testing condition.
The ANOVA terms for ultimate loads and the compressive
strength of the masonry wall are shown in Tables 13 and 14,
respectively. It can be observed in these tables that factor
C (type of overlay mortar) had a signifcant infuence on
the wall’s behavior. The contribution percentage is 67%
for compressive strength. Factor B (type of overlay mortar)
shows the smallest values at 5.72%. These results exhibited
Table 10—Test results of walls
Experiment
No.
Type of
interface
mortar (A)
Type of
overlay (B)
Number of
overlay (C)
P
u
, kips
(kN)
S/N
for P
u
Compressive
strength, psi (MPa)
S/N for
compressive
strength
Maximum
longitudinal
strain, in. (mm)
S/N for maximum
longitudinal strain
1 1 1 1 40.5 (180) 45.11 304.5 (2.1) 6.44 0.0146 (0.37) –8.73
2 1 2 2 58.5 (260) 48.3 398.75 (2.75) 8.79 0.085 (2.16) 6.68
3 1 3 3 76.5 (340) 50.63 478.5 (3.3) 10.45 0.091 (2.31) 7.27
4 2 1 2 69.75 (310) 49.83 475.6 (3.28) 10.32 0.078 (1.99) 5.98
5 2 2 3 96.75 (430) 52.67 609 (4.2) 12.47 0.128 (3.25) 10.37
6 2 3 1 49.5 (220) 46.85 366.85 (2.53) 8.1 0.027 (0.69) –3.23
7 3 1 3 78.75 (350) 50.88 497.35 (3.43) 10.71 0.078 (1.99) 5.98
8 3 2 1 56.25 (250) 47.96 416.15 (2.87) 9.16 0.038 (0.96) –0.355
9 3 3 2 72 (320) 50.1 491.55 (3.39) 10.6 0.11 (2.79) 8.88
Table 11—Response table mean (S/N) for ultimate
loads, masonry walls
Level A B C
1 48.01 48.60 46.64
2 49.78 49.64 49.41
3 49.65 49.19 51.39
D 1.77 1.04 4.76
Rank 2 3 1
Table 12—Response table mean (S/N) for
compressive strength, masonry walls
Level A B C
1 8.56 9.156 7.89
2 10.28 10.14 9.9
3 10.16 9.71 11.21
D 1.72 0.98 3.32
Rank 2 3 1
Table 13—Results of ANOVA for ultimate loads of
masonry walls
Control
factors
Degree of
freedom
(f)
Sum of
square
(SS)
Mean of
square
(MS) F ratio
Contribution
s, %
A 2 5955.6 2977.8 3.39 12.89
B 2 1688.9 844.4 0.96 3.65
C 2 36,822.2 18,411.1 20.97 79.7
Error 2 1755.6 877.8 — 3.8
Total 8 46,222.2 — — 100
Table 14—Results of ANOVA for compressive
strength of masonry walls
Control
factors
Degree of
freedom (f)
Sum of
square
(SS)
Mean of
square
(MS)
F
ratio
Contribution
s, %
A 2 0.64 0.32 3.59 21.3
B 2 0.17 0.09 0.96 5.72
C 2 2.0 1.0 11.29 67
Error 2 0.18 0.09 — 5.9
Total 8 2.99 — — 100
Fig. 3—Load versus longitudinal strain of masonry walls.
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 515
Vertical and horizontal cracks appeared on the masonry
walls without overlays at the midheight of the wall and then
progressed diagonally to the bottom corners. The initial
crack loads were approximately 62% of the ultimate loads,
whereas, in the walls with overlays, debonding of the over-
lays from the brick was observed, as shown in Fig. 4, and
the initial crack loads were approximately 66 to 85% of the
ultimate loads. The differences of compressive strength between
the masonry prisms and the walls were less than 25%.
The response table mean S/N and the results of ANOVA
for maximum longitudinal strain are given in Tables 15 and
16, respectively. The optimal longitudinal strain of the
control factors recorded at (A
3
B
2
C
3
) 2% PP fber-reinforced
interface mortar (Level 3), 1% PP fber-reinforced overlay
mortar (Level 2), and cover with overlays of mortar in both
faces (Level 3), is given in Table 15. Table 16 reveals that
factor C (number of overlay mortar), which reached 81%,
made the major contribution to the overall performance; this
is due to the impact of the use of PP fber in the mortar of the
overlays. The contribution percentage for factor A (type of
mortar interface) is the smallest at 3.15%.
CONFIRMATION TESTS
The confrmation experiment is the fnal step in any
design of the experimental process. Once the optimum
(most desirable) level of the design parameters was selected,
the next step was to predict and verify the improvement of
the quality characteristics using the optimal level of the
design parameters. It is a good idea to plan on running an
additional few samples at the optimum condition. These
confrmation tests serve two purposes: frst, they establish
the new performance at the new (optimum) condition, which
can establish the improvement achieved. Second, they allow
the experimenter to determine how close the estimate is to
the results observed. The result expected is considered to be
confrmed when the mean of a number of samples tested at
the optimum condition falls close to it.
The predicted (calculated) (S/N) (h
^
) using the optimum
combination of the design parameters can be calculated as

^
1
( )
n
m i m
i=
η = η + η −η ∑
(5)
where h
m
is the total mean (S/N); h
i
is the mean of the S/N
at optimal level; and n is the number of the main factors that
affects the quality characteristics. The results of the confr-
mation experiment are shown in Table 17. In this table, y
mean

shows the arithmetic average value of y
1,
y
2
, and y
3
, while
h
ver
is the verifcation test results (S/N calculated by Eq. (1)).
Table 17 shows the comparison of the predicted values
with the actual values using the optimum combinations;
much lower differences were observed and the differences in
all cases fall within the reasonable limit.
23
The most desirable
combination (the optimum combination) for the masonry
prism compressive strength is determined to be at A
2
B
2
C
3
.
When the process is set at this condition, it is expected to
improve performance by 19.64% = (2.214/11.272) × 100,
(h
m
= 11.272, h
^
= 13.486 = 11.272 + 2.214).
As shown in this table, the experimental values agree
reasonably well with the predicted values. An error of 1.27%
for the S/N of compressive strength is observed when the
predicted result is compared with the experimental value of
the masonry prism. Hence, the experimental result confrms
the optimization of the process parameters using the
Taguchi
11
method for enhancing the process performance.
The resulting model seems to be capable of predicting the
responses of the process with reasonable accuracy.
CONCLUSIONS
According to the experimental study in this paper, the
concluding remarks are as follows:
1. The application of the Taguchi
11
method for the design
of experiments is simple and effcient. Additionally, an
adequate number of experiments were carried out.
2. The experimental results confrm the optimization
of the process parameters using the Taguchi
11
method for
Fig. 4—Testing of masonry walls.
Table 15—Response table mean S/N for maximum
longitudinal strain, masonry walls
Level A B C
1 1.74 1.08 –4.11
2 4.37 5.57 7.18
3 4.83 4.31 7.87
D 3.09 4.5 11.98
Rank 3 2 1
Table 16—Results of ANOVA for maximum
longitudinal strain, masonry walls
Control
factors
Degree of
freedom (f)
Sum of
square
(SS)
Mean of
square
(MS)
F
ratio
Contribution
s, %
A 2 0.23 0.11 0.51 3.15
B 2 0.72 0.36 1.64 9.82
C 2 6.12 3.1 13.92 80.99
Error 2 0.44 0.22 — 6.05
Total 8 7.52 — — 100
516 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
enhancing the process performance. The resulting model
seems to be capable of predicting the responses of the
process with reasonable accuracy.
3. The number of overlays and the type of interface mortar
were the most infuential factors on the masonry prisms’
compressive strength and fexural bond strength, respectively.
4. The application of mortar overlays increased the wall
strength. The strengthening effciency was not dependent
on the overlay mortar types but instead on the number of
mortar overlays.
5. PP fber-reinforced mortars for overlays did not show
remarkable effciency in increasing the strengths of prisms
and walls. The obvious effciency in increasing the longitu-
dinal strains of walls.
6. Based on the mean S/N results, the strongest infuence
on the compressive strength of prisms and walls was exerted
by control factor C (number of overlay mortar), control
factor A (type of mortar interface), and control factor B (type
of overlay mortar), respectively. The optimal compressive
strength recorded was at (A
2
B
2
C
3
) 1% PP fber-reinforced
interface mortar, 1% PP fber-reinforced overlay mortar, and
cover with overlays of mortar in both faces.
7. Based on results of ANOVA, the number of mortar
overlays showed the best effciency of wall strength and
ductility; the contribution percentage was 67% and 81% for
the compressive strength and maximum longitudinal strain
of walls, respectively.
8. In a masonry wall covered on both faces with different
cement mortar overlays, the overlays become part of the
composite element.
9. Mortar overlays can be used to strengthen masonry
walls subjected to compression loads.
REFERENCES
1. Evan, T., “Performance Evaluations of Reinforced Concrete Masonry
Infll Walls a Concentration on the Evaluation of Masonry Infll Properties,”
University of Colorado, Boulder, CO, 2008, 25 pp.
2. Haroun, M. A., “Energy-Dissipating Polymer Matrix Composite—
Infll Wall System for Seismic Retroftting,” Journal of Structural Engi-
neering, ASCE, V. 129, No. 4, 2003, pp. 440-448.
3. Liu, Y.; Dawe, J.; and McInerney, J., “Behaviour of GFRP Sheets
Bonded to Masonry Walls,” Proceedings of the International Symposium
on Bond Behaviour of FRP in Structures (BBFS), Hong Kong, China, 2005,
pp. 473-480.
4. Yousef, A. S., and Tarek, H. A., “Load Capacity of Concrete Masonry
Block Walls Strengthened with Epoxy-Bonded GFRP Sheets,” Journal of
Composite Materials, V. 39, No. 19, 2005, pp. 1719-1745.
5. Jabarov, M.; Kozharinov, S. V.; and Lunyov, A. A., “Strengthening
of Damaged Masonry by Reinforced Mortar Layers,” Proceedings of the
Seventh World Conference on Earthquake Engineering (7th WCEE), V. 6,
Istanbul, Turkey, 1980, pp. 73-80.
6. Oliveira, F. L., “Rehabilitation of Masonry Walls by Application of
Ferrocement Overlays,” PhD thesis, University of São Paulo, São Carlos,
São Paulo, Brazil, 2001. (in Portuguese)
7. Oliveira, F. L., and Hanai, J. B., “Axial Compression Behavior of
Concrete Masonry Wallettes Strengthened with Cement Mortar Overlays,”
IBRACON Structures and Materials Journal, V. 1, No. 2, 2008, pp. 158-170.
8. Mat, J., “Brick-Mortar Bond and Masonry Compressive Strength,”
Journal of Materials in Civil Engineering, ASCE, V. 17, No. 2, Mar.-Apr.,
2005, pp. 229-237.
9. Vermeltfoort, A. T.; Martens, D. R. W.; and VanZijl, G. P. A., “Brick-
Mortar Interface Effects on Masonry under Compression,” Canadian
Journal of Civil Engineering, V. 34, No. 11, Nov. 2007, pp. 1475-1485.
10. Violeta, B. B., “The Use of Lime Mortars for Sustainable Restora-
tion of Ancient Buildings,” 9th Canadian Symposium, University of New
Brunswick, Fredericton, NB, Canada, 2001, 12 pp.
11. Taguchi, G., “Introduction to Quality Engineering,” Asian Produc-
tivity Organization (APO), Tokyo, Japan, 1990, 191 pp.
12. Shaji, S., and Radhakrishnan, V., “Analysis of Process Parameters
in Surface Grinding with Graphite as Lubricant Based on the Taguchi
Method,” Journal of Materials Processing Technology, V. 141, 2003,
pp. 51-59.
13. ES 4763/2005, “Building Brick Solid Masonry Units Made from
Clay or Shale,” Egyptian Organization for Standardization and Quality
Control (EOS), Cairo, Egypt, 2005, 11 pp.
14. ECP 204-2005, “Design and Implementation Masonry Works,”
Ministry of Housing and Urbanization, Housing and Building Research
Center, Cairo, Egypt, 2007, pp. 21-40.
15. ES 4756-1/2007, “Cement: Part I, Composition, Specifcations and
Criteria for Common Cements,” Egyptian Organization for Standardization
and Quality Control (EOS), Cairo, Egypt, 2007, 48 pp.
16. ES 1109/2002, “Concrete Aggregates from Natural Sources,” Egyp-
tian Organization for Standardization and Quality Control (EOS), Cairo,
Egypt, 2002, 23 pp.
17. ASTM C494/C494M-99a, “Standard Specifcation for Chemical
Admixtures for Concrete,” ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA,
1999, 9 pp.
18. BS 5075-3:1985, “Concrete Admixtures: Specifcation for Superplas-
ticizing Admixtures,” British Standards Institution, 1985, pp. 59-74.
19. ASTM C1314-00a, “Standard Test Method for Compressive Strength
of Masonry Prisms,” ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2000,
8 pp.
20. ASTM E518-00a, “Standard Test Methods for Flexural Bond Strength
of Masonry,” ASTM International, West Conshohocken, PA, 2000, 5 pp.
21. Sahin, Y., “Optimization of Testing Parameters on the Wear Behav-
iour of Metal Matrix Composites Based on the Taguchi Method,” Materials
Science and Engineering, 2005, pp. 1-8.
22. Kishore, R. A.; Tiwari, R.; Dvivedi, A.; and Singh, L., “Taguchi
Analysis of the Residual Tensile Strength after Drilling in Glass Fiber
Reinforced Epoxy Composites,” Materials and Design, V. 30, 2009,
pp. 2186-2190.
23. Roy, R. K., Design of Experiments Using the Taguchi Approach, John
Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 2001, 560 pp.
Table 17—Confrmation test results
Response
Optimum
combination
Verifcation test results
Calculated
value h
^
Difference
|h
ver
– h
^
cal
|
Error,
%
Improvement
ratio, %
y
1
y
2
y
3
y
mean
h
ver
Masonry prism,
compressive strength
A
2
B
2
C
3
4.85 4.72 4.9 4.823 13.66 13.486 0.174 1.27 19.64
Masonry walls, ultimate load
(compressive strength)
A
2
B
2
C
3
(A
2
B
2
C
3
)
432
(4.31)
430
(4.12)
433
(4.15)
431.66
(4.19)
52.7
(12.44)
52.516
(12.288)
0.184
(0.152)
0.35
(1.22)
6.9
(27)
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 517
Title no. 109-M50
ACI MATERIALS JOURNAL TECHNICAL PAPER
ACI Materials Journal, V. 109, No. 5, September-October 2012.
MS No. M-2011-063.R3 received January 26, 2012, and reviewed under Institute
publication policies. Copyright © 2012, American Concrete Institute. All rights reserved,
including the making of copies unless permission is obtained from the copyright
proprietors. Pertinent discussion including author’s closure, if any, will be published in
the July-August 2013 ACI Materials Journal if the discussion is received by April 1, 2013.
Experimental Study on Dynamic Axial Tensile Mechanical
Properties of Concrete and Its Components
by Shengxing Wu, Yao Wang, Dejian Shen, and Jikai Zhou
that is, those that are always fractured by tension and show
no obvious plastic deformation before fracture. Currently,
dynamic axial compression experiments on concrete, rock,
and mortar are relatively common, but experimental results
for dynamic axial tension testing are scarce, especially for
mortar and the mortar-rock ITZ due to the diffculty of axial
tensile testing. Moreover, the existing studies on concrete
and its three phases at the same loading conditions are very
limited. In addition to being few in number, most of these
studies have focused on the effects of aggregate-cement
paste bond strength on the mechanical behavior of concrete
and only in static compressive or fexural loads.
13-15
Using
aggregate strength, mortar strength, cement paste, and
bond strength, Husem
13
also obtained basic expressions
for estimating the compressive strengths of lightweight and
ordinary concretes. The results again confrmed that the
components play critical roles and display regular relations
determining the mechanical properties of concrete. Thus, it
is very important to perform further experimental research
on the dynamic axial tensile properties of concrete and its
components to enable numerical analysis and further study
of their relations.
Currently, there have been few numerical studies at the
mesoscale investigating concrete dynamic mechanical prop-
erties
16,17
and, more importantly, parameters such as the
dynamic strengths and moduli of the three phases in the
same concrete are lacking; hence, the parameters required
for the mesoscale modeling of concrete are unavailable. In
this study, the authors performed systematic experiments on
concrete component materials and concrete made from the
same components.
Different strain rates, different initial static loads,
and cyclic loads with different frequencies are common
phenomena in earthquakes; these are important factors
infuencing the dynamic properties of quasi-brittle mate-
rials. Particularly, the initial static load is usually put on a
concrete structure to some degree before an earthquake
happens; thus, the effects of initial static loading cannot be
avoided. There have been few reports considering the initial
static load, and these reports have only considered compres-
sion loading.
18-20
Furthermore, there has been no research on
mortar and the mortar-rock interface.
A series of dynamic axial tensile tests were performed on concrete
and its three components using a servo-hydraulic testing machine.
The dynamic mechanical properties of approximately 200 speci-
mens were tested under a dynamic load at strain rates that ranged
from 10
–6
to 10
–2
s
–1
, different initial static loads, and cyclic vari-
able-amplitude loads with different frequencies. The results indi-
cated the following: 1) tensile strength is sensitive to strain rate in
all these materials and the rate sensitivity of strength for concrete
was close to the composite material with the lowest sensitivity
factor k; 2) the elastic modulus is less sensitive to strain rate than
strength in all the materials. The rate sensitivity of the modulus
for concrete was close to its component material with the lowest
sensitivity factor m. The interfacial transition zone (ITZ) had the
highest m among the composites; 3) the stress-strain relation for
mortar is almost completely linear before peak stress. In contrast,
the stress-strain relations of the concrete, granite, and interface
appear nonlinear when the stress is set at more than approxi-
mately 50% of the peak value, and the nonlinear section showed
a linear trend with increasing strain rate; 4) an initial static load
within certain limits increased the dynamic tensile strength. The
critical initial static loads for the mortar, granite, interface, and
concrete were 70%, 50%, 50%, and 30%, respectively; and 5) the
cyclic loading history had the least infuence on the mortar and the
most infuence on the interface. The infuence of fatigue damage
decreased when the loading frequency increased.
Keywords: component materials; cyclic load; dynamic axial tension;
failure mechanism; initial static load; strain rate.
INTRODUCTION
At the mesoscale, concrete can be regarded as a three-
phase composite consisting of a coarse aggregate, a mortar
matrix, and an interfacial transition zone (ITZ) between
the aggregate and the mortar matrix. The macromechanical
behavior of concrete greatly depends on the properties of
its component materials, and research on concrete proper-
ties based on mesomechanics has been quite substantial. In
addition, the properties of concrete structures under dynamic
loading, such as encountering an earthquake or blasting, have
received continuous attention. Understanding the dynamic
mechanical properties of the component materials lays the
foundation for the analysis of the mechanical behavior of
concrete at the mesoscopic level. Thus, further research on
all the components of concrete is required.
There has been a great deal of research on concrete
1-6
and
rock
7-10
and a small amount of research on mortar.
11,12
The
conclusions that the dynamic strengths of concrete and rock
increase with increasing strain rate have been acknowledged
by all researchers, but many systematic tests under the same
loading conditions are needed to determine the relations
between them and whether they share the same rate sensi-
tivities to enable a complete rate effect analysis of concrete.
The three phases of concrete have similar properties as bulk
concrete. They are all classifed as quasi-brittle materials—
518 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
ratio of water, cement, and sand of 1:2:4. The compres-
sive strength of the cubical mortar samples (with a side
length of 70.7 mm [2.78 in.]) was approximately 22.8 MPa
(3.32 ksi). The average density of the natural granite was
27.2 kN/m
3
(0.1 lb/in.
3
), and the average compressive
strength was 64.7 MPa (9.38 ksi). ITZ specimens were made
from granite and mortar with the aforementioned propor-
tions. The coarse aggregate in the concrete samples was
made from the same rock as the granite matrix by crushing
it. The maximum diameter of the coarse aggregate was
approximately 20 mm (0.79 in.). The mass ratio of water,
cement, sand, and aggregate in the concrete was 1:2:4:6—
equal to the ratios in the mortar. The compressive strength of
the concrete was approximately 33.5 MPa (4.86 ksi).
Treatment of specimens and testing device
To measure longitudinal tensile strain, two pairs of longi-
tudinal strain gauges 100 mm (3.94 in.) long were attached
uniformly and symmetrically on each of the concrete,
mortar, and granite sample surfaces with epoxy. As for the
ITZ specimens, it was diffcult to measure the actual defor-
mation of the ITZ because the mortar-aggregate ITZ is less
than 100 mm (3.94 × 10
–3
in.) thick.
21
Strain gauges 5 mm
(0.197 in.) long were chosen to measure the tensile strain
of the ITZ by attaching them at visible interfaces of the
specimens. The strain results from this approximate measure
method for the ITZ could basically meet the requirements
of numerical analysis for concrete at the mesoscale because
the element size of the ITZ cannot be chosen to be arbitrarily
small, considering the computational limitations.
For transferring tensile loads, 40 mm (1.57 in.) thick
circular steel plates were attached to the ends of the samples
with an epoxy structural adhesive that has a tensile strength
of 20 MPa (2.9 ksi). Then, the specimens were connected to
a hydraulic clamp installed on the loading device through a
spherical hinge apparatus with a screw in the center of the
steel transfer plates. The tensile tests were performed on a
servo-hydraulic testing system. The strains were measured
with a dynamic strain instrument. Figure 2 shows the servo-
hydraulic testing system and the test specimen.
Testing scheme
In this study, 10 loading conditions were applied to four
kinds of specimens, using a total of approximately 200 spec-
imens. The strain rate, initial static load, and loading history
were considered to be the factors infuencing the dynamic
tensile properties of the materials. The testing scheme is
shown in Table 1. The details are as follows.
Loading at different strain rates—Monotonic loading tests
were applied at strain rates of 10
–6
, 10
–5
, 10
–4
, 10
–3
, and 10
–2
s
–1
,
within the range of earthquake loading speeds. A strain rate
Shengxing Wu is a Professor and PhD Supervisor in the School of Civil Engineering
at HoHai University, Nanjing, China, where he received his PhD. His research
interests include durability of concrete structures and dynamic mechanical properties
of concrete.
Yao Wang is an Associate Professor at Jinling Institute of Technology, Nanjing,
China, and a Doctoral Student in the School of Civil Engineering at HoHai
University. Her research interests include dynamic mechanical properties of concrete
and test technology.
Dejian Shen is a Lecturer in the School of Civil Engineering at HoHai University. He
received his PhD from Tongji University, Shanghai, China. His research interests include
durability of concrete structures and dynamic mechanical properties of concrete.
Jikai Zhou is an Associate Professor in the School of Civil Engineering at HoHai
University. He received his PhD from HoHai University. His research interests include
dynamic mechanical properties of concrete and properties of concrete at microscale.
RESEARCH SIGNIFICANCE
The determination of the dynamic axial tensile proper-
ties of concrete and its component materials at the same
loading conditions is necessary for the numerical simulation
and design of concrete at the mesoscale and for the analysis
of dynamic failure mechanisms in concrete. The results
currently reported in the literature are scarce, however, and
there has been a lack of systematic research on this topic.
In this study, dynamic axial tensile tests of concrete and
its corresponding components were conducted together,
considering the factors of strain rate, initial static load, and
cyclic load.
EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE
Specimen fabrication
All specimens were cylindrical cores 68 mm (2.68 in.)
in diameter and 160 mm (6.30 in.) tall. Rock samples were
vertically cored out from a stripy granite matrix. Concrete
and mortar were drilled from their casting blocks perpen-
dicular to the casting direction. The core samples were all
trimmed at each end to at least 20 mm (0.79 in.) beyond
the laitance layer. No standard test method exists for directly
measuring the mechanical properties of mortar-aggregate
ITZs. Presently, researchers use indirect test methods,
using “a specimen containing an ITZ” to test its macrome-
chanical behavior. This method was also used in this study.
For the sake of convenience, the terms “ITZ specimen” or
“ITZ material” are used in this paper to describe the ITZ’s
behavior. The ITZ specimens were manufactured in cylin-
drical molds; the manufacturing process is shown in Fig. 1.
First, granite coring was cut with a smooth surface on one
end and a naturally fractured surface at the other end. Then,
it was placed at one end of the mold and, fnally, covered
with mortar.
The mortar was made of ordinary portland cement and
medium sand. All the mortar specimens had the same mass
Fig. 1—Manufacturing process of ITZ specimen.
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 519
of 10
–6
s
–1
is considered to be a static strain rate. The loading
conditions and loading control modes of Conditions 1 to 5 are
shown in Table 1, where the displacement speeds of the actu-
ator are given only for general indication.
Loading with different initial static loads—The initial
static load tests were at 30, 50, and 70% of the static tensile
strength, and then a high-speed tensile load was applied
until the specimen fractured. The loading conditions and
loading control modes of Conditions 6 to 8 are shown in
Table 1. Figure 3 shows the load waves with different initial
static loads.
Loading with cyclic variable-amplitude loads at different
frequencies—A triangular wave with variable amplitude was
used to simulate an earthquake wave. A load of 50% of the
static strength was monotonically applied to the specimen
frst at a static loading speed, and then a cyclic variable-
amplitude loading was applied at frequencies of 1 or 5 Hz
until sample failure. Each increase in amplitude was approx-
imately 5% of the static strength. The centerline of the
loading wave shows a small slope—the result of maintaining
the load in the range of tension. The loading conditions and
loading control modes of Conditions 9 and 10 are shown in
Table 1. Figure 4 shows the load wave with cyclic variable-
amplitude loading at frequencies of 1 and 5 Hz.
ANALYSIS OF EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS
The tests had a high success ratio; more than 80% of the
specimens made of concrete, mortar, and granite fractured
within one-third of the middle section of the total length. Only
a few of the specimens fractured near the ends (within 2 mm
[0.079 in.]); these test results were not considered. As for
the ITZ specimens, most of them fractured at their interface.
Only a few of them fractured at the section of mortar (more
than 2 mm [0.079 in.] from the visible interface) or near the
ends; these test results were also not considered. Figure 5(a)
through (d) shows some of the mortar, granite, concrete, and
ITZ specimens after the loading tests.
Comparing the concrete failure surfaces from the static and
dynamic tests, the authors found that many mortar-aggregate
ITZs in the concrete fractured when the strain rate was low,
but the fracture surface became fatter when the strain rate
was high and more coarse aggregate in the concrete broke,
leading to a higher strength. This result is in accordance with
those of most studies and has been accepted as one of the
main reasons why the tensile strength of concrete increases
with the strain rate.
Effect of strain rate on dynamic tensile strength
and deformation
Effect of strain rate on tensile strength—Approximately
20 specimens of each kind of material were tested under
Loading Conditions 1 to 5, which are listed in Table 1. The
test results refect the strain rate sensitivity of each mate-
rial. Table 2 lists the average measured strain rate, the corre-
sponding average tensile strength, and the dynamic increase
factor (DIF) of the strength, herein defned as the ratio of
dynamic strength to static strength. (The results for Condi-
Fig. 2—(a) Servo-hydraulic testing system; and (b) picture and sketch of test specimen.
Table 1—Loading conditions and loading control modes
Condition Loading condition Loading control mode
1 Quasi-static load (e
·
≈ 10
–6
s
–1
) Displacement speed of 0.02 mm/s
2 Dynamic Load 1 (e
·
≈ 10
–5
s
–1
) Displacement speed of 0.2 mm/s
3 Dynamic Load 2 (e
·
≈ 10
–4
s
–1
) Displacement speed of 2 mm/s
4 Dynamic Load 3 (e
·
≈ 10
–3
s
–1
) Displacement speed of 20 mm/s
5 Dynamic Load 4 (e
·
≈ 10
–2
s
–1
) Displacement speed of 200 mm/s (actually 70 mm/s)
6 30% initial static load + Dynamic Load 4
Force rate of approximately 500 to 800 N/s for initial static load
Displacement speed of 20 mm/s for dynamic load
7 50% initial static load + Dynamic Load 4
8 70% initial static load + Dynamic Load 4
9 50% initial static load + 1 Hz cyclic triangular wave
Force rate of approximately 500 to 800 N/s for initial static load;
force control at 1 and 5 Hz
10 50% initial static load + 5 Hz cyclic triangular wave
Note: 1 mm/s = 0.03937 in./s; 1 N/s = 0.2248 lbf/s.
520 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
ranking order of strengths was almost invariant, as shown
in Fig. 7(a); the order was granite > concrete > mortar >
interface. The strength of the interface was merely slightly
lower than that of the mortar, which contradicts the fnd-
ings of Wong et al.
22
It is thus necessary to further study
the factors infuencing interface strength, such as the test
method, material composition, and casting quality.
3. The mortar and interface shared similar sensitivities to
strain rate—approximately three times that of the rock and
concrete, as shown in Fig. 7(b). In other words, the tensile
strength of the mortar and interface are more sensitive to the
strain rate than granite and concrete.
4. According to the test results, the strength DIF was
considered to be linearly related to the natural logarithm of
the strain rate increment factor. The strength DIF of all the
materials can thus be expressed as Eq. (1). The test results of
the fastest loading group of the mortar and the concrete were
abnormal for some reasons and were excluded. The ftted
lines based on Eq. (1) are shown in Fig. 6(a) through (d).
3
1 log( ) ( 1 10 )
td d
ts s
f
k
f

e
= + e < ×
e

(1)
where f
td
is the dynamic tensile strength of the material; f
ts

is the static tensile strength of the material at the quasi-static
strain rate; f
td
/f
ts
is the strength DIF; e
·
d
is the dynamic strain
rate; e
·
s
is the quasi-static strain rate (in this study, the lowest
measured strain rate of 3 × 10
–6
s
–1
was defned as the static
strain rate); and k is the rate sensitivity factor, which directly
refects the degree of the strain rate sensitivity of the tensile
strength. By linear regression analysis, the k values of the
mortar, granite, interface, and concrete were determined to
be 0.3269, 0.1193, 0.3016, and 0.1044, respectively. The
sequence of k was the following: interface ≈ mortar > granite
≈ concrete. The rate sensitivity of concrete was close to that
of granite, which had the least sensitive factor k, in accor-
dance with the characteristics of composite materials. It can
be concluded that the rate sensitivity of strength for concrete
was lower than the composite material.
The rate sensitivities of mortar and interface are higher
than that of granite, and it seems that looser materials have
higher rate sensitivity. In other words, the rate sensitivity of
a material decreases with its degree of compaction. Studies
at the microscale have shown that the strength of concrete
is related not only to the porosity ratio but also to the pore
structure.
23
This observation raises the questions of whether
the strain rate effect is also related to the pore structure of
tion 5 and some of Condition 4 are somewhat distorted due
to the limitation of the machine’s loading speed.)
The experimental results showed the following:
1. The tensile strengths of the quasi-brittle materials are
sensitive to the strain rate, showing a rising trend with the
increasing strain rate. Figure 6(a) through (d) shows the vari-
ation of strength with the strain rate for the mortar, granite,
interface, and concrete, respectively. The standard devia-
tions of the test results were less than 0.4 MPa (0.058 ksi),
except in the case of the results for natural granite, which
were relatively scattered.
2. Comparing the variation in tensile strength with the
strain rate in all the materials, the authors found that the
Fig. 3—Loading waves with different initial static loads.
(Note: 1 N = 0.225 lb.)
Fig. 4—Loading waves with cyclic loads at frequencies of
1 and 5 Hz. (Note: 1 N = 0.225 lb.)
Fig. 5—Pictures of some broken specimens.
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 521
Table 2—Average tensile strengths and strength DIFs of four materials at different strain rates
Condition
No.
Mortar Granite ITZ Concrete
Measured
average strain
rate, s
–1
Average
tensile
strength,
MPa DIF
Measured
average strain
rate, s
–1
Average
tensile
strength,
MPa DIF
Measured
average strain
rate, s
–1
Average
tensile
strength,
MPa DIF
Measured
average strain
rate, s
–1
Average
tensile
strength,
MPa DIF
1 3.9 × 10
–6
2.31 1 4.4 × 10
–6
8.87 1 5.2 × 10
–6
2.03 1 7 × 10
–6
3.43 1
2 4.7 × 10
–5
3.40 1.47 5.9 × 10
–5
9.40 1.06 2.6 × 10
–5
2.39 1.18 1.4 × 10
–4
3.83 1.12
3 3.9 × 10
–4
3.65 1.58 6.1 × 10
–4
10.60 1.21 1.6 × 10
–4
2.58 1.27 7.9 × 10
–4
4.16 1.21
4 2.6 × 10
–3
4.49 1.94 3.9 × 10
–3
11.60 1.31 9 × 10
–4
3.57 1.76 2.5 × 10
–3
4.33 1.26
5 4.3 × 10
–3
5.44 2.35 1.2 × 10
–2
12.50 1.41 6.4 × 10
–3
4.03 1.99 7.8 × 10
–3
5.07 1.49
Note: 1 MPa = 0.145 ksi.
Fig. 6—Variation in tensile strength with strain rate. (Note: 1 MPa = 0.145 ksi.)
Fig. 7—Tensile strength and strength DIF comparison of four materials. (Note:
1 MPa = 0.145 ksi.)
the material and whether the greater strain rate effect in
mortar and interface is related to the failure located at more
aggregates in concrete at higher strain rates. These ques-
tions require further study of the failure mechanism. Wu et
al.
24
preliminarily explored the dynamic fracture mechanism
based on microstructural characteristics. Currently, there
are several possible explanations for the rate sensitivity of
dynamic mechanical behavior. It is generally thought that
522 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
of the strain rate, but the increase in amplitude was much
lower than the tensile strength. This was because there was
not suffcient time to further develop microcracks when the
strain rate increased, which resulted in deformation hyster-
esis and the slight increment of the deformation modulus.
The results for granite were so scattered that there was no
obvious rule of the rate sensitivity.
According to the test results, the elastic modulus DIF was
linearly related to the natural logarithm of the strain rate,
similar to the strength, as described previously. Thus, the
elastic modulus DIF of all the materials can be expressed
as Eq. (2). The test results of the faster loading group of
the materials were abnormal for some reasons and were
excluded. The ftted lines based on Eq. (2) are shown in
Fig. 8(a) through (d).
3 0
0
1 log( ) ( 1 10 )
d d
s s
E
m
E

e
= + e < ×
e

(2)
the rate effect is related to the infuence of the strain rate
on crack development and can be explained from the view-
point of energy dissipation and microdamage. Studies on the
dynamic fracture mechanisms in these materials and their
causative factors will require more experiments with new
measurement techniques, such as acoustic emission
25
(AE)
and computed tomography (CT).
26
Effect of strain rate on elastic modulus—According to
the test results, the authors found that stress is almost linear
with strain up to 50% of the strength. Thus, the authors took
the secant modulus at 50% strength as the representative
value of the elastic modulus. Table 3 lists the average elastic
moduli of the four materials at different strain rates.
Figure 8(a) through (d) shows the variation of elastic
modulus versus the strain rate for the concrete and its compo-
nents, respectively. It was found that the elastic moduli of
mortar, concrete, and the interface also increased nearly
proportionally with the increment in the order of magnitude
Table 3—Average elastic modulus and modulus DIF of four materials at different strain rates
Condition
No.
Mortar Granite ITZ Concrete
Measured
average
strain rate,
s
–1
Average
elastic
modulus,
GPa DIF
Measured
average
strain rate,
s
–1
Average
elastic
modulus,
GPa DIF
Measured
average
strain rate,
s
–1
Average
elastic
modulus,
GPa DIF
Measured
average
strain rate,
s
–1
Average
elastic
modulus,
GPa DIF
1 3.9 × 10
–6
53 1 4.4 × 10
–6
82.4 1 5.2 × 10
–6
13.2 1 7 × 10
–6
27.5 1
2 4.7 × 10
–5
55.3 1.04 5.9 × 10
–5
75 0.91 2.6 × 10
–5
15.1 1.14 1.4 × 10
–4
28.8 1.05
3 3.9 × 10
–4
57 1.08 6.1 × 10
–4
81.3 0.99 1.6 × 10
–4
16.2 1.23 7.9 × 10
–4
30.6 1.11
4 2.6 × 10
–3
61 1.15 3.9 × 10
–3
75.7 0.92 9 × 10
–4
21.1 — 2.5 × 10
–3
— —
5 4.3 × 10
–3
— — 1.2 × 10
–2
— — 0.0063 — — 7.8 × 10
–3
— —
Notes: — is unmeasured items; 1 GPa = 145 ksi.
Fig. 8—Variation in elastic modulus with varying strain rate. (Note: 1 GPa = 145 ksi.)
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 523
where E
0d
is the dynamic elastic modulus of the material; E
0s

is the static elastic modulus of the material at the quasi-static
strain rate; E
0d
/E
0s
is the modulus DIF; e
·
d
and e
·
s
are the same
as in Eq. (1); and m is the modulus rate sensitivity factor,
which directly refects the degree of rate sensitivity of the
elastic modulus. By linear regression analysis, the m values
of the mortar, interface, and concrete were determined to
be 0.0474, 0.1849, and 0.0495, respectively, approximately
one-half of the rate sensitivity factors for strength. The rate
sensitivity of the modulus for concrete was close to that of
the composite material with the lowest m. The authors also
found that the elastic modulus of concrete was lower than
those of mortar and granite. It seems that the greater number
of pores and microcracks contained in the interfaces hinder
the transmission of rigidity.
Characteristics of stress-strain relations of materials—
It was observed that there were two types of stress-strain
relations for concrete and its components at different strain
rates. One type is almost completely linear before the peak
stress, such as that for mortar, as shown in Fig. 9(a), whereas
the other type consists of two regimes: linear up to approxi-
mately 50% strength and nonlinear above 50%. This two-
regime relation was observed for the granite, interface, and
concrete, as shown in Fig. 9(b) through (d), but the degree of
nonlinearity was relatively low for concrete.
After summarizing all the results, the authors found several
common characteristics of the dynamic tensile stress-strain
relations in these materials:
1. Peak stress increased with increasing strain rate,
whereas the strain at peak stress showed no obvious change
or no obvious change regulation, except for the mortar
(Fig. 9(a)), which had an increasing strain at peak stress
with the increasing strain rate. This is due to the linear stress-
strain relations for the mortar, the increasing peak stress, and
the increasing elastic modulus with increasing strain rate.
2. The increase in the elastic modulus with increasing
strain rate was not signifcant.
3. For the concrete, granite, and interface, which had
nonlinear stress-strain curves, there was one common feature
that the nonlinear section always showed: a linear rela-
tion with increasing strain rate; in other words, the tangent
modulus increased, as shown in Fig. 9(b) through (d). This
effect was because the infuence of the strain rate on inelastic
deformation was much greater than on elastic deformation,
and there was not enough time to develop inelastic defor-
mation, resulting in a decrease in the nonlinear deforma-
tion. The failure appears more brittle, as demonstrated by
the debris remaining on the fracture surfaces of specimens
subjected to a high strain rate.
4. The energy absorption capacity (the area under the
stress-strain curve before peak stress) of concrete and its
component materials tends to increase with increasing strain
rate. Table 4 lists the energy absorption capacities of the four
materials at different strain rates.
Effect of initial static load on dynamic
tensile properties
Effect of initial static load on tensile strength—Based on
the aforementioned results, it is known that the dynamic
tensile strength of these quasi-brittle materials is greater than
the static tensile strength. In practical applications, however,
an initial static load usually exists in the material before
the dynamic load. The authors thus wondered whether
this initial static load detrimentally infuences the dynamic
tensile strength. Approximately 12 specimens of each mate-
rial were prepared for the tests in Conditions 6 to 8 (Table 1).
Fig. 9—Measured stress-strain curves of four materials at different strain rates. (Note:
1 MPa = 0.145 ksi.)
524 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
hysteresis of deformation. In addition, the cracking routing
will change based on the principle of least energy consump-
tion, which may cause cracks to penetrate into a higher-
strength zone. On the other hand, microdamage and more
microcracks appear with the increase of the initial static load,
which will also result in an enhanced rate effect, whereas
when the initial static load is higher than the elastic limit,
nonlinear deformation develops with irreversible damage
and the connection of microcracks forms a weak routing. In
this case, it is the weakening effect of damage that plays an
important role. Therefore, further initial static loading leads
to decreased strength. The enhanced rate effect and weak-
ening effect of damage for the strength were almost offset at
an initial load of approximately 70%.
The critical initial static loads were almost equal to the
elastic limit for the component materials of concrete, but
these were lower than the elastic limit for concrete itself.
This is because the initial static load of approximately
30% may have made the congenital defects (microcrack
at interfaces) in concrete develop and connect together,
which results in fracture along a weaker route and leads to
decreasing strength.
Effects of cyclic loads with different frequencies
on dynamic tensile properties
Effects of cyclic loads with different frequencies on tensile
strength—Eight specimens of each material were prepared
for the tests of Conditions 9 (1 Hz) and 10 (5 Hz) in Table 1.
Table 5 lists the average tensile strengths under different
initial static loads for the four materials. Figure 10 shows the
variation of dynamic tensile strength with the variation of
initial static load for the four materials.
The test results showed that an initial static load within
certain limits increased the dynamic tensile strength for the
four materials, but a further increase of the initial static load
caused the strength to decrease, as shown in Fig. 11. Herein,
the threshold initial static load that results in a turning point
of dynamic strength is called the “critical initial static load.”
According to the test results, the critical initial static loads
for the mortar, granite, interface, and concrete were 70%,
50%, 50%, and 30%, respectively. As for the mortar, the
strength showed a rising trend with the increasing initial
static load until an initial static load of 70% static strength.
Tests under a larger initial static load have not been done;
hence, the 70% initial static load was deemed as the critical
initial static load for the mortar.
The authors also found that the dynamic tensile strength of
these materials with an initial static load of 70% was almost
no lower than their dynamic tensile strengths with no initial
static load, except that of the ITZ (its dynamic strength
was (1.76 – 1.67)/1.76 = 5.1% lower). It is suggested that
a conservative engineering design, in accordance with the
dynamic tensile strengths with no initial static load for these
materials, can overlook the effects of initial static loads of
less than 50% of the static strength.
Preliminary exploration of mechanism of initial static
load effect—When an initial static load is lower than the
elastic limit, the resulting deformation is reversible and
small and has no obvious disadvantage on the specimens.
In this circumstance, the weakening effect of damage is
relatively small; it is mainly the strengthening effect of the
strain rate that plays a dominant role. The authors found
that the rate effect with a certain initial static load is higher
than that with no initial static load, which leads to a higher
dynamic strength than the pure dynamic strength. This can
be explained as follows: On one hand, a sudden change in
the strain rate will lead to an inertial effect, resulting in the
Table 4—Average energy absorption capacity of
four materials at different strain rates (10
–6
MPa)
Strain rate, s
–1
Mortar Granite ITZ Concrete
10
–6
50.92 1221.0 191.40 353.93
10
–5
127.26 1080.63 377.47 376.44
10
–4
147.12 1103.24 553.74 442.85
10
–3
204.23 1314.54 — —
Note: 1 MPa = 0.145 ksi.
Table 5—Average dynamic tensile strengths of four materials under different initial static loads
Condition No.
Initial static load/static
strength, %
Mortar Granite ITZ Concrete
Average strength,
MPa DIF
Average strength,
MPa DIF
Average strength,
MPa DIF
Average strength,
MPa DIF
4 0 4.49 1.94 11.57 1.31 3.57 1.76 4.33 1.26
6 30 4.78 2.07 11.50 1.30 3.72 1.83 5.00 1.46
7 50 4.78 2.07 12.51 1.41 3.69 1.82 4.63 1.35
8 70 4.95 2.14 11.45 1.29 3.40 1.67 4.39 1.27
1 100 2.31 1 8.87 1 2.03 1 3.43 1
Note: 1 MPa = 0.145 ksi.
Fig. 10—Variation of strength with different initial static
loads. (Note: 1 MPa = 0.145 ksi.)
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 525
These two conditions included an initial static load of 50%.
Based on the measured strain rate, the strain rates before
failure of Conditions 9 and 10 for mortar were similar to and
between Conditions 2 and 3, respectively, and the strain rates
before failure of Conditions 9 and 10 for the other materials
were similar to and between Conditions 3 and 4, respec-
tively. Table 6 lists the average tensile strengths under cyclic
loads of different frequencies and the relative conditions for
the four materials.
The results show that the dynamic strengths in
Conditions 9 and 10 were similar to and slightly lower than
the strengths of the corresponding noncyclic conditions with
similar strain rates. It was previously demonstrated that an
initial static load of 50% is not harmful but benefcial to the
dynamic strength and it was thus concluded that it is the
damage from the cyclic loading that led to the decreases in
strength. Comparing the four materials, the authors found
that the mortar was almost unaffected by the harmful infu-
ence of cyclic loading, which is in accordance with the char-
acter of the linear stress-strain relation for this material. In
contrast, the interface was the most affected by the cyclic
loading, with the strength DIF for Condition 10 decreasing
signifcantly (to 0.26) compared with Condition 4, which is
related to the character of the obvious nonlinear stress-strain
relation of the interface. The strength DIF of the other condi-
tions decreased by less than 0.1.
Comparing Condition 10 with Condition 7 for the granite,
interface, and concrete, the strength in Condition 10 was
Table 6—Average dynamic tensile strengths of four materials under cyclic load with different frequencies
Condition No.
Mortar Granite ITZ Concrete
Average strength, MPa DIF Average strength, MPa DIF Average strength, MPa DIF Average strength, MPa DIF
2 3.4 1.47 — — — — — —
3 3.65 1.58 10.6 1.21 2.58 1.27 4.16 1.21
4 — — 11.6 1.31 3.57 1.76 4.33 1.27
7 4.78 2.07 12.51 1.41 3.69 1.84 4.63 1.35
9 3.39 1.47 9.89 1.11 2.45 1.21 3.56 1.04
10 3.60 1.54 11.04 1.24 3.04 1.50 4.07 1.19
Note: 1 MPa = 0.145 ksi.
Fig. 11—DIF of tensile strength under different initial
static loads.
much lower than for Condition 7 (the interface is still affected
the most) with the same initial static load and a strain
rate similar to the last cyclic test. This observation further
demonstrated that low cycle fatigue damage to these quasi-
brittle materials cannot be neglected.
In general, the dynamic strengths of the materials in cyclic
loading were all similar to the dynamic strengths at the same
strain rates, showing that dynamic strength is mainly related
to the highest strain rate before failure. In addition, the
dynamic strengths of the materials in cyclic loading were all
lower than the strengths in monotonic loading with the same
initial static load, which shows that low-frequency fatigue
damage is harmful to these quasi-brittle materials. Low-
frequency fatigue affected the mortar the least and affected
the interface the most.
Preliminary exploration of mechanism of cyclic loading
effect—Studying the stress and strain time history curves and
the stress-strain curves of specimens under cyclic loading,
the authors found the following:
1. There was almost no increased residual strain in the
mortar with increasing cyclic loading time, which is in
accordance with its linear stress-strain relation. There-
fore, the infuence of cyclic load for the mortar was not
obvious. Figure 12(a) and (b) shows the stress-strain curves
of the mortar under cyclic loading at 1 and 5 Hz; whereas
the residual strain for the other three materials gradually
increased with the number of cycles, this effect was more
obvious at the lower frequency (1 Hz). In addition, the slope
of the repeat load intends to decrease, especially in the inter-
face specimens. Figure 13(a) and (b), Fig. 14(a) and (b), and
Fig. 15(a) and (b) show the stress-strain curves of the granite,
interface, and concrete, respectively, with 1 and 5 Hz cyclic
loadings. Therefore, low-frequency fatigue damage caused a
decrease in strength for these three materials and it affected
the interface the most.
2. Comparing Conditions 9 and 10 for all the materials,
the authors found that residual strain was reduced when the
cyclic frequency was increased from 1 to 5 Hz, with the
stress-strain hysteresis curve tending to close. This effect
was likely because the loading and unloading speeds became
much faster; thus, nonlinear deformation was reduced with
increasing loading frequency, which is in accordance with
the linear trend of the stress-strain curve at increasing strain
rate. These results demonstrate that the harmful infuence
of higher-frequency cyclic loading was smaller than that of
lower-frequency loading.
526 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
Fig. 12—Stress-strain curves of mortar specimens under cyclic loading. (Note:
1 MPa = 0.145 ksi.)
Fig. 13—Stress-strain curves of granite specimens under cyclic loading. (Note:
1 MPa = 0.145 ksi.)
Fig. 14—Stress-strain curves of interface specimens under cyclic loading. (Note:
1 MPa = 0.145 ksi.)
Fig. 15—Stress-strain curves of concrete specimens under cyclic loading. (Note:
1 MPa = 0.145 ksi.)
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 527
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
The dynamic mechanical properties of concrete and
its components (mortar, granite, and the mortar-granite
interface) were investigated in this study. The infuences
of strain rate, initial static load, and cyclic loading on the
tensile mechanical properties of the four materials were
analyzed and compared. The main conclusions are summa-
rized as follows:
1. The rate sensitivity of the dynamic tensile strength of
mortar is close to that of the interface and is three times
that of granite. In addition, the strength rate sensitivity of
concrete is lower than that of the composites. A formula
was derived to express the relationship between the strength
DIF and the strain rate. The strength sensitivity factor k
was proposed to compare the rate sensitivity of strength for
different materials.
2. The rate sensitivities of the elastic moduli of concrete
and its components are less than their rate sensitivities for
dynamic strength. The rate sensitivity of modulus for the
interface was the highest. The modulus rate sensitivity of
concrete is close to the material that has the least sensi-
tivity to the strain rate among the components. A formula
was derived to express the relationship between the modulus
DIF and the strain rate. The modulus sensitivity factor m was
proposed to compare the rate sensitivity of the modulus for
different materials.
3. The stress-strain relation for mortar is almost completely
linear before peak stress. In contrast, the stress-strain rela-
tions of the concrete, granite, and interface appear nonlinear
when the stress is more than approximately 50% of the peak
value, and the nonlinear section showed a linear trend with
increasing strain rate. The degree of nonlinearity was rela-
tively low for concrete.
4. An initial static load within certain limits increased the
dynamic tensile strength because the enhanced rate effect
played a dominant role; however, a higher initial static load
reduces the dynamic strength due to the weakening effects
of damage. The critical initial static loads for the mortar,
granite, interface, and concrete were 70%, 50%, 50%, and
30%, respectively.
5. The dynamic strength of the materials is mainly related
to the highest strain rate before failure, but low-frequency
fatigue damage is harmful to these quasi-brittle materials.
The infuence of high-frequency cyclic loading is relatively
limited. Low-frequency fatigue damage has the least infu-
ence on the mortar and the most infuence on the interface.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors gratefully acknowledge the support of the National Natural
Science Foundation of China under No. 90510017 and 50979032. The
authors also wish to thank the following undergraduate thesis students for
their assistance during testing: Y. Wang, S. Su, W. Lu, A. Qing, Y. Chen,
G. Wang, and W. Huang.
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ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 529
Title no. 109-M51
ACI MATERIALS JOURNAL TECHNICAL PAPER
ACI Materials Journal, V. 109, No. 5, September-October 2012.
MS No. M-2011-117.R3 received January 11, 2012, and reviewed under Institute
publication policies. Copyright © 2012, American Concrete Institute. All rights reserved,
including the making of copies unless permission is obtained from the copyright
proprietors. Pertinent discussion including author’s closure, if any, will be published in
the July-August 2013 ACI Materials Journal if the discussion is received by April 1, 2013.
Potential Recycling of Bottom and Fly Ashes in Acoustic
Mortars and Concretes
by Carlos Leiva, Luis F. Vilches, Celia Arenas, Silvia Delgado, and Constantino Fernández-Pereira
In general, to achieve an adequate environment from a
noise-level point of view, noise-reducing systems providing
a high level of absorption and isolation are necessary.
Among these, acoustic screens or acoustic barriers are
commonly used. The barriers can be composed of two
different materials—namely, refective and absorbent.
An absorbent material, such as porous concrete (PC), is a
rigid acoustic-absorbing material containing large voids that
have been intentionally developed for acoustic absorption
or other purposes.
3,4
One of the main characteristics of the
acoustic absorption material commonly used outdoors is the
absence or limitation of fne aggregates in the matrix. The
porosity is achieved by gap-grading the coarse aggregates.
The aggregates are generally joined together by means of
a cement-rich mortar in a proportion of one part of cement
and one or two parts of coarse aggregate, yielding a concrete
showing a network of (internal) interconnected pores, also
connected to the exterior, and therefore exposing the high
porosity of the material.
2,4,5
This is an important issue in
the acoustic barriers, in which the noise-exposed surface is
composed of an acoustic absorption material layer, where
the incident acoustic wave penetrates within the pores,
making the air vibrate; this vibration produces friction with
the walls of the cavities and a loss of kinetic energy, which is
transformed into heat, achieving the sound absorption.
An acoustically refective material is rigid and acts as a
good refector of sound. Examples of these materials are
wood and concrete. Thus, when sound strikes the surface of
a refective barrier, some energy is transmitted through the
wall but the bulk is refected back.
6
Research on acoustic materials made of BAs and/or FAs
from coal power plants is justifed by the physicochemical
characteristics of these by-products and may have great
interest in the feld of using recycling materials in acoustic
barriers. In general, BA and FA from coal power plants
are constituted by mixtures of oxides of various elements
with a very small unburned matter content, which may be
catalogued as inert waste
7
and are usually destined to be
landflled. The acoustic and non-acoustic specifcations
demanded of acoustic barriers
8-10
could, in principle, be met
or even improved by the use of BA and/or FA.
To better understand the recycling potential of the ashes in
this feld and as an example, taking into account the height
and density of acoustic barriers (screens) currently used to
avoid traffc noise, one can calculate that the total annual
This study performed an evaluation of the physical, mechanical,
and sound absorption characteristics of mortars and concrete
containing co-combustion bottom (BA) and fy ashes (FA).
The objectives were to produce building elements capable of
reducing noise and to use co-combustion residues. The obtained
results demonstrated that the use of BA in a concrete formula-
tion (up to 60 wt%) produced an increase of sound absorption
capacity—similar to the sound absorption capacity observed in
porous concrete (PC) commonly used in acoustic barriers—but the
mechanical strength decreased. The FA mortars presented a high
refection coeffcient (RFC) and also showed reduced mechanical
strength, similar to the BA concrete. According to different leaching
test results, no problems were found in this product.
Keywords: bottom ash; fy ash; leaching; refection coeffcient; sound
absorption.
INTRODUCTION
The protection of the environment should be promoted by
the recovery of waste materials and their use as secondary
raw materials. In many cases, recycled materials must
compete with low-cost materials. When the properties of
waste products make their use possible in high-added-
value applications, however, these products can success-
fully compete with products made from primary materials,
reducing the environmental costs of waste disposal.
Pulverized coal fring is by far the most common form of
coal combustion used today for power generation. The bulk
of the ash (approximately 90%) that is formed when pulver-
ized coal burns is converted into fne dry powder usually
known as fy ash (FA) or pulverized FA. A smaller propor-
tion (approximately 10%) of the coal ash exits the boiler as
furnace bottom ash (BA) or slag. It is much denser and larger
in size. Effectively, it is fused ash that has agglomerated and
fallen down to the base of the furnace.
1
With the advent of pulverized coal fring systems, signif-
cant quantities of combustion residues became available.
The amounts have increased dramatically during the last few
decades; for example, the quantity of ash and slag produced
in the European Union (EU-15) in 2007 was 41.8 million
tonnes (FA, 9.21 × 10
10
lb) and 5.7 million tonnes (BA, 1.25
× 10
10
lb) according to the European Coal Combustion Prod-
ucts Association (ECOBA) (www.ecoba.com). It is evident
that simply discarding such quantities of material is unac-
ceptable on environmental grounds, so fnding methods for
their reuse are welcome and very necessary.
Among the environmental problems affecting quality
of life, noise due to traffc (cars, trains, and planes) must
be emphasized. To overcome this problem, new and better
materials need to be developed to produce a greater reduc-
tion in noise
2
; however, solutions that involve applying
materials to refect noise instead of using materials to absorb
it only minimize the problem.
530 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
In addition, ordinary portland cement Type II (CPII) (CEM
II/B-L 32.5N according to EN 197-1
11
), fne aggregate
(Fine), and coarse aggregate (Coarse), in the form of natural
river sand and crushed granite, respectively, were used.
The chemical composition, in accordance with ASTM
D3682-01
12
for the different materials, is shown in Table 1.
As also shown in Table 1, the sum of the percentages of
SiO
2
, Al
2
O
3
, and Fe
2
O
3
reach 80.89% in the FA, indicating
that it can be classifed as an F-type ash, as prescribed
by ASTM C618-05.
13
The calcium content of the BA is
low (<10%) and the sum (SiO
2
+ Al
2
O
3
+ Fe
2
O
3
) reaches
86.7%. Based on a chemical equivalency, this BA could
meet the ASTM C618 requirements for an F-type ash. The
fne and coarse aggregates are fundamentally composed of
SiO
2
; all other components analyzed remain insignifcant.
Figure 1 shows cumulative percentage non-retention curves
for fve different materials in a semi-logarithmic scale. It can
be seen that FA and CPII are the fnest materials and BA
presents a size distribution intermediate between fne and
coarse aggregates.
A constant small amount of exfoliated vermiculite (V)
was added to the mixture. V is commonly used as an additive
in sound absorption materials
14
and increases the mechan-
ical properties of the construction materials with BAs and
FAs.
15
V is a hydrated silicate comprising magnesium,
aluminium, and iron, which has a faky structure. V is also
usually added to mortars used for fre and acoustic protec-
tion, as indicated in previous papers by the authors.
16,17
The
V used in this study is commercial V with 84.9% of particles
less than 1.41 mm (4.6 × 10
–3
ft) in size.
Preparation of test specimens
The authors’ goal was to analyze the infuence of the FA
and BA studied in the properties of the acoustic absorption
material prepared therewith. The different concrete and
mortar compositions are shown in Table 2. In all the ash
mortar and concrete compositions, the V content was kept
constant and equal to 20 wt%.
To compare the properties of these materials with other
concrete products usually employed in acoustic barriers, a
standard concrete (SC) and a PC were also manufactured.
The composition of these concretes is shown in Table 3.
The proportions of CPII and coarse aggregate in PC were
Carlos Leiva is an Assistant Professor at the University of Seville, Seville, Spain. He
received his BS and MS in industrial engineering and his PhD in chemical engineering
from the University of Seville in 2001, 2003, and 2006, respectively. His research
interests include recycling of waste in construction materials (fre-resistant and
acoustic absorption materials).
Luis F. Vilches is an Associate Professor at the University of Seville. He received
his BS and MS in industrial engineering and his PhD in industrial engineering from
the University of Seville in 1990, 1998, and 2002, respectively. His research interests
include recycling of industrial by-products and water and wastewater treatment.
Celia Arenas is a Chemical Engineer at the University of Seville. She received her
BS and MS in chemical engineering from the University of Seville in 2008 and 2010,
respectively. Her research interests include recycling of waste in construction materials
(fre-resistant and acoustic absorption materials).
Silvia Delgado is a Chemical Engineer at the University of Seville. She received her
BS in chemical engineering from the University of Seville in 2009. Her research inter-
ests include recycling of waste in different applications.
Constantino Fernández-Pereira is a Full Professor in the Department of Chemical
and Environmental Engineering at the University of Seville. He received degrees in
chemical sciences and environmental engineering and his PhD in chemistry in 1983
from the University of Seville. His research interests, in addition to educational issues,
include industrial solid waste engineering: waste characterization, waste treatment
(also including wastewater treatment), and waste recycling and valorization.
BA production in a 550 MW
e
pulverized coal power plant
could be recycled in approximately 60 km (196,850 ft) of
road using concrete acoustic barriers, whenever the use of a
concrete containing 50 to 60% of slag was justifed because
it met the technical specifcations required.
RESEARCH SIGNIFICANCE
The main objective of this study is to present a series of
physical, mechanical, acoustic, and environmental proper-
ties of products manufactured using different contents of
FAs and BAs, with the aim of analyzing the infuence of
by-products that could be recycled as acoustic barriers. This
study may be considered a frst step in the technological
development of new materials with a potential application in
the feld of acoustic protection against noise.
EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE
Materials
In this study, FA and BA from the co-combustion of coal
and petroleum coke (70/30) in a power plant were studied.
Table 1—Chemical composition (wt%)
FA BA CPII Fine Coarse
SiO
2
48.72 52.32 13.83 96.21 85.73
Al
2
O
3
24.26 25.14 3.53 0.76 4.96
Fe
2
O
3
7.91 9.23 2.26 0.22 2.92
MnO 0.07 0.07 0.06 <0.01 0.04
MgO 1.78 1.84 0.7 0.01 0.30
CaO 2.26 2.37 59.33 0.13 0.46
Na
2
O 0.71 0.66 0.08 0.05 1.14
K
2
O 3.69 3.72 0.48 0.30 0.99
TiO
2
1.51 1.45 0.19 0.12 0.23
P
2
O
5
0.35 0.25 0.06 0.01 0.06
SO
3
0.02 0.03 1.68 0.02 0.03
Loss on ignition (LOI) 6.6 1.1 15.5 0.3 0.9
Specifc gravity 2.7 2.3 3.1 2.8 2.6
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 531
chosen, optimizing the sound absorption coeffcient (SAC)
of different mixtures.
The solid components shown in the tables mentioned
previously were placed in a concrete mixer and mixed until
a homogeneous dry mixture was achieved. Then, water was
added to the mixture and was mixed again until a homo-
geneous wet mixture was obtained. In all cases, the water-
solids ratio (w/s) was kept constant at 0.4. When the mixing
was completed, the mixture was placed in molds and it was
consolidated twice by vibration using a vibration table at
half-full and again when full.
The samples were taken out of the molds after 24 hours
and were cured at ambient temperature for more than 28 days
(average temperature: 20°C (68°F); average relative humidity:
45%). The cured samples were used to make test pieces of
different shapes and sizes, which were used in the acoustic,
physical, and mechanical tests.
Test methods
Acoustic properties—When a sound wave strikes a material
(incident energy), a portion of the sound energy is refected
back (refected energy), a portion is absorbed by the material
(absorbed energy), and a portion is transmitted through the
material. The absorption coefficient is the ratio of the
absorbed energy to the total incident energy. The refection
coeffcient (RFC) is the ratio of the refected energy to the
total incident energy.
To determine the acoustic properties of the products
prepared, the SAC and RFC were determined by the imped-
ance tube method
18
in samples of 40 mm (0.13 ft) thick. For
the high acoustic frequency range between 800 and 5000 Hz,
a 30 mm (0.09 ft) diameter tube was used; and for the medium
and low acoustic frequency range between 125 and 2000 Hz,
a 60 mm (0.19 ft) diameter tube was adopted. The circum-
ferential edge of the test sample was carefully sealed with
petroleum jelly, as recommended in EN ISO 10534-2,
18
to
ensure a good ft between the sample and the tube. A prelimi-
nary study was carried out in an impedance tube to analyze
the infuence of the ft as in other previous studies.
19
Each
value represents the average value obtained from testing
three samples of each mixture design.
Physical and mechanical properties
With the aim of characterizing the physical and mechan-
ical properties of the product, the following tests were
carried out.
The density r of the mortar was measured by weight and
volume (dimensions) measurements. Density was deter-
mined in the same specimens used for acoustic properties
before the acoustic test.
The method of vacuum saturation, as described in RILEM
CPC 11.3,
20
was followed in the determination of the open
void ratio (VR) (in %). The samples were dried in an oven
at 105°C ± 5°C (221°F ± 41°F) until no change in measured
weight (W
1
) was noticed. The specimens were then placed
dry in a vacuum chamber for 3 hours under vacuum, followed
by total submersion in water for an additional 6 hours under
vacuum, followed by continued total submersion in water
for 18 hours without vacuum. The saturated surface-dry
weight (W
2
) was then determined. The void ratio was calcu-
lated using Eq. (1).
2 1
1
(%) 1 100
W W
VR
V
    −
= − ×
   
   
(1)
where V
1
is the volume of the specimen. Three specimens of
each type were used.
The compressive (R
C
) and bending (R
F
) strengths of
the samples were also performed based on ASTM C39/
C39M-05e2
21
and ASTM C348-08,
22
respectively, using a
compressing test machine. Three specimens of each type
were tested.
Environmental study
To facilitate their use as construction materials, the prod-
ucts developed in this study must guarantee a low toxicity
level, which is often assessed through a leachability
study. The environmental study was carried out using the
EN 12457-4 leaching test
23
to characterize the FA and BA
metal leachability and evaluate the possible applications of
the composite products manufactured therewith. The PC
Fig. 1—Solids grain size distribution, %. (Note: 1 µm =
0.000039 in.)
Table 2—Mixture (wt%) proportion of new materials
Mixture CPII V FA BA
FA-20 60 20 20 —
FA-40 40 20 40 —
FA-60 20 20 60 —
BA-20 60 20 — 20
BA-40 40 20 — 40
BA-50 30 20 — 50
BA-60 20 20 — 60
Table 3—Mixture (wt%) proportion of reference
materials
CPII Fine Coarse
SC 20 50 30
PC 20 — 80
532 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
column test was performed in which seven eluate frac-
tions are collected within the range of L/S (liquid/solid) =
0.1 to 10 L/kg (0.0016 to 0.16 ft
3
/lb). The total test duration
is 21 days. The leachant is a preconditioned water at pH =
4. The test material is applied as received and the upfow
(14 mL/h [0.0005 ft
3
/h]) is applied through a column waste
height of 28 cm (0.92 ft) and a diameter of 10 cm (0.33 ft).
Metal analysis in leachates was carried out using atomic
absorption spectrophotometry and inductively coupled
plasma techniques in the Microanalysis Service of Seville
University (CITIUS).
EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
FA mortars—infuence of FA content
Table 4 shows the open void ratio and density of some
of the products containing different FA proportions. As can
be seen, the void ratio in all the cases is very similar due
to the similar size distribution of FA and CPII. The density
decreased slightly when the FA content was increased due
to the lower specifc density (refer to Table 1) of the FA as
compared with the CPII density. The densities of the FA
mortars are lower than those of the SCs and PCs due to the
V effect.
Regarding the mechanical properties studied, Table 4 shows
the main results and it can be seen that the compres-
sive strength at 28 days decreases when the FA content is
increased. The mechanical properties of the ash mortars are
much lower than those measured in SC, but similar to those
manifested by the PC.
Figure 2 shows the results of the SAC measurements of the
FA mortars series. As can be seen in this fgure, the absorp-
tion coeffcient is almost the same in all the cases and is very
similar to that shown by SC, although it is very low when a
comparison is made with the SAC of PC. Despite the fact
that the density of the FA mortars is lower than that of PC,
these mortars exhibit a lower SAC due to the lower porosity.
Figure 3 shows the RFC of the FA mortars. Regarding this
property, it can be observed that these composite materials
present a high RFC similar to that observed in SC, a material
commonly used in acoustic barriers as a refective plate.
25
BA concrete—infuence of BA content
Table 5 shows the open void ratio, density, and mechanical
properties of some concrete products containing a different
amount of BA. When the BA content is increased, the VR
tends to increase due to the particle size of the BA compared
to portland cement. Comparing the values obtained in
BA concrete with Specimen PC, the VRs of the samples
approaching 60% of BA have similar values to those of PC.
As can be seen, the density decreases when the BA
content is increased due to higher porosity and its lower
specifc density (Table 1). The density of the BA products is
lower than that of SCs and PCs and is similar to those found
in FA mortars.
As can be seen in Table 5, the compressive and fexural
strengths of the BA products are reduced appreciably when
the BA content is increased, and they are much lower than
the mechanical properties of the SCs and PCs. Under the
load, the presence of voids acts as a weakness in the cement
matrix, which creates localized areas of stress and propaga-
tion of crack formation.
26,27
BA contents higher than 50 wt%
produce materials with inadequate mechanical properties
for use in this kind of application because lower mechanical
properties may produce problems in the installation and,
used, a commercialized product, was also subjected to the
same test to compare the leaching results.
In the Netherlands, the leaching behavior obtained by the
Dutch Column
24
test is a decisive method of determining if
and in what way the by-products can be used as a building
material or in what way the waste has to be dumped. A
Table 4—Infuence of FA content on physical and
mechanical properties
VR, % r, kg/m
3
(lb/ft
3
) R
C
, MPa (ksi) R
F,
MPa (ksi)
FA-20 10.3 946 (59) 4.7 (0.68) 3.3 (0.47)
FA-40 10.1 905 (56) 3.9 (0.56) 2.6 (0.38)
FA-60 10.1 824 (51) 2.1 (0.30) 1.4 (0.20)
SC 9.2 2105 (131) 23.1 (3.35) 4.3 (0.62)
PC 26.2 1858 (115) 6.3 (0.91) 1.6 (0.23)
Note: 1 MPa = 0.145 ksi.
Fig. 2—Infuence of FA content on SAC.
Fig. 3—Infuence of FA content on sound RFC.
Table 5—Infuence of BA content on physical and
mechanical properties
VR, % r, kg/m
3
(lb/ft
3
) R
C
, MPa (ksi) R
F
, MPa (ksi)
BA-20 11.3 912 (57) 3.4 (0.49) 3.2 (0.47)
BA-40 13.5 873 (54) 1.4 (0.20) 1.3 (0.19)
BA-50 17.1 745 (46) 1.0 (0.14) 0.9 (0.13)
BA-60 21.1 701 (43) 0.4 (0.06) 0.4 (0.06)
SC 9.2 2105 (131) 23.1 (3.35) 4.3 (0.62)
PC 26.2 1858 (115) 6.3 (0.91) 1.6 (0.23)
Note: 1 MPa = 0.145 ksi.
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 533
during the service life of the acoustic-insulating element in
relation to its impact resistance, freezing-and-thawing dura-
bility and mechanical resistance in general.
9
Figure 4 shows the results obtained after the sound absorp-
tion study carried out on the BA products. The BA produced
an increase of the SAC at all the frequencies compared to
those of FA products due to the high porosity developed in
the material (Table 5). Inside the pores, the kinetic energy
of the sound wave is transformed into heat due to the wave
interaction with the walls of the chambers of the absor-
bent material,
2,3
so it can be expected that an enhanced
porous material results in a better absorbent material. The
BA product coeffcients are even higher than those of SC
and similar to those found in other composite materials
containing wastes, such as cork or rice straw-wood, which
are used in similar building applications.
28,29
However, the
SAC values of the BA products are slightly lower than those
of the PCs, especially at low and medium frequencies. It has
been stated that for PC to be effective, 15 to 25% of the open
void ratio is needed. The open void ratio is the most impor-
tant key factor (together with the thickness of the porous
layer) that dictates the effciency of the porous material.
30
Due
to this fact, when the VR is increased, the SAC values for
each frequency also increase for all the compositions, as can
be seen in Table 5 and Fig. 4.
Figure 5 shows the RFCs of the BA concrete; as can be
seen in the fgure, the refection decreased when the BA
content increased.
Environmental study
As the Introduction to EN 1794-2
10
indicates, “While
performing their primary function, road traffc noise
reducing devices should not pose hazards to road users or
other people in the vicinity or to the environment at large.”
EN 1794-2 establishes that road traffc noise-reducing
devices must specify any physical or chemical condition
that could cause environmental problems. This regulation
also mentions: “They (the noise-reducing devices) should
be made from materials which do not emit noxious fumes
or leachates as the result of natural or industrial processes
or as the result of fre.” In the cases of FA and BA (and, in
general, when recycled materials are used), the main envi-
ronmental problem could be the release of heavy metals into
the environment through leaching. When the leachability
was assessed, however, neither standard leaching tests nor
any pollutant concentration limits restricting their use in this
kind of application could be found.
Therefore, the BA and FA were submitted to the
EN 12457-4
23
test—a leaching test commonly used in the
waste management feld. Moreover, the same test was applied
to the other individual components used in this study, such
as CPII, Fine, and Coarse, to compare the leaching results
of recycled materials with those obtained in the case of the
virgin raw materials commonly used in this feld. These
results serve to establish a maximum leaching limit because
when they are mixed with cement, a phenomenon of stabi-
lization/solidifcation of BA and FA containing metals is
produced, thus reducing the leaching of heavy metal leach-
ates from the fnal material.
31-33
The leachate results obtained
are shown in Table 6.
As shown in Table 6, the metal concentration results of
the BA leachate are similar or even lower, except V, than
those observed for building materials traditionally used in
the manufacturing of sound insulation elements. With regard
to FA, it must be noted that its EN 12457-4
23
leachate shows
relatively high concentrations of As, Cr, Sb, Ba, and espe-
cially Mo. Notwithstanding, it must be emphasized that the
recycling of this by-product is widely employed, principally
in the manufacture of ordinary portland cement Type II, as
indicated in EN 450-1,
34
which authorizes the use of FAs in
Fig. 4—Infuence of BA content on SAC.
Table 6—EN 12457-4
23
leachability of FA and BA: comparison with typical construction materials (ppb)
As Cd Cr Cu Hg Mo Ni Pb Se Zn Ba V Sb
FA 21 ≤3 170 ≤1 <30 976 ≤10 ≤3 ≤25 ≤1 317 ≤20 114
BA ≤10 ≤3 ≤1 ≤1 ≤30 ≤10 ≤10 ≤3 ≤25 ≤1 3.7 94 ≤20
CPII ≤10 ≤3 436 ≤1 ≤30 ≤10 ≤10 ≤3 ≤25 105 313 ≤20 ≤20
Fine ≤10 ≤3 ≤1 ≤1 ≤30 ≤10 ≤10 ≤3 ≤25 670 82.2 ≤20 ≤20
Coarse ≤10 ≤3 ≤1 ≤1 ≤30 ≤10 ≤10 ≤3 ≤25 18 23.4 ≤20 ≤20
Fig. 5—Infuence of BA content on sound RFC.
534 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
3. The leachability study carried out to assess the envi-
ronmental impact derived from the use of the by-products
showed that their metal leachability is similar to that found
in other traditional materials used in construction, although
the FA studied exhibited high concentrations of Cr, Ba, Sb,
and Mo compared with other typical construction materials
used in acoustic barriers. Conversely, BA presents no signif-
cant environmental problems.
These results constitute an opportunity for the manufac-
ture of an acoustic absorption product composed partly of BA
from power plants, optimizing the product’s composition in
light of the results obtained in this study, with sound absorp-
tion capacity similar to that found in PC and acceptable
mechanical properties without any relevant environmental
problems. Finally, the problem of PC structures is their
durability during their service life; the use of BA improves
some durability properties of SC,
34,35
but its resistance to
chemical and physical attacks, which lead to a deterioration
and variation of the acoustic properties of concrete, should
be analyzed.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors acknowledge the fnancial support of this research by the
Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology with European Fund for
Economic and Regional Development (FEDER) funds under the Recycling
of Bottom and Fly Ashes from Several Thermal Processes in Noise Reduc-
tion Devices (RUIDRES) Project (CTM2007-62031).
REFERENCES
1. Thompson, A., Combustion Residues: Current, Novel and Renewable
Applications. Chapter 1: Current and Future Nature of Combustion Ashes,
John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Chichester, UK, 2008, pp. 1-84.
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Performance. Part 1: Mechanical Performance and Stability Requirements,”
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11. EN 197-1, “Cement—Part 1: Composition, Specifcations and
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dardization, Brussels, Belgium, 2001, 14 pp.
12. ASTM D3682-01, “Standard Test Method for Major and Minor
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14. Qiao, D.; Wei, J.; and Wang, L., “Effect of Vermiculite on Properties
of Rubber Sound Insulator,” Reguxing Shuzhi, V. 19, No. 6, 2004, pp. 22-23.
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cement and concrete but does not contemplate any leachate
limits. The high Cr leachability in CPII must also be stressed,
contrasting with the low Cr release observed in the case of
the rest of the materials analyzed.
Table 7 shows the results of the column leachability test
and the comparison with the limits established in the Soil
Quality Decree
35
; this establishes two different categories:
Category I (unrestricted use) and Category II (with restricted
use if isolation measures are taken). BA is characterized by
a low overall solubility and very low releases of elements of
environmental concern and the column test results did not
exceed any limits for Category I. FAs exhibited Cr, Mo, Se,
V, and SO
4
2–
values in the ranges above the inert category
(Category I). In any case, the Category II limits are not
exceeded for these FAs and BAs.
CONCLUSIONS
This paper discusses the effect on the acoustic, physical,
and mechanical properties of mortar or concrete prod-
ucts containing co-combustion by-products (BA and FA),
which can be used as acoustic barriers or other sound-
insulating elements.
1. No appreciable differences were found in the SACs and
density between different FA contents. The sound absorption
of the FA mortars is low, although such products need much
improvement to behave as an acceptable noise-absorbing
material; FA mortars can be used as refection material in
acoustic barriers. The mechanical properties of the mortars
signifcantly diminished when cement was replaced by FA.
2. The BA produces an increase in the SACs of the
concretes for all the frequencies, probably due to the increase
of material porosity, manifested by its low specifc gravity
and high porosity. The mechanical properties also diminish
when the BA content is increased. BA contents greater than
50% produce a very high-strength reduction and a material
with a minimum load-bearing (supporting) capacity.
Table 7—NEN 7345
24
leachability of FA and BA:
comparison with soil quality decree limits (ppm)
Elements Category I Category II FA BA
As 0.8 7.0 <0.17 <0.01
Ba 6.5 166 <0.04 <0.85
Cd 0.02 0.06 <0.01 <0.01
Cr (total) 0.36 12 1.69 <0.02
Cu 0.33 3.3 <0.02 <0.02
Hg 0.02 0.08 <0.01 <0.01
Mo 0.51 2.5 2.14 0.11
Ni 0.70 3.5 0.13 <0.05
Pb 0.99 8.1 <0.02 <0.02
Sb 0.09 1.2 <0.07 <0.03
Se 0.10 0.28 0.16 <0.05
Zn 2.3 14 0.15 <0.05
V 3.2 96 1.64 2.87
Ba 6.5 166 0.85 0.03
F

11.4 288 21.42 <2.0
Cl

561 8795 1.72 <1.0
SO
4
2–
3282 66,022 3918.48 68.37
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 535
16. Leiva, C.; Vilches, L. F.; Vale, J.; and Fernández-Pereira, C., “Infu-
ence of the Type of Ash on the Fire Resistance Characteristics of Ash-
Enriched Mortars,” Fuel, V. 84, No. 11, 2005, pp. 1433-1439.
17. Vilches, L. F.; Leiva, C.; Olivares, J.; Vale, J.; and Fernández-Pereira,
C., “Passive Fire Protection of Metal Sections by Means of a Sprayed Coal
Fly Ash Mortar,” Materiales de Construcción, V. 55, 2005, pp. 25-37.
18. EN ISO 10534-2, “Acoustics Determination of Sound Absorption
Coeffcient and Impedance or Admittance by the Impedance Tube—Part II:
Transfer Function Method,” European Committee for Standardization,
Brussels, Belgium, 1998, 28 pp.
19. Kim, H. K., and Lee, H. K., “Infuence of Cement Flow and Aggregate
Type on the Mechanical and Acoustic Characteristics of Porous Concrete,”
Applied Acoustics, V. 71, No. 7, 2010, pp. 607-615.
20. RILEM CPC 11.3, “Absorption of Water by Immersion under
Vacuum,” Materials and Structures, V. 17, 1984, pp. 391-394.
21. ASTM C39/C39M-05e2, “Standard Test Method for Compressive
Strength of Cylindrical Concrete Specimens,” ASTM International, West
Conshohocken, PA, 2005, 7 pp.
22. ASTM C348-08, “Standard Test Method for Flexural Strength of
Hydraulic-Cement Mortars,” ASTM International, West Conshohocken,
PA, 2008, 6 pp.
23. EN 12457-4, “Characterization of Waste: Leaching—Compliance
Test for Leaching of Granular Waste Material and Sludge,” European
Committee for Standardization, Brussels, Belgium, 2003, 33 pp.
24. NEN 7345, “Leaching Characteristics of Solid Earthy and Stony
Building and Waste Materials; Leaching Test; Determination of the Leaching
of Inorganic Components from Granular Materials with the Column Test,”
Netherlands Standardization Institute, Delft, the Netherlands, 1995, 29 pp.
25. Tomis, V., “Fully Absorptive Acoustic Barrier,” Patent No. WO
2006/081778 A1, 2006, 20 pp.
26. Goodier, J. N., “Concentration of Stress around Spherical and Cylin-
drical Inclusions and Flaws,” Journal of Applied Mechanics, V. 55, No. 7,
1933, pp. 39-44.
27. Ryshkewitch, E., “Compression Strength of Porous Sintered Alumina
and Zirconia,” Journal of the American Ceramic Society, V. 36, No. 2, 1953,
pp. 65-68.
28. Hernández-Olivares, F.; Bollati, M. R.; Del Rio, M.; and Parga-Landa,
B., “Development of Cork-Gypsum Composites for Building Applications,”
Construction & Building Materials, V. 13, No. 4, 1999, pp. 179-186.
29. Yang, H.; Kim, D.; and Kim, H., “Rice Straw-Wood Composite for
Sound Absorbing Wooden Construction Materials,” Bioresource Tech-
nology, V. 86, No. 2, 2003, pp. 117-121.
30. Marolf, A.; Neithalath, N.; Sell, E.; Wegner, K.; Weiss, J.; and Olek,
J., “Infuence of Aggregate Size and Gradation on Acoustic Absorption of
Enhanced Porosity Concrete,” ACI Materials Journal, V. 101, No. 1, Jan.-
Feb. 2004, pp. 82-91.
31. Vilches, L. F.; Leiva, C.; Vale, J.; Olivares, J.; and Fernández-Pereira,
C., “Fire Resistance Characteristics of Plates Containing a High Biomass-
Ash Proportion,” Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, V. 46,
No. 14, 2007, pp. 4824-4829.
32. Leiva, C.; Garcia Arenas, C.; Vilches, L. F.; Vale, J.; Gimenez, A.;
Ballesteros, J. C.; and Fernández-Pereira, C., “Use of FGD Gypsum in Fire
Resistant Panels,” Waste Management, V. 30, No. 6, 2010, pp. 1123-1129.
33. Luna, Y.; Fernández Pereira, C.; and Vale, J., “Stabilization/Solidi-
fcation of a Municipal Solid Waste Incineration Residue Using Fly Ash-
Based Geopolymers,” Journal of Hazardous Materials, V. 185, No. 1, 2011,
pp. 373-381.
34. EN 450-1, “Fly Ash for Concrete—Part 1: Defnitions, Specifcations
and Conformity Criteria,” European Committee for Standardization, Brus-
sels, Belgium, 2006, 32 pp.
35. “Decree on Soil Quality,” Staatsblad 2007, houdende regels inzake de
kwaliteit van de bodem (Besluit bodemkwaliteit), Staatsblad, 2007, 179 pp.
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 537
Title no. 109-M52
ACI MATERIALS JOURNAL TECHNICAL PAPER
ACI Materials Journal, V. 109, No. 5, September-October 2012.
MS No. M-2011-196 received June 27, 2011, and reviewed under Institute publication
policies. Copyright © 2012, American Concrete Institute. All rights reserved, including
the making of copies unless permission is obtained from the copyright proprietors.
Pertinent discussion including author’s closure, if any, will be published in the July-
August 2013 ACI Materials Journal if the discussion is received by April 1, 2013.
Early-Age Creep of Mass Concrete: Effects of Chemical
and Mineral Admixtures
by Sergio Botassi dos Santos, Luiz Carlos Pinto da Silva Filho, and João Luiz Calmon
binder content.
1-9
In other research works, however, priority
was given to maintaining the unchanged water-cement ratio
(w/c)
10-12
and workability, while all other parameters involved
in creep could be varied. Few studies have actually focused
on the direct effect of admixtures on creep with at least a
constant volume of paste.
13-15
It is herein intended to main-
tain an unchanged material mixture proportion, even with
the inclusion of chemical or mineral admixtures, to avoid
any change in basic concrete mixture parameters (volume
of paste, cement and water content, and aggregate propor-
tion) due to mixing with admixtures, which may infuence
the results. Besides evaluating the real infuence of admix-
tures on creep, this experimental strategy has the advantage
of being able to extrapolate these effects to similar situations
because what is actually evaluated is the interference of
material added to concrete in creep and not a change in the
mixture proportion.
RESEARCH SIGNIFICANCE
Attaining better knowledge of mass concrete creep
behavior, using extensive and reliable laboratory data, will
enable designers to defne mixture proportions considering
the potential effects of chemical and mineral admixtures’
contents on creep. This is an important issue to ensure long-
term serviceability of massive structures. Such an improve-
ment in predicting creep reduces empiricism and permits a
more rational use of materials for the manufacture of mass
concrete that meets the minimum project requirements.
EXPERIMENTAL INVESTIGATION
For a more realistic evaluation of the effect of admixtures
on creep, as quoted in the Introduction, the mixture propor-
tion (w/c, water content, paste volume, and fxed total aggre-
gate/binder ratio) was maintained unaltered throughout the
experimental program with variation in only the type of
plasticizer and mineral admixture relative to the reference
mixture proportion.
To maintain the mixture proportion fxed, part of the
reference amount of cement was replaced by the respec-
tive mineral admixture studied while still maintaining the
amount of water fxed to ensure that the main prompters
of creep in the mixture were kept unaltered and, hence,
focusing the study on only the effect of mineral admixtures.
With regard to the plasticizer admixtures, the concern was
to remove part of the mixing water to compensate for the
Some advances in concrete chemical and mineral admixtures are
well-known, especially those related to rheology in the fresh state,
improvements in the binder-matrix microstructure, and mechanical
behavior. When it comes to the effects on creep, however, there are
still several issues that are not well understood, especially during
the early ages at loading. To help fll this gap, an experimental
program was developed considering a laboratory test to monitor
creep under controlled environmental conditions, altering the
composition of the reference concrete with the inclusion of sepa-
rate admixtures of calcined clay, metakaolin and blast-furnace
slag, and lignosulfonate- and naphthalene-based chemical admix-
tures, keeping binder paste content unchanged to make it possible
to evaluate the real effect on basic creep. The obtained results show
a signifcant change in creep during the early ages at loading with
the inclusion of the afore-cited materials, especially at the age at
loading of 1 day.
Keywords: chemical admixtures; creep; early ages; mass concrete;
mineral admixtures.
INTRODUCTION
The prediction of creep for the analysis of thermomechan-
ical problems in mass concrete structures is of fundamental
importance because the delayed effect of strains caused by
creep reduces the internal stress history in the structure and
therefore infuences the appearance of cracks of thermal
origin. Typically, these problems are signifcant in large
structures (dams, bridges, and large foundations) in which
the structural parts have high concrete content, or even in
other concrete structures in which there are high amounts of
binder—that is, high-strength concrete.
The use of plasticizing and mineral admixtures in mass
concrete can help combat this thermal phenomenon because
they contribute to the optimization of the mixture to obtain
a higher resistance, lower binder consumption, and an
enhanced rheology of the fresh concrete. Normally, however,
when it comes to the effect on creep, no specifc concern is
known to be taken in adjusting the mixture proportion to meet
this need. This is due to the relatively little knowledge of the
actual and potential effects of mineral admixtures and plasti-
cizers on general creep behavior—especially their combined
effect—and also on creep during early loading ages.
A survey conducted by the authors of this paper revealed
that in many of the research works which, until now, had
attempted to evaluate the effects of admixtures on creep,
the mixture proportion of concrete was not kept fxed, thus
making it diffcult to conclude which effect was dominant in
the observed change in creep—whether direct from admix-
tures or indirect due to changes in the mixture proportion
from the use of these materials. Many studies have sought
to maintain the compressive strength fxed by adding admix-
tures, leading inevitably to a change in the mixture propor-
tion of concrete and a change in the volume of paste and
538 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
lanic reaction, while calcined clay shows a lower reactivity
than the former, but also with pozzolanic effects (common
pozzolan with a low calcium oxide content) and, lastly, slag
shows a cementing effect (high calcium oxide content). The
main characteristics of the cement, plasticizing, and mineral
admixtures are summarized in Tables 1 and 2.
The coarse aggregate used had a maximum size of 1.25 in.
(32 mm), while the sand was artifcial and had the same
origin as the coarse aggregate from quartz-biotite schist
(quartzite-metamorphic rock). Semiquantitative mineral-
ogical analyses showed that the aggregates were composed
of 50% quartz, 30% biotite, 10% chlorite, 8% muscovite,
and 2% feldspar. Both aggregates had a relative density
and absorption capacity of approximately 2.60% and 0.5%,
respectively. The proportions were established from a refer-
ence mixture proportion of concrete with a possible thermal
problem: mass concrete. For the admixtures, the concern
was in maintaining the volume of paste fxed for all mixture
proportions with a partial replacement of the volume of
cement of the reference mixture proportion by admixtures,
as shown in Table 3. The percentage of cement replaced by
volume adopted for the admixtures was 10%, 30%, and 50%
relative to metakaolin, calcined clay, and blast-furnace slag,
respectively. On considering the plasticizing admixtures,
part of the weight of the mixing water—proportional to the
amount of water used in dissolving the plasticizer, consid-
ered to be approximately 60% of the total mass of the admix-
ture—was deduced. The plasticizing admixture’s content
(based on lignosulfonate) and high-range water-reducing
admixture (HRWRA) (based on naphthalene) used in rela-
tion to the cement mass was 1.0% and 0.5%, respectively.
Mineral and chemical admixture contents in the concrete
remained unchanged; otherwise, the experimental investiga-
Sergio Botassi dos Santos is a Researcher and PhD Student in civil engineering at
the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do
Sul, Brazil. He received his MS in civil engineering with an emphasis on structures
from the Federal University of Espírito Santo (UFES), Vitória, Espírito Santo, Brazil.
His research interests include the concrete technology area, including the numerical
modeling of behavior, and he is a specialist in thermal stress analysis in mass concrete.
ACI member Luiz Carlos Pinto da Silva Filho is a Professor and Head of the
Graduate Program on Civil Engineering at UFRGS. He received his PhD in civil
engineering from the University of Leeds, Leeds, UK. His research interests include
various areas of civil engineering materials and structures.
João Luiz Calmon is a Professor at UFES. He received his BSE in civil engineering
from UFES; his MSE in industrial engineering from Catholic Pontifc University, Rio
de Janeiro, Brazil; his PhD in civil engineering from Catalonia Polytechnic Univer-
sity, Barcelona, Spain; and his Post-Doctorate degree from Instituto de Ciencias de
la Construcción Eduardo Torroja, Madrid, Spain. His research interests include the
technology of building materials and experimental and numerical modeling studies of
the thermomechanical behavior of mass concrete structures.
inclusion of liquid admixtures, thus maintaining the water
content in the mixture and avoiding any modifcation in the
important creep components.
Materials and mixture proportions
Portland cement was used with a minimal amount of lime-
stone fller (cement typical of central Brazil) to obtain a pure
binder (without mineral addition) that served as a reference
for the study. The main admixtures used were metakaolin,
common calcined clay and blast-furnace slag, and lignosul-
fonate- and naphthalene-based plasticizing admixtures. The
criterion for selecting these items was based on their level
of interaction with cement: metakaolin with a high silicon
oxide and aluminum content due to their high specifc area
is known to be more reactive to cement through a pozzo-
Table 1—Physical and chemical compositions of cement and mineral admixtures
Cement Metakaolin Calcined clay Blast-furnace slag
Specifc gravity 3.02 2.64 2.60 2.92
Blaine fneness, cm
2
/g 4900 9840 7930 4850
Loss of ignition, % 5.24 2.06 5.33 0.00
SiO
2
, % 18.6 50.50 45.00 33.81
Al
2
O
3
, % 4.53 38.29 42.75 11.81
CaO, % 57.23 0.55 0.49 42.78
MgO, % 1.53 0.31 0.27 7.13
SO
3
, % 2.42
*
0.05 1.61
Na
2
O, % 0.21 0.15 0.65 0.45
K
2
O, % 0.51 1.49 0.46 0.79
Fe
2
O
3
, % 2.45
* * *
*
Not measured items.
Table 2—Characteristics of chemical admixtures
Denomination Chemical base Type
*
Description
Plasticizer
(normal water-reducing)
Lignosulfonate A
• Addition rate of between 0.25 and 0.50% by weight of cement;
• Specifc gravity between 1.21 and 1.25 at 25°C (77°F); and
• pH between 8 and 10.
HRWRA Naphthalene F
• Addition rate of between 0.60 and 1.50% by weight of cement;
• Specifc gravity between 1.18 and 1.22 at 25°C (77°F); and
• pH between 7 and 9.
*
According to ASTM C494/C494M.
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 539
tion would become too long and would lose the comparative
focus between the study admixtures and the concrete proper-
ties. It is known, however, that mineral and chemical admix-
tures’ content interferes in creep, as verifed in the creep
results obtained by Brooks.
12
The hydration mechanism of
the binder matrix tends to change depending on the mineral
and chemical admixture contents and types, which infuence
concrete properties.
Properties studied and test procedures
Basic creep was estimated and then deduced from the
effect of autogenous shrinkage obtained from independent
tests according to the Brazilian Standard NBR-8224,
16
using
pairs of cylindrical specimens 5.91 in. (150 mm) in diameter
and 11.82 in. (300 mm) in height. For the creep test, the load
was applied at 1, 3, and 7 days. Tests were also carried out
to determine the compressive strength and modulus of elas-
ticity based on the Brazilian Standards—NBR-12821
17
and
NBR-8522,
18
respectively—at ages of 1, 3, 7, and 28 days,
carried out on specimens similar to those used in creep and
shrinkage determination. The following strength test results
are to keep loading at 40% of the compressive strength propor-
tionally fxed throughout the execution of the creep test.
To monitor the strain during the creep and autogenous
shrinkage tests, strain gauges with optical fber sensors
encapsulated in metal cylinders and embedded in specimens
for increased reliability and accuracy of the results were
used, as shown in Fig. 1. Strain gauges with optical sensors
present a high precision similar to the Carlson
19
-type elec-
trical sensor; in addition, their customization by the manu-
facturer for more specifc research studies is possible. The
tests were monitored for approximately 90 days.
A total of six different mixtures were studied: three with
mineral admixtures, one with plasticizer, one with HRWRA,
and one without admixtures (reference), totaling 66 tests
and 192 test specimens that were cast.
After casting, the specimens were kept in a moisture
chamber under a controlled environment (temperature: 23°C
± 2°C [73.4°F ± 3.6°F] and relative humidity: 97.5% ± 2.5%)
until the age of onset of each test. The basic creep and autoge-
nous shrinkage tests were carried out on sealed samples under
a controlled temperature and humidity (23°C ± 2°C [73.4°F ±
3.6°F] and 50% ± 5%, respectively), as shown in Fig. 2.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Compressive strength
The individual results of the compressive strength and
modulus of elasticity for each concrete mixture showed a low
dispersion from the average with a coeffcient of variation of
less than 7% in most of the results. Thus, the authors opted
to present the mean values as summarized in Fig. 3 and 4,
respectively. In the fgures, the dashed-line curve represents
results obtained for mixtures with mineral admixtures, while
the continuous line represents the measurements obtained
for concrete mixtures with chemical admixtures.
From the plot given in Fig. 3, it was verifed that all
admixtures delayed the gain in compressive strength at the
test age of 1 day compared to the reference concrete (without
admixtures). This effect is associated with the delay in the
formation of hydrated compounds of the binder matrix at
early ages caused by the addition of mineral admixtures and
plasticizer in concrete mixtures. From the test age of 1 day,
however, the rate of increase in the compressive strength of
the studied mixture proportions was found to be higher than
that observed for the reference concrete, except for concrete
with HRWRA. This is refected in the creep phenomenon
Table 3—Concrete mixture proportions
Rf Mk Cc Bs Sp Pl
Admixture description Reference—without admixture Metakaolin Calcined clay Blast-furnace slag HRWRA Plasticizer
Cement, lb/ft
3
(kg/m
3
) 30.7 (492) 27.7 (443) 21.5 (345) 15.4 (246) 30.7 (492) 30.7 (492)
Admixture, kip/ft
3
(kg/m
3
) 0 2.8 (43) 8.0 (128) 15.0 (240) 3.1 (4.9) 1.5 (2.5)
Water, kip/ft
3
(kg/m
3
) 14.4 (231) 14.4 (231) 14.4 (231) 14.4 (231) 14.2 (229) 14.2 (229)
Artifcial sand, kip/ft
3
(kg/m
3
) 29.7 (476) 29.7 (476) 29.7 (476) 29.7 (476) 29.7 (476) 29.7 (476)
Coarse aggregate, kip/ft
3
(kg/m
3
) 67.4 (1079) 67.4 (1079) 67.4 (1079) 67.4 (1079) 67.4 (1079) 67.4 (1079)
Paste volume, % 40.4 40.4 40.4 40.4 40.4 40.4
Air, % 0.9 1.5 1.0 0.6 0.7 1.2
Slump, in. (mm) 3.7 (95) 2.8 (70) 2.2 (55) 3.3 (85) 5.5 (140) 4.3 (110)
Fig. 1—Optical strain gauge prepared for casting and its
measuring apparatus.
Fig. 2—Preparation of test specimen (sealing) and load
application.
540 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
cially at the test ages of 1 to 7 days. Nonetheless, at the age
of 28 days, the dispersion was lower. This is mainly due
to the effects of chemical and mineral admixtures, which
interfere in the rate of hydration and formation of cementi-
tious compounds, especially at early ages when the concrete
shows more viscoelastic behavior. This effect is reduced at
later ages when the elastic behavior of solid materials begins
to prevail and also due to concrete mixtures having the same
aggregate proportion in relation to the binder matrix, inde-
pendent of the admixtures.
The reduction in the modulus of elasticity at very
early ages, as observed in this study, may bring unde-
sirable consequences in mass concrete structures due to
the lower concentration of compressive stress benefi-
cial in arresting tensile stresses arising from the thermal
problem. However, a closer look at the behavior of the
compressive strength of mixtures with admixtures at
more advanced ages shows a tendency toward an increase
compared to the concrete without admixtures, which
helps combat the appearance of thermal cracks.
In general, it was observed that the experimental results
obtained from the modulus of elasticity tests performed
at 28 days were lower than the expected values estimated
directly from the compression test results, in accor-
dance with the procedure recommended in the Brazilian
NBR-6118 Standard.
20
This is possibly due to the high
paste content in the study mixture proportions—approxi-
mately 40%—as seen in Table 4, which contributed to the
reduction of the concrete modulus because the hardened
paste usually has lower hardness than the aggregate phase.
In the long term, this difference in the elasticity modulus
can contribute to reducing tensile stress, which induces
thermal cracking in concrete.
Presentation of strain results
The test results of autogenous shrinkage and basic creep
are presented as the strain rate over time from the ft of a loga-
rithmic curve of the strain values obtained from the tests, as
illustrated in Fig. 5 and 6. The values of F
j
and R
s
, presented
in Fig. 5 and 6, are equivalent to the multiplier coeffcient
of the logarithm of time, as shown in Eq. (1) for autogenous
shrinkage and Eq. (2) for the basic creep, respectively.
( ) . ln( )
s s
t R t B ε = + (1)
0 0
( ) . ln( )
j
J t t F t t B − = − +
(2)
at early ages because the hydration rate of cementitious
composites with admixtures was signifcantly different from
the reference mixture, besides the effect of admixtures on the
microstructure of cementitious matrixes—more pore refne-
ment and enhanced bonding between the hydrated particles.
Young’s modulus of elasticity
Although the mixture proportion—paste volume,
amount of water, and total volume of aggregates—was
kept unchanged, the behavior of the modulus of elasticity
varied signifcantly between the studied mixtures, as can
be perceived from the results presented in Fig. 4, espe-
Fig. 3—Average behavior of concrete mixtures on compres-
sive strength.
Fig. 4—Average behavior of concrete mixtures on Young’s
modulus of elasticity.
Table 4—Comparison of autogenous shrinkage ratio of concrete mixtures
Mixture Symbol Autogenous shrinkage ratio, microstrain/ln(t) Increase by reference, %
Reference Rf 55.7 —
With metakaolin Mk 100.0 80
With calcined clay Cc 91.7 65
With blast-furnace slag Bs 114.7 106
With HRWRA Sp 39.9 –28
With plasticizer Pl 37.4 –33
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 541
The symbols e
s
(t) and J(t – t
0
) represent the autogenous
shrinkage and basic creep, respectively, at any age t and the
start of loading t
0
. The coeffcient B in Eq. (1) and (2) is not
considered in the results analyzed because it does not affect
the strain rate over time but is used simply to ft the curves.
The logarithmic function was chosen to best represent the
increasing behavior of the linear strain rate in the observed
experimental creep-time and shrinkage-time results
according to the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
21
since the
1960s. All adjusted logarithmic curves achieve a coeffcient
of determination above 0.81, hence demonstrating good
agreement with the test results. The representative units of
these rates are associated with the logarithm and are not so
simple to interpret. However, it is known that the higher they
are, the more signifcant the effects of strains resulting from
autogenous shrinkage and creep. These rates also have the
advantage of not only permitting the authors to represent a
set of results through a single value but also to estimate the
rate of increase of strain of concrete at any age.
This study did not aim to compare prediction models,
although the authors have already published a study
22
pointing
out deviations in the values presented by most models
assessed based on test results, mainly when mineral and
chemical admixtures are used. This situation shows the need
to adjust creep prediction models deriving from the addition
of these materials to concrete, as proposed by Brooks
12
and
commented on by Botassi et al.
22
Autogenous shrinkage
The rates of autogenous shrinkage for the studied mixtures
are summarized in Table 4 and Fig. 7. For a clear understanding
of the plot in Fig. 7, the columns were hatched in different
manners, thus permitting the authors to distinguish the refer-
ence mixture (flled hatches) from the concrete mixtures with
mineral admixtures (diagonal hatched lines) and those with
plasticizing admixtures (hatched horizontal lines).
The autogenous shrinkage of concrete mixtures with
mineral admixtures was higher than that of the reference
concrete with an increase of over 100% for the blast-furnace
slag mixture. This substantial increase is possibly due to the
higher fneness of the binder in mixtures with admixtures
compared to the reference concrete (without mineral admix-
tures), hence promoting a greater internal water consump-
tion during the hydration reactions, which favors autogenous
shrinkage. This signifcant increase can also be associated
with the reduction in micropore size in the cement matrix,
thus resulting in very high surface tensions, which hinders the
diffusion of water through matrix voids. The fact that blast-
furnace slag shows higher autogenous shrinkage—although it
does not have the highest fneness among the studied mineral
admixtures—may be associated with the late water consump-
tion resulting from capillary voids because its cementitious
reaction is slower. However, this tendency requires further
and more numerous tests to be statistically confrmed.
Meanwhile, for the concretes with plasticizer and HRWRA,
observations showed a reduction of up to 30% in the autog-
enous shrinkage. This phenomenon can be explained by the
excess water which, in the reference mixture, was mainly
used to gain plasticity and help in the hydration of the
compounds, while in the presence of the studied chemical
admixtures; besides being used for the hydration reactions,
this water served to occupy more voids in the cement paste,
thus causing an increase in the macro- and mesopores. These
pores act as an internal moisture reservoir that reduces
shrinkage and the capillary forces at the expense of larger
voids in the paste. Another explanation may be a possible
reduction of the surface tension of capillary water caused
by the presence of the HRWRA, which entails a reduction
on capillary suction and adsorption, facilitating moisture
diffusion in the binder matrix while reducing the internal
stresses induced by water particle movement. The reduction
of autogenous shrinkage in the presence of plasticizer was
observed in some studies reported by Collepardi.
23
Basic creep
The basic creep rates for the studied mixtures are summa-
rized in Tables 5 and 6 and Fig. 8. Table 6 was assembled
from the results in Table 5 to determine the percentage
increase (positive value) or decrease (negative value) in the
creep of mixtures with admixtures compared to the reference
concrete. At the age of loading of 1 day, the creep measured
Fig. 5—Representation of obtained test results of autogenous
shrinkage.
Fig. 6—Representation of obtained test results of basic creep.
Fig. 7—Autogenous shrinkage ratio for concrete mixtures.
542 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
hydrated) layers, which therefore increases the potential for
creep during the early ages.
At a loading age of 3 days, only concrete with HRWRA
presented creep values higher than the reference concrete
(approximately 20% higher); the remaining mixtures showed
a reduction of up to 37% (with blast-furnace slag). This
reversal in behavior observed in most samples with admix-
tures at the age of 3 days of loading, where there is still a
signifcant effect of viscoelasticity, may be associated with
the substantial increase in the stiffness of concrete with
admixtures, as can be observed from the higher growth
trend in the compressive strength with age of mixtures
with admixtures (Fig. 3). Compressive strength estimates
obtained for samples with admixtures achieved an increase
of 140 to 280% at 1 to 3 days, while the reference concrete
did not exceed a 71% increase. The mixture with the lowest
increase in strength with age was the one with HRWRA,
which possibly explains why it was the only one with creep
higher than the reference concrete at a loading age of 3 days.
At a loading age of 7 days, all mixtures with admixtures
achieved a creep value lower than that of the reference
concrete. The largest reduction was observed in the blast-
furnace slag mixture (–77% reduction), while the smallest
was the mixture with HRWRA (–6%). One explanation
for this general reduction in basic creep may be linked to a
higher gain in compressive strength compared to that of the
reference concrete for all mixtures with admixtures, which
indirectly implies a better formation of the binder matrix and
greater stiffness of the concrete.
In general, concrete mixtures with admixtures showed a
reduced creep trend relative to the reference mixture, the
higher the age at which loading was started (t
0
). This behavior
can cause a signifcant interference in the stress state of mass
concrete structures, as discussed in the work of Botassi et
al.
24
Mass concrete structures, when newly cast, generate
heat, which promotes benefcial compressive stresses at
in concrete with admixtures achieved a substantial increase,
reaching a value exceeding four times the creep observed in
the reference concrete for concrete with blast-furnace slag
addition. As for concrete with chemical admixtures, the
mixture with HRWRA showed the highest increase over the
reference concrete by more than 140%. This phenomenon
may be associated with the low hydration rate of cementi-
tious composites of mixtures with admixtures during the
frst 24 hours, signifcantly enhancing the viscous behavior of
concrete compared to the elastic modulus, as can be seen in
the results of the elastic modulus of concrete with admixtures
at the age of 1 day (lower than the reference concrete; Fig. 4).
Another fact that corroborates this large increase in creep
is due to the microstructure of the concrete mixtures with
admixtures which, in general, shows a higher binder matrix
pore refnement compared to the reference concrete (without
admixtures). Thus, there is a higher retention of water in
the micropores and between the C-S-H (calcium-silicate-
Table 5—Basic creep ratio of concrete mixtures
Mixture Symbol
Basic creep ratio, microstrain/ksi.ln(t
0
) (microstrain/MPa.ln(t
0
))
t
0
= 1 day t
0
= 3 days t
0
= 7 days
Reference Rf 141.4 (20.51) 82.5 (11.96) 72.3 (10.49)
With metakaolin Mk 315.2 (45.71) 80.0 (11.61) 29.3 (4.25)
With calcined clay Cc 223.1 (32.36) 57.7 (8.37) 32.3 (4.68)
With blast-furnace slag Bs 588.8 (85.40) 51.6 (7.49) 16.8 (2.44)
With HRWRA Sp 349.2 (50.65) 99.9 (14.49) 67.8 (9.83)
With plasticizer Pl 236.4 (34.29) 79.5 (11.53) 54.8 (7.95)
Table 6—Comparison of basic creep ratio of concrete mixtures
Mixture Symbol
Increase of basic creep ratio by reference
t
0
= 1 day, % t
0
= 3 days, % t
0
= 7 days, %
Reference Rf — — —
With metakaolin Mk 123 –3 –59
With calcined clay Cc 58 –30 –55
With blast-furnace slag Bs 316 –37 –77
With HRWRA Sp 147 21 –6
With plasticizer Pl 67 –4 –24
Fig. 8—Basic creep ratio of concrete mixtures.
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 543
early ages and, as they cool, tension stresses. Assuming only
the observed creep behavior in mixtures with admixtures,
these stresses induce a higher risk of thermal cracking. This
is because the benefcial effect of the compressive stresses
tends to be mitigated by higher creep levels in mixtures with
admixtures during the early hours of casting, as indicated in
the tests, and the undesirable tensile stresses are combated
with less intensity due to low creep levels compared to the
reference concrete. In addition, there are also high values
of autogenous shrinkage for concrete with mineral admix-
tures, which enhance the risks of cracks other than those
from thermal origin. It is important to emphasize, however,
that this afore-reported effect on the thermal problem refers
only to the isolated and direct result of admixtures on creep
and their possible consequences on mass concrete. Hence,
on confrming that the effect of these materials on concrete
mixtures tends to reduce the amount of binders, the reduc-
tion in the w/c, among other benefcial effects, can balance
the aforementioned negative aspects to the extent of making
admixtures a great ally in combating thermomechanical
problems in mass concrete, as are usually considered.
As far as creep interference in the thermal problem is
concerned, it is noteworthy to mention that the creep tests
in this study were carried out using test specimens under
compression but, on the other hand, thermal cracking occurs
in the tensile stress condition. Because there is usually higher
creep deformation under tensile stress
1
for the same level of
load—because of the lower mechanical strength of concrete
under tensile stress—the consideration of results derived
from creep tests performed under compression provides safer
results. The adoption of lower deformability for the simu-
lation of the thermal problem leads to higher tensile stress
values than the ones that will tend to develop in real cases.
However, it is also known that mineral admixtures contribute
to a natural increase in tensile strength. So, it is no wonder
that tensile creep for mixture proportions with mineral and
chemical admixtures is lower than the reference concrete,
which interferes in the occurrence of thermal cracking.
FURTHER RESEARCH
It is the intention of the authors to complement the present
experimental program to evaluate the combined effects of
the studied admixtures, given that the simultaneous use of
these products is a common practice. However, the experi-
mental program presented in this paper was of paramount
importance, owing to the fact that the separate behavior of
each mineral and plasticizer admixture could be understood
separately and also verify whether the superposition effects
could be considered valid when analyzing the combined
effect of admixtures. A numerical simulation-based evalu-
ation on how these effects may in fact intervene in the ther-
momechanical problem in mass concrete structures still
remains, however, considering not only the effect of admix-
tures on creep but also on the main parameters involved
in the problem (heat generation in concrete, thermal and
mechanical properties), thus obtaining the stress levels in the
structures and their cracking probabilities.
As a future study subject, it is suggested that the effects
of mineral and chemical admixtures be assessed for long-
term creep (180 to 365 days) so deformation behavior when
using these products can be evaluated in the long run and
the effects on structures subject to long-term loads, such as
bridges and dams, can be estimated. It is also recommended
that the effects of mineral and chemical admixtures on creep
be assessed for different contents and types of cement and
concrete, in which creep can directly or indirectly interfere
in the tensile and deformational state of structures.
SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS
The direct effect of the mineral and chemical admixtures
studied on creep was shown to be highly signifcant, espe-
cially at the age of loading of 1 day. In this experimental
program, there was the concern of maintaining unchanged
mixture proportions, even with the addition of admixtures.
This was the path chosen because if a different experi-
mental strategy were to be chosen—for example, keeping
the compressive strength constant for different mixtures—it
would be necessary to change mixture proportions. Changes
in mixture proportions would make it more diffcult to
monitor the isolated effects of the use of admixtures in creep
behavior because these effects would be superimposed by
the combined indirect effects of varying important factors
that are known to intervene in creep, such as paste content
and the total amount of water in the mixtures.
The autogenous shrinkage test was carried out to be
deduced from the measured creep test. A large increase in
shrinkage was observed for tests on mixtures with mineral
admixtures compared to the reference concrete, reaching a
peak value of 106% for blast-furnace slag mixtures. Mean-
while, for the plasticizing admixtures, an average reduction
in autogenous shrinkage of 30% was observed.
In summary, the obtained results of creep and the main
conclusions can be summarized as follows:
1. At the loading age of 1 day, mixtures with admix-
tures showed a signifcantly higher creep than the reference
concrete (without admixtures), ranging from a 58% increase
for mixtures with calcined clay up to a 316% increase for
blast-furnace slag. This effect is due to the highly viscous
behavior of concrete at very early ages, exacerbated by the
delayed hydration of the binders and pore refnement of the
matrix when the admixtures are added.
2. At the loading age of 3 days, the mixture with HRWRA
achieved a creep 21% higher than the reference concrete.
The remaining mixtures showed a reduced creep of up to
37% (for blast-furnace slag). The observed creep reversal
is due to the signifcant improvement in matrix stiffness
(1 to 3 days) for mixtures with admixtures, notwithstanding
the high pore refnement resulting from the use of these addi-
tional materials in cement.
3. At a loading age of 7 days, all mixtures achieved creep
values lower than the reference concrete, reaching levels of
up to a 77% reduction for the blast-furnace slag mixture.
This general reduction in creep is a consequence of the high
increase in the stiffness, similar to that commented on at the
age of 3 days, and a likely improvement in the aggregate-
cement paste interface transition zone.
4. The trend toward increased creep during early ages of
testing and its reduction at ages greater than 3 days confrm
that admixtures contribute to the enhancement of thermome-
chanical problems in mass concrete when only the direct effect
on creep is analyzed. However, it is important to highlight
that there are other signifcant effects promoted by admix-
tures in mass concrete, which can contribute to reducing the
risk of thermal cracking with the possibility of reducing the
cement consumption and increasing the mechanical strength.
5. Granulated blast-furnace slag had the highest infuence
on creep behavior. The concrete mixture containing this
mineral admixture showed creep values four times higher
544 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
than the reference concrete at a loading age of 1 day and a
reduction of 77% in creep at 7 days, as previously mentioned.
On the other hand, the HRWRA mixture achieved the
highest increase in creep, with a 2.5-fold increase at an age
of loading of 1 day compared to the reference concrete but a
milder reduction of only 6% from the seventh day of loading.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors are grateful to Laboratório de Concreto de Furnas Centrais
Elétricas S.A., Brazil, for their unconditional support throughout the
experimental program; to Agência Nacional de Energia Elétrica (ANEEL)
for the fnancial support to the research project; and to G. Sensors, repre-
sentative of Fiber Sensing Products in Brazil for her partnership with
the researchers to customize the optical extensometers—an application
precursor in creep tests. The authors are also grateful to the civil engineers
M. Alexandre, A. Neiry, A. Liduário, E. Gambale, F. de Lima, F. Mamede,
and A. de Castro, as well as the technicians L. Matiazzo, J. Bonifácio,
G. Ramos, and Á. Donizete for their technical and operational support
of the project.
NOTATION
Bs = concrete mixture with blast-furnace slag
Cc = concrete mixture with calcined clay
C-S-H = calcium-silicate-hydrated
e
s(t)
= autogenous shrinkage strain
F
j
= basic creep ratio
HRWRA = concrete mixture containing HRWRA
J
(t – t0)
= creep compliance function
Mk = concrete mixture with metakaolin
Pl = concrete mixture with plasticizer
Rf = reference concrete (without admixtures)
R
s
= autogenous shrinkage ratio
t = age of concrete
t
0
= age of concrete from start of loading during creep test
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(in Portuguese)
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 545
Title no. 109-M53
ACI MATERIALS JOURNAL TECHNICAL PAPER
ACI Materials Journal, V. 109, No. 5, September-October 2012.
MS No. M-2011-224.R1 received November 30, 2011, and reviewed under Institute
publication policies. Copyright © 2012, American Concrete Institute. All rights reserved,
including the making of copies unless permission is obtained from the copyright
proprietors. Pertinent discussion including author’s closure, if any, will be published in
the July-August 2013 ACI Materials Journal if the discussion is received by April 1, 2013.
Proposed Flexural Test Method and Associated
Inverse Analysis for Ultra-High-Performance
Fiber-Reinforced Concrete
by Florent Baby, Benjamin Graybeal, Pierre Marchand, and François Toutlemonde
stress-strain constitutive law, an inverse analysis is necessary
to determine the uniaxial tensile behavior.
Analytical inverse analyses for four-point fexural tests
on UHPFRC or high-performance fber-reinforced cementi-
tious composites (HPFRCCs) have been developed by many
researchers (AFGC-SETRA 2002; Ostergaard et al. 2005;
Kanakubo 2006; Qian and Li 2008; Rigaud et al. 2011)
with some success. The AFGC-SETRA (2002) simplifed
inverse method for thin UHPFRC elements, which engages
the applied load and the midspan defection, is based on the
equilibrium of moments and forces in a sectional analysis.
This method assumes a bilinear curve for the UHPFRC
constitutive law and knowledge of the initiation point for
nonlinear behavior. However, the nonlinear behavior initia-
tion point value obtained through four-point bending tests
cannot be directly used due to a signifcant size effect
(Chanvillard and Rigaud 2003; Frettlöhr and Reineck 2010),
thus inducing diffculties for the analysis of experimental
results concerning the loss of linearity.
Analytical methods developed by Kanakubo (2006) and
Qian and Li (2008), which use a sectional analysis similar
to that developed by Maalej and Li (1994), are based on
a simplifed tensile elastic-plastic curve. The Qian and Li
(2008) procedure, which has been developed for the quality
control of strain-hardening cementitious composite (SHCC),
requires only the knowledge of the maximum applied load
and the corresponding load-point defection. The Kanakubo
(2006) method is based on the measurement of the applied
load and the curvature in the constant bending moment zone.
These simplifed inverse methods are not able to predict the
real tensile stress-strain curve when considered in terms of a
point-by-point curve. Moreover, the assumption of uniform
stress distribution along the tensile height can induce a
strength overestimation.
The Rigaud et al. (2011) inverse analysis method uses the
experimentally captured bending-moment-versus-midspan-
defection response, which is converted into a bending-
moment-versus-curvature response through an equation that
relates the midspan defection of the prism to the curvature
along the middle third of the span. This equation, which is
similar to the one used by Qian and Li (2008), is based on
structural elastic mechanics and considered as reasonably
The tensile stress-strain response of ultra-high-performance
fber-reinforced concrete (UHPFRC) is a fundamental constitu-
tive property, and reliable knowledge of this response is neces-
sary for appropriate application of the tensile-carrying capacity
of such advanced cement-based materials. Flexural test methods
whose implementation is well-established present a test procedure
capable of assessing this property. Nevertheless, these methods
provide indirect information and need to be complemented by
inverse analysis to quantify the intrinsic tensile behavior of tested
materials. Moreover, bias or scatter can be induced when simpli-
fed constitutive laws are assumed for the analysis. Flexural tests
were completed on multiple types of commercially available
UHPFRC. Relying on direct strain measurements, a new inverse
analysis method is presented and qualifed, compared with an
existing simplifed method, and also compared with results from
direct tensile tests (DTTs). The advantages and limitations of the
experimental and analysis methods were derived.
Keywords: bending test; fexural test; inverse analysis; strain distribution;
tensile stress-strain response; ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC);
ultra-high-performance fber-reinforced concrete (UHPFRC).
INTRODUCTION
Ultra-high-performance fber-reinforced concrete (UHPFRC)
is a class of cementitious composite materials designed to
exhibit outstanding mechanical and durability properties,
including sustained postcracking tensile strength (Richard
and Cheyrezy 1995; Naaman and Reinhardt 1996; Behloul
1996; AFGC-SETRA 2002; Chanvillard and Rigaud 2003;
Walraven 2009; Toutlemonde and Resplendino 2010;
Graybeal 2011). Laboratory tests of structural elements have
clearly indicated that UHPFRC components can exhibit
tensile mechanical properties far in excess of those expected
from conventional concretes and fber-reinforced concretes
(FRCs) (Graybeal 2006a, 2009; Sato et al. 2008; Baby et al.
2010; Bertram and Hegger 2010; Toutlemonde et al. 2010).
Specifc quantifcation of these tensile mechanical properties
has proven diffcult, however, leading to hesitancy among
designers considering the engagement of these properties in
UHPFRC components within the civil infrastructure. Many
researchers have attempted to develop test methods for the
assessment of the tensile performance of FRCs. Test methods
have included both direct and indirect assessments, including
some that have been standardized (RILEM TC162-TDF
2001, 2002). Most of them are based on the defnition of a
stress-crack-opening law, consistent with design methods of
reinforced concrete (RC) and conventional FRC structures.
Due to the multiple-fne-cracking behavior of UHPFRC
elements, however, a stress-strain approach is more appro-
priate. When using four-point fexural tests for identifying a
546 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
fnite element analysis, but no direct comparison with direct
tensile test results has been published.
RESEARCH SIGNIFICANCE
The focus of this research was to optimize an analysis
method for deriving the tensile stress-strain response of
UHPFRC from four-point fexural tests. The midspan strain
measurement on the specimen tensile face, as captured by two
staggered extensometers, is used to obtain the experimental
bending-moment-versus-midspan strain on the tensile face
response and also to determine the crack localization. Then,
a point-by-point inverse analysis is used to derive the tensile
stress-strain relationship. Thus, the UHPFRC tensile stress-
strain relationship is derived through a method that reduces
the reliance on assumed behaviors, thereby increasing the
fundamental soundness of the analytically produced results.
PROPOSED METHOD
Concerning the tensile stress-strain response of UHPFRC,
the easiest way to determine the strain value without making
any assumptions is to use a direct measurement. In this
test program, two linear variable differential transformers
(LVDTs) used as extensometers are applied to the tensile
face of each specimen to measure the midspan strain on
the tensile face and determine the crack localization. Then,
the tensile stress-strain relationship of the tested material
is derived from the experimental bending-moment-versus-
midspan strain on the tensile face response without assuming
the profle of the tensile stress-strain curve.
Determination of crack localization
The use of a pair of staggered LVDTs allows for simpli-
fed identifcation of crack localization (as shown in Fig. 1).
This setup helps to distinguish the onset of bifurcation of
the cracking process with crack localization over one of the
gauge lengths while cracking remains diffuse over the other
gauge length, as shown in Fig. 2(a).
In some cases, two localized cracks can occur before one
main failure crack develops, or the localized crack can be
detected by both LVDTs, as shown in Fig. 2(b). For these
cases, the crack localization is assumed to correspond to the
maximum bending stress.
In some instances, such as the one shown in Fig. 2(c),
three steps can be observed:
• First step: Displacements measured by both LVDTs
increase;
• Second step: One displacement stops increasing; and
• Third step: An unloading branch occurs with a
decreasing value for one displacement.
In this case, the experimental bending-moment-versus-
midspan strain on the tensile face response can exhibit a
long plateau with little increase of the load before reaching
the maximum load. During this step, the displacement rate
reported by one displacement stops increasing, indicating
that the damage is not completely localized. This step could
be explained by a very low stress decrease in the “localized
crack” combined with the bending confguration, which
allows stabilization or a small increase in the load.
Clearly, in some cases, crack localization can occur before
reaching the maximum bending stress. This is not addressed
within the methods described by Kanakubo (2006), Qian and
Li (2008), and Rigaud et al. (2011), each of which assume
that crack localization corresponds with the maximum
bending stress.
Florent Baby is a Researcher in the Structures Department of the French Institute
of Science and Technology for Transport, Development and Networks (IFSTTAR)
(formerly the French Central Laboratory of Roads and Bridges [LCPC]), Paris,
France. He graduated from Ecole Nationale des Travaux Publics de l’Etat and Master
MEGA at Lyon, Lyon, France. His research interests include the behavior of structures
made of ultra-high-performance fber-reinforced concrete (UHPFRC) and advanced
cementitious materials characterization.
ACI member Benjamin Graybeal leads the Structural Concrete Research Program
for the Federal Highway Administration at the Turner-Fairbank Highway Research
Center, McLean, VA. He received his BS and MS from Lehigh University, Bethlehem,
PA, and his PhD from the University of Maryland, College Park, MD. He is a
member of ACI Committee 239, Ultra-High Performance Concrete. His research
interests include structural application of advanced cementitious materials, concrete
material characterization, experimental evaluation of highway bridge structures, and
nondestructive evaluation techniques.
Pierre Marchand is the Head of the Structural Engineering Unit of IFSTTAR
(formerly LCPC). He graduated from École Polytechnique, Palaiseau, France, and
École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées, Champs-sur-Marne, France. His research
interests include steel and concrete structures, including UHPFRC.
ACI member François Toutlemonde is the Deputy Head of the Bridges and Structures
Department of IFSTTAR (formerly LCPC). He graduated from École Polytechnique
and École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées and is the President of the ACI Paris
Chapter. His research interests include high-rate dynamics of concrete structures;
structural effects of alkali-aggregate reaction (AAR) and delayed ettringite
formation (DEF); and structural applications of high-performance concrete (HPC),
fber-reinforced concrete (FRC), and UHPFRC.
valid for nonlinear behavior. The method is based on the
equilibrium of moments and forces in a sectional analysis
for each value of curvature, and the corresponding bending
moment does not need to assume the profle of the tensile
stress-strain relationship. A genuine constitutive point-by-
point tensile stress-strain curve is thus derived. Nevertheless,
the equation used to convert the defection into curvature
induces an underestimation of the curvature for a given
value of the defection. As a consequence, methods based
on this mechanical assumption underestimate the real strain
during the pseudo-strain-hardening phase and overestimate
the postcracking stress.
A hinge model that takes into account the tensile strain
hardening and the infuence of the crack localization
including the softening (that is, stress versus crack opening)
behavior, has been used by Ostergaard et al. (2005) in an
inverse analysis procedure to derive tensile mechanical prop-
erties from a beam fexural response. The localized defor-
mation has to be determined from the actual localization
mechanism, specifcally from experimental observations
for each tested specimen. Tensile properties derived from
this procedure agree well with results developed through
Fig. 1—Midspan strain measurement: staggered extenso-
meters on tensile face.
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 547
Point-by-point inverse analysis
The experimentally captured bending-moment-versus-
midspan strain on the tensile face response is converted into
a tensile stress-strain curve through an inverse method appli-
cable from elastic loading through crack localization. The
stress-strain curve is based on the equilibrium of moments
and forces in a sectional analysis for each value of midspan
strain on the tension face and the corresponding bending
moment. Assumption of the profle of the tensile stress-
strain relationship is not required. The main difference with
the point-by-point inverse analysis of Rigaud et al. (2011) is
the fact that the experimental midspan strain at the extreme
tension fber is directly measured, not derived from a global
measurement and a mechanical assumption.
The strain distribution is considered as linear. This assump-
tion is acceptable if the UHPFRC has a pseudo-strain-hard-
ening behavior in tension. The compressive behavior of
UHPFRC is assumed to be linear elastic, which is realistic
for this kind of material (Behloul 1996).
For each strain measurement, the position of the neutral
axis is determined via the inverse analysis, as detailed from
Eq. (1) to (15). The width and height of the specimen are
noted b and h, respectively. The variable E is the elastic
modulus (obtained either from compressive tests on cylin-
ders or derived from the elastic part of the experimentally
captured bending-moment-versus-midspan strain on the
tensile face response). The height of the zone under tension
is a
n
h and F is the curvature. Compressive stresses and
strains are considered as negative and tensile stresses and
strains are considered as positive.
• In the zone under compression
( )
2
2
( ) ( )
1
2
n n
h h
c c n
h h
n
N b z dz b E z h dz
h
b E
a a
= ⋅ s ⋅ = − ⋅ ⋅ f⋅ −a ⋅
∫ ∫
= − ⋅ ⋅ f⋅ a − ⋅
(1)
( )
3
3
( ) 2 3
6
n
h
c c n n
h
h
M b z z dz b E
a
= ⋅ s ⋅ ⋅ = − ⋅ ⋅ f⋅ + a − a ⋅

(2)
• In the zone under tension
( ) ( )
t n
z h z e = f⋅ a − (3)
At the extreme tension fber, e
t
is equal to e
tf
and at the
neutral axis, e
t
is equal to zero. Thus
( )
0 0
( )
tf n
h
t t t t t t
b
N b dz d
e a
= ⋅ s e ⋅ = ⋅ s e ⋅ e
∫ ∫
f
(4)
2
0 0
( ) ( )
tf n
h
t t t n t t t t t
b
M b z dz h N d
e a
= ⋅ s e ⋅ ⋅ = a ⋅ − ⋅ s e ⋅ e ⋅ e
∫ ∫
f
(5)
This inverse analysis uses a discretization of the tensile
stress-strain relationship (e
t,i
, s
t,i
). The previous equations
can be used to consider two successive loading steps in the
section: the loading step i and the loading step i + 1. Between
these two loading steps, the strain at the extreme tension
fber increases from e
tf,i
to e
tf,i + 1
and the corresponding stress
changes from s
t,i
to s
t,i + 1
. For these two loading steps, there
are two different curvatures and two neutral axis positions.
Therefore, at loading step i
,
,
0
( )
tf i
t i t t t
i
b
N d
e
= ⋅ s e ⋅ e

f
(6)
,
, , , 2
0
( )
tf i
t i n i t i t t t t
i
b
M h N d
e
= a ⋅ − ⋅ s e ⋅ e ⋅ e

f
(7)
Fig. 2—Proposed method to detect crack localization with identifcation of
elastic unloading.
548 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
has to be deduced. Thus, e
t,f + 1
is computed to take into
account the off-plane distance (OPD) of the LVDTs
, 1
, 1 , 1
, 1
OPD
n i
tf i tf i measured
n i
h
h
+
+ + −
+
a ⋅
e = × e
a ⋅ +
(14)
Finally, starting from e
tf,i + 1 – measured
, e
tf,i + 1
and
then s
t,i + 1
are determined.
Because the description of the test results is discrete and
the inverse method uses a sort of derivative of the moment
curve, oscillations of the tensile stress-strain relationship
often occur. It has been shown that it can be stabilized by
correcting iteration i after calculating iteration i + 1. In prac-
tice, it is suffcient to reposition the stress of iteration i by
determining a moving average of the following type
( )
, , , 1
1
2
3
t i t i t i +
s = ⋅ s + s × (15)
If the stress does not vary suddenly (which is the case
in practice), this correction does not affect the response
and leads to much more realistic results. This stabilization
operation must be carried out at the end of each iteration
to be taken into account in the calculation of the following
iterations. From the raw result, a smooth constitutive curve
further usable for design can be obtained by using a polyno-
mial interpolation or a moving average.
The validation of the proposed model was frst established
by using a simple self-consistency case, which consists of
generating a bending-moment-versus-strain curve by a direct
calculation, then verifying that the result obtained with the
inverse analysis is similar to the tensile stress-strain relation-
ship used in the direct calculation. Moreover, the procedure
has been used for the interpretation of a dedicated experi-
mental program described in the following.
EXPERIMENTAL PROGRAM: FLEXURAL TESTS
Specimens and parameters
The experimental program included the completion of
four-point fexural tests on four sets of UHPFRC specimens
and other associated tests, such as direct tension tests, as
well as compressive tests aimed at determining the UHPFRC
constitutive law in compression. Table 1 provides details
on the four sets of specimens, including which tests were
completed on each set. The frst character of the specimen
name indicates the type of UHPFRC material used and the
second character indicates the type of curing regime applied.
At loading step i + 1
, 1
, 1
,
, 1
0
1 1
,
1
( )
( )
tf i
tf i
tf i
i
t i t t t
i i
t i t t t
i
b
N d
b
N d
+
+
e
+
+ +
e
e
+
f
= ⋅ s e ⋅ e =

f f
⋅ + ⋅ s e ⋅ e

f
(8)
( )
, 1
,
2
, 1 , 1 , 1 , , , 2
1
2
1
( )
tf i
tf i
i
t i n i t i t i n i t i
i
t t t t
i
M h N M h N
b
d
+
+ + +
+
e
e
+
f
= a ⋅ + ⋅ −a ⋅
f
− ⋅ s e ⋅ e ⋅ e

f
(9)
For both the previous equations, the last term can be
expressed in discrete form using the trapezoidal method for
integral computation, so that N
t,i + 1
and M
t,i + 1
read
( )
, 1 ,
, 1 , , 1 ,
1 1
1
2
t i t i i
t i t i tf i tf i
i i
N N b
+
+ +
+ +
s + s f
= ⋅ + ⋅ ⋅ ⋅ e − e
f f
(10)
( )
( )
2
, 1 , 1 , 1 , , , 2
1
, 1 , 1 , ,
, 1 , 2
1

2
i
t i n i t i t i n i t i
i
t i tf i t i tf i
tf i tf i
i
M h N M h N
b
+ + +
+
+ +
+
+
f
= a ⋅ + ⋅ −a ⋅
f
s ⋅ e + s ⋅ e
− ⋅ ⋅ e − e
⋅ f
(11)
All parameters at loading step i are considered as already
determined. Thus, solving this inverse problem consists
of determining the parameters a
n,i + 1
and s
t,i + 1
to satisfy
mechanical equilibrium in the section
, 1 , 1
0
t i c i
N N
+ +
+ = (12)
, 1 , 1 1 c i t i i experimental
M M M
+ + + −
+ = (13)
An option to implement this inverse analysis could be to
iterate on a
n,i + 1
with respect to Eq. (13).
Concerning the tensile strain at midspan, the effect of the
possible additional lever arm due to sensor fxation devices
Table 1—Sets of test specimens and UHPFRC material properties
Specimen
set UHPFRC
Steel-fber
volumetric
percentage
Curing
regime
Four-point
fexure—
short
Four-point
fexure—
long
Direct
tensile test
(DTT)—short
DTT—
long
Density,
kg/m
3

(lb/ft
3
)
Compressive
strength, MPa
(ksi)
Modulus of
elasticity,
GPa (ksi)
F1A F 2 Steam — X X X
2570
(160.4)
220
(32.0)
61.0
(8840)
F2A F 2 Lab — X X X
2545
(158.9)
192
(27.9)
62.8
(9110)
F1C F 2.5 Steam X X X X
2569
(160.4)
212
(30.7)
60.3
(8740)
B2A B 2.5 Lab X X X —
2690
(168.0)
213
(30.9)
63.9
(9270)
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 549
A “1” indicates that the specimen set was subjected to steam
treatment after setting at 90°C (194°F) and 95% humidity
for 48 hours, while a “2” indicates that the specimen set was
held in a standard laboratory environment until the time of
testing at 90 days. The intent of the steam treatment is to
increase the mechanical characteristics of the concrete and
to accelerate attainment of the fnal maturity of the heat-
treated component. For UHPFRC “F,” the steam treatment
is part of the usual manufacturing process. All specimens
in a particular set were cast from an individual batch of
UHPFRC. Three UHPFRC mixtures were engaged in this
study (Table 2). The UHPFRC “F” mixtures are effectively
the same, aside from the two different volumetric percent-
ages of fber reinforcement. This particular UHPFRC is
commercially available in North America. UHPFRC “B”
was included in this study so as to engage a different class
of UHPFRC. This UHPFRC is commercially available in
Europe. The density, compressive strength, and compressive
modulus of elasticity for each set of specimens are provided
in Table 1.
Two different specimen lengths with corresponding
changes in four-point fexural test confguration were tested
within the program. “Long” refers to a 431.8 mm (17 in.)
long prism with a cross section of 50.8 x 50.8 mm (2 x 2 in.),
a span of 355.6 mm (14 in.), and a distance between the
upper rollers equal to 101.6 mm (4 in.). “Short” refers to
a 304.8 mm (12 in.) long prism with a cross section of
50.8 x 50.8 mm (2 x 2 in.), a span of 228.6 mm (9 in.), and a
distance between the upper rollers equal to 76.2 mm (3 in.).
In all cases, the specimens were single-point cast-in pris-
matic molds, allowing the UHPFRC to fow along the length
of the form.
Loading setup and instrumentation
All bending tests were completed in a four-point fexural
loading confguration. During the test, the load, defection
of the prisms, and midspan strain at the bottom fange (two
staggered values) were measured.
The loading control of the test was accomplished by
completing the test in a servo-hydraulic load frame. The
control signal for all tests was the stroke with the imposed
rate equal to 0.25 mm/minute (0.001 in./minute), as recom-
mended in AFGC-SETRA (2002).
The two upper load points and the two lower support
points were realized using steel rollers that impart no axial
restraint on the prism. The blocks above the upper rollers
were supported by 51 mm (2 in.) deep solid steel beams
that were connected to a spherical bearing, which ensures
that all rollers are bearing on the prism during the test. This
assembly has to be set on the specimen prior to the start of
the test. As a consequence, the infuence of the upper block
weight (26 kg [57 lb]) is taken into account by an analytical
post treatment.
Concerning the measurement of the midspan defection, a
yoke similar to the one recommended by ASTM C1018-97 is
used to measure net values exclusive of any extraneous effects
due to seating or twisting of the specimen on its supports or
deformation of the support system.
Point-by-point tensile stress-strain relationships
developed from proposed inverse analysis
In Fig. 3, the average tensile stress-strain relationships
obtained from the proposed point-by-point inverse analysis
method are presented for each specimen group (with fve
or six specimens per batch). These curves are obtained by
applying the inverse method to the average point-by-point
bending-moment-versus-midspan strain on the tensile
face curve and then (from the raw results) using a third-
degree polynomial interpolation with a strain interval equal
Table 2—UHPFRC mixtures
Material
UHPFRC
“F-2%,” kg/m
3
UHPFRC
“F-2.5%,” kg/m
3
UHPFRC “B,”
kg/m
3
Premix 2195 2161 2296
High-range water-
reducing admixture
30 29 50
Steel fbers
F
f
= 0.2 mm;
L
f
= 13 mm
156 195 0
Steel fbers
F
f
= 0.3 mm;
L
f
= 20 mm
0 0 195
Water 130 128 190
Notes: 1 kg/m
3
= 1.685 lb/yd
3
; 1 mm = 0.039 in.
Fig. 3—Average tensile stress-strain relationships obtained from proposed point-by-point
inverse analysis method.
550 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
a consequence, a statistical size effect that induces a lower
mean value would be expected. Nevertheless, the experi-
mental results show the contrary phenomenon (the results for
long specimens are higher than for short specimens), which
could be explained by the fact that the longer the prism, the
more preferential the orientation of the fbers. The effects of
fber size, fber orientation, and the specimen casting method
infuence the test results (Spasojevic´ 2008).
The comparison of results between Specimens F1A-L
and F2A-L shows the well-known effect of the steam treat-
ment on the mechanical properties (Behloul 1996; Graybeal
2006b).
COMPARISON OF PROPOSED POINT-BY-POINT
PROCEDURE WITH SIMPLIFIED METHOD
The point-by-point tensile stress-strain curves derived
from the proposed procedure may be useful to appreciate the
real tensile postcracking behavior of UHPFRC. Nevertheless,
simplifed bilinear curves are convenient when considered
in terms of design issues or fnite element model (FEM)
analyses. Thus, average and characteristic bilinear curves
can be obtained from the proposed procedure by using a
linear interpolation of the postcracking part of the curves
resulting from the inverse analysis previously described
herein (refer to Fig. 4). The construction of the characteristic
bending-moment-versus-midspan strain on the tensile face
curve begins by determining, for each strain interval, the
mean value of the bending moment (with fve or six speci-
mens per batch) and the standard deviation. The character-
istic point-by-point bending-moment-versus-midspan strain
on the tensile face curve is obtained by subtracting the corre-
sponding standard deviation from the mean value multiplied
by the Student coeffcient (Student’s law with 5% quantile)
equal to 2.015 for six specimens and 2.132 for fve speci-
mens. For the characteristic tensile stress-strain curves, the
fnal strain e
min-ppt
is equal to the minimum of the following
strains (e
min-ppt-1
, e
min-ppt-2
):
• For each specimen group, e
min-ppt-1
is the minimum of all
e
Specimen-k-min-ppt
, where e
Specimen-k-min-ppt
is the strain corre-
sponding with an identifcation of the elastic unloading
(if identifed) or the strain at the maximum equivalent
bending stress for the specimen k.
• For each specimen group, e
min-ppt-2
is the strain corre-
sponding to an irreversible decreasing of the stress
in the stress-strain curve obtained from the inverse
analysis of the characteristic bending-moment-versus-
strain relationship.
These bilinear curves obtained from the results of the
proposed point-by-point method can be compared with those
to 300 mm/m. The fnal strain e
end-ppt
of these curves is the
minimum of the following strains (e
end-ppt-1
, e
end-ppt-2
):
• For each specimen group
5 or 6
- -1 - - -
1
1
5 or 6
end ppt Specimen k end ppt
k =
e = ⋅ e ∑
(16)
where e
Specimen-k-end-ppt
is the strain corresponding to an
identifcation of the elastic unloading (if identifed) or
the strain at the maximum equivalent bending stress for
the specimen k.
• For each specimen group, e
end-ppt-2
is the strain corre-
sponding to an irreversible decreasing of the stress
in the average stress-strain curve. Before reaching
the maximum equivalent bending stress, the load can
increase due to the increase of the internal lever arm
while the stress at the bottom fange has already begun
to decrease. The crack localization has thus occurred
before reaching the maximum apparent bending stress.
It should be noted that the procedure that consists of
applying the inverse analysis method to the average point-
by-point bending-moment-versus-midspan strain on the
tensile face curve gives similar results to the procedure that
consists of determining the average curve from all tensile
stress-strain relationships obtained for each specimen (in
taking into account the same fnal strain e
end
).
Before reaching crack localization, a difference between
the slopes of both curves “Strain 1 versus average strain”
and “Strain 2 versus average strain” was observed for many
specimens (refer to Fig. 2). This means that the damage is
not perfectly homogeneous in the constant bending length
and is more important in a particular zone. This phenomenon
could induce a dependence of the measured crack localiza-
tion strain with the extensometers. For this reason, it can be
interesting to compare the average (e
a,k
) and the minimum
(e
min,k
) of both staggered LVDT measurements at crack
localization (refer to Table 3). The deviation between the
average strain and the average minimum strain is approxi-
mately 20% for the majority of specimen groups, except for
Specimen F2A-L, which is 10%. This deviation seems to
be quite high. It could be explained by the relatively low
number of cracks in the gauge length. Indeed, the maximum
gauge length is equal to 5 × L
f-max
and the average space
between cracks is approximately 0.75 × L
f
(Jungwirth 2006).
Thus, testing with a longer constant bending moment zone
may reduce this deviation.
For long prisms, the length of the constant bending
moment zone is more important than for short prisms. As
Table 3—Average strain and average minimum strain corresponding to elastic unloading
Name of specimen group
Average strain (e
a,k
) (from all prisms k for each specimen
group) corresponding to elastic unloading
Average minimum strain (e
min,k
) (from all prisms k for each
specimen group) corresponding to elastic unloading
Average strain
Standard deviation
(number of specimens) Average minimum strain
Standard deviation
(number of specimens)
B2A-S 0.0097 0.0021 (6) 0.0076 0.0032 (6)
B2A-L 0.0084 0.0023 (6) 0.0069 0.0030 (6)
F1A-L 0.0080 0.0016 (5) 0.0065 0.0032 (5)
F2A-L 0.0054 0.0025 (5) 0.0049 0.0021 (5)
F1C-S 0.0065 0.0029 (6) 0.0048 0.0023 (6)
F1C-L 0.0076 0.0020 (5) 0.0062 0.0027 (5)
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 551
derived from a simplifed inverse analysis, which directly
assumes a bilinear curve for the UHPFRC constitutive law.
Concerning the AFGC-SETRA (2002) analysis, the value of
the loss of linearity is necessary. Nevertheless, as explained
previously, for some specimen groups, the value of the stress
at the loss of linearity obtained through four-point bending
tests cannot be directly used due to a scale effect. Moreover,
the specimen size induces diffculties to measure the curva-
ture from two LVDTs fxed with jigs, as indicated in the
Kanakubo (2006) method.
For these reasons, the Qian and Li (2008) inverse analysis
was chosen as a simplifed inverse analysis for the sake of
comparison. The global procedure used in the Qian and Li
(2008) method to obtain a simplifed tensile stress-strain
relationship is described in Fig. 5. By conducting parametric
studies based on a fexural behavior model, “master curves”
can be constructed in terms of:
• Tensile strain capacity with respect to defection
capacity; and
• Normalized modulus of rupture (MOR) (MOR =
6M
max
/bh
2
) or maximum equivalent fexural stress by
effective tensile strength s
te
with respect to tensile
strain capacity.
For the tensile-strain-capacity-versus-defection-capacity
master curve, as compared with the Qian and Li (2008)
method, the calculation of defection corresponds to the
midspan defection (that is, not the load-point defection) and
the stress distribution in the compressed zone is considered as
linear. In the context of this research, the master curves were
identifed from a parametric study, where the range of para-
metric values concerning the tensile properties was focused
Fig. 4—Derivation of average and characteristic bilinear curves: proposed point-by-
point method.
552 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
on common values for UHPFRC to be more precise—the
tensile loss of linearity and ultimate tensile strength ranging
from 6 to 14 MPa (870 to 2030 psi), the modulus of elasticity
ranging from 50 to 65 GPa (7252 to 9427 ksi), and the tensile
strain capacity ranging from 0.0005 to 0.0140. For each test
confguration, 126 cases were investigated in the parametric
study within the considered range of material parameters.
Eighteen linear curves were obtained and used to plot the
master curves. The MOR/s
te
-versus-strain-capacity master
curve was also constructed with the same range of para-
metric values concerning the tensile properties focused on
common values for UHPFRC, as described previously. For
each specimen size, 90 cases were investigated in the para-
metric study, and 10 linear curves were obtained and used
to plot the master curves. For each specimen group and for
the average and characteristic curves, only the mean master
curve was used to quantify the deviation in terms of strength
and strain capacity between the simplifed inverse analysis
and the point-by-point method.
Fig. 5—Outline of Qian and Li (2008) method.
The fnal strain e
end-simp
of the average curves obtained with
the Qian and Li (2008) simplifed inverse analysis is, for
each specimen group, the average of all e
Specimen-k-simp
, where
e
Specimen-k-simp
is the strain identifed with the mean master
curve of tensile strain capacity versus defection capacity for
the specimen k.
The characteristic tensile stress-strain curve is obtained by
applying the Qian and Li (2008) simplifed inverse analysis
to the characteristic bending-moment-versus-midspan-
defection curve with a fnal strain e
min-simp
equal to the
minimum of all e
Specimen-k-simp
, where e
Specimen-k-simp
is the strain
identifed with the mean master curve tensile strain capacity
versus defection capacity for the specimen k.
In Tables 4 and 5, the average and characteristic bilinear
tensile stress-strain relationships obtained from the proposed
point-by-point inverse analysis and the Qian and Li (2008)
simplifed inverse method are presented for each specimen
group. In considering the average stress of the postcracking
part of the bilinear tensile stress-strain curve ((s
1
+ s
2
)/2),
the stress overestimation induced by the mechanical
assumption to convert the defection into curvature and
by the assumption of uniform stress distribution along the
tensile height is, on average for all specimen groups, equal
to 7% (with a maximum close to 10%) for the average curves
and 10% (with a maximum close to 14%) for the character-
istic curves. In terms of strains, the underestimation of the
considered strain at crack localization obtained by the Qian
and Li (2008) simplifed inverse analysis procedure is, on
average, equal to 15% (with a maximum close to 24%) for
the average curves and 22% (with a maximum close to 40%)
for the characteristic curves.
COMPARISON WITH DIRECT TENSILE TEST
(DTT) RESULTS
A joint research program was recently completed by
the U.S. Federal Highway Administration and the French
IFFSTAR (formerly LCPC) to develop a DTT applicable
to UHPFRC that covers the full range of uniaxial tensile
behavior through strain localization and can be completed
on cast or extracted specimens (Graybeal et al. 2012). In the
context of this study, this DTT method was applied for all
specimen groups, except for Specimen B2A-L. In Fig. 6, the
average tensile stress-strain relationships obtained from the
proposed point-by-point inverse method, the Qian and Li
Table 4—Average bilinear tensile stress-strain relationships (for each specimen group) derived from
fexural tests associated with inverse analysis and obtained with DTTs
B2A-S B2A-L F1A-L F2A-L F1C-S F1C-L
Average curves
Proposed point-by-
point method
s
a
1
, MPa (ksi) 9.22 (1.33) 9.60 (1.39) 10.17 (1.48) 8.79 (1.28) 11.12 (1.61) 10.35 (1.51)
s
a
2
, MPa (ksi) 11.36 (1.65) 11.87 (1.73) 10.59 (1.54) 9.18 (1.33) 11.13 (1.61) 11.31 (1.64)
e
1
0.000153 0.000159 0.000184 0.000160 0.000203 0.000192
e
end-ppt
0.008200 0.007400 0.008000 0.005400 0.006500 0.007600
Qian and Li (2008)
simplifed method
s
a
1
, MPa (ksi) 11.00 (1.60) 11.12 (1.61) 10.99 (1.59) 9.92 (1.44) 11.99 (1.74) 11.91 (1.73)
e
1
0.000185 0.000185 0.000203 0.000181 0.000233 0.000226
e
end-simp
0.007100 0.006600 0.006100 0.004300 0.006100 0.006300
DTTs
s
a
1
, MPa (ksi) 8.86 (1.28) — 10.00 (1.45) 8.60 (1.25) 10.30 (1.49) 10.50 (1.52)
s
a
2
, MPa (ksi) 10.14 (1.47) — 10.00 (1.45) 9.00 (1.31) 11.10 (1.61) 11.55 (1.67)
e
1
0.000144 — 0.000180 0.000155 0.000185 0.000194
e
end-dtt
0.007400 — 0.004200 0.003000 0.004800 0.006000
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 553
increasing strain is predominantly due to increasing crack
openings as opposed to further crack initiation.
To compare the results derived from the proposed inverse
analysis method and the Qian and Li (2008) simplifed proce-
dure with the DTT results, bilinear curves were constructed
from the sampled tensile stress-strain responses obtained
with DTTs (refer to Tables 4 through 6).
(2008) simplifed inverse analysis, and the average experi-
mental curves obtained from the DTT are presented for each
specimen group. During DTTs of Specimens B2A-S and
F1C-L, after an early phase during which multi-cracking
occurred, a hardening phase followed without new cracks.
Indeed, as explained in Fischer and Li (2007), multiple crack
formation can appear as stabilized when all available matrix
faws at ambient stress have been activated. Afterward, the
Fig. 6—Average tensile stress-strain curves for each specimen group: point-by-point
inverse method, Qian and Li (2008) analysis, and DTT.
Table 5—Characteristic bilinear tensile stress-strain relationships (for each specimen group) derived from
fexural tests associated with inverse analysis and obtained with DTTs
B2A-S B2A-L F1A-L F2A-L F1C-S F1C-L
Characteristic curves
Proposed point-by-
point method
s
c
1
, MPa (ksi) 6.27 (0.91) 7.57 (1.10) 7.97 (1.16) 5.92 (0.86) 8.43 (1.22) 8.65 (1.26)
s
c
2
, MPa (ksi) 6.27 (0.91) 8.66 (1.26) 8.59 (1.25) 8.27 (1.20) 8.46 (1.23) 10.55 (1.52)
e
1
0.000104 0.000126 0.000144 0.000108 0.000154 0.000160
e
min-ppt
0.007400 0.006800 0.006440 0.002840 0.004150 0.005150
Qian and Li (2008)
simplifed method
s
c
1
, MPa (ksi) 6.87 (1.00) 9.12 (1.32) 9.07 (1.32) 8.25 (1.19) 9.32 (1.35) 10.53 (1.52)
e
1
0.000115 0.000152 0.000168 0.000151 0.000181 0.000200
e
min-simp
0.004400 0.005600 0.004600 0.002500 0.003800 0.003900
DTTs
s
c
1
, MPa (ksi) 7.50 (1.09) — 7.70 (1.12) 6.60 (0.96) 8.80 (1.28) 9.50 (1.38)
s
c
2
, MPa (ksi) 7.82 (1.13) — 7.70 (1.12) 7.70 (1.12) 10.20 (1.48) 9.50 (1.38)
e
1
0.000130 — 0.000140 0.000110 0.000160 0.000165
e
min-dtt
0.005600 — 0.003000 0.001500 0.003900 0.005200
554 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
Table 6—General comparison of results derived from both inverse analysis methods with DTT results
Strength Pseudo-strain-hardening
Average curves
Proposed point-by-point method
Global trend Overestimation Overestimation
Average deviation, % +3 +30
Maximum deviation, % +8 +48
Minimum deviation, % –2 +9
Qian and Li (2008) simplifed method
Global trend Overestimation Overestimation
Average deviation, % +10 +16
Maximum deviation, % +14 +32
Minimum deviation, % +7 –4.5
Characteristic curves
Proposed point-by-point method
Global trend Underestimation Overestimation
Average deviation, % –5 +26
Maximum deviation, % +7 +53
Minimum deviation, % –22 –1
Qian and Li (2008) simplifed method
Global trend Overestimation No trend
Average deviation, % +5 +2
Maximum deviation, % +15 +38
Minimum deviation, % –11 –35
In terms of strength, the proposed point-by-point inverse
analysis method slightly overestimates the strength when
considering average curves and underestimates the post-
cracking stress when considering characteristic curves. The
Qian and Li (2008) simplifed inverse procedure slightly
overestimates the stress for average and characteristic curves.
In terms of strain, the Qian and Li (2008) simplifed inverse
method results are closer to DTT results than the proposed
inverse procedure. Nevertheless, this smaller deviation is due
to the co-existence of two opposed effects when considering
the Qian and Li (2008) simplifed inverse procedure:
• The fexural tests involve an overestimation of the strain
capacity due to the fact that the side under higher tension
corresponds to the zone where the preferential orienta-
tion of fbers is optimal. This phenomenon has already
been observed by Tailhan et al. (2004) on a multi-scale
cement-based composite (MSCC). Completing the tests
on larger prisms would minimize the strain gradient
effect and thus would allow the results to be closer to the
DTT results. Investigating this size effect was outside of
the scope of this experimental program.
• As explained previously, the Qian and Li (2008) simpli-
fed inverse method underestimates the real strain
capacity in fexural confguration due to the mechanical
assumption used to convert the defection into curvature.
In terms of strength, the comparison between DTTs
and both inverse methods based on fexural tests presents
different results when considering the average or character-
istic curves. This change is due to a “statistical size effect.”
For the fexural tests, the tensile area is smaller than in the
DTTs. As a consequence, on average, the results are better
for fexural tests, but the impact of an eventual composite
(matrix and fbers) faw is greater and the standard deviation
is more important. Thus, the characteristic strength can be
inferior for fexural tests.
CONCLUSIONS
The research described herein presents a new method
based on fexural tests to determine the tensile stress-
strain response of UHPFRC with pseudo-strain-hardening
behavior in tension. This method uses two staggered LVDTs
employed as extensometers to obtain the experimental
bending-moment-versus-midspan strain at the tensile face
curve and also to capture the crack localization. It is then
associated with a point-by-point inverse analysis. Thus, the
UHPFRC tensile stress-strain relationship is derived while
minimizing the assumptions that can introduce deviations or
artifacts in the results. In particular, assumption of the profle
of the tensile stress-strain relationship is not required.
A comparison of this method with the Qian and Li (2008)
simplifed inverse procedure was completed on diverse
UHPFRC specimens with different steel-fber ratios or
different curing regimes. The results show a slight strength
overestimation and a strain underestimation during the
pseudo-hardening phase (in fexural confguration) in this
simplifed inverse method, induced by the assumption of
uniform stress distribution along the tensile height and by
the mechanical assumption used to convert the defection
into curvature.
From the comparison with the companion DTT results,
the following specifc conclusions can be drawn:
• The average tensile stress-strain response of UHPFRC
derived from fexural tests is slightly higher in terms
of strength and strain capacity when compared with
curves obtained from DTTs. This response results
from a smaller tested tensile zone for fexure tests.
Coincidently, the characteristic values can be inferior
for fexural tests due to a larger standard deviation.
This conclusion was demonstrated through the use of
an inverse analysis method that minimizes the assump-
tions, thus providing more realistic and reliable results.
• Using larger cross-section prisms would minimize the
strain gradient effect and thus would likely facilitate
greater coincidence in the accuracy of the fexure test
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 555
results as compared to the DTT results to provide reli-
able design fgures. In the case of thin elements made of
UHPFRC under predominant direct tension and whose
characterization of tensile postcracking behavior is real-
ized from four-point fexural tests, the strain capacity
has to be reduced to take into account the strain overes-
timation (before reaching crack localization) due to the
fexural test confguration.
The proposed method confrms the effciency of an inverse
analysis integrating direct strain measurements along with
the possibility of defning a design stress-strain law within
the appropriate validity range.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This work was supported by the IFSTTAR and FHWA departments in
charge of Scientifc Issues and International Relationships. The authors
would thus like to acknowledge the support of H. Van Damme, S. Proeschel,
P. Malléjacq (IFSTTAR), D. Elston, I. Saunders, and C. Richter (FHWA).
They are also pleased to thank the teams from the IFSTTAR Structures
Laboratory and the TFHRC Structures Laboratory for their technical help.
The publication of this article does not necessarily indicate approval or
endorsement of the fndings, opinions, conclusions, or recommendations
either inferred or specifcally expressed herein by FHWA, the U.S. govern-
ment, IFSTTAR, or the French government.
NOTATION
b = prism width
E = elastic modulus
h = prism height
M
c
= bending moment of zone under
compression
M
max
= maximum bending moment
M
t
= bending moment of zone under tension
M
t,i + 1
, a
n,i + 1
, f
i + 1
, e
tf,i + 1,
= refers to loading step i + 1
N
c
= axial force of zone under compression
N
c,i
, M
c,i
, N
t,i
, M
t,i
, a
n,i
, f
i
, e
tf,i,
= refers to loading step i
N
c,i + 1
, M
c,i + 1
, N
t,i + 1,
= refers to loading step i + 1
N
t
= axial force of zone under tension
z = ordinate (vertical axis)
a
n
= relative height of zone under tension
e
t
(z) = tensile strain at ordinate z
e
tf
= strain at extreme tension fber
e
tf – measured
= average of two extensometers’
measurement
f = curvature
s
c
(z) = compressive stress at ordinate z
s
t
(e
t
) = stress corresponding to strain e
t
s
te
= effective tensile strength
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ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 557
Title no. 109-M54
ACI MATERIALS JOURNAL TECHNICAL PAPER
ACI Materials Journal, V. 109, No. 5, September-October 2012.
MS No. M-2011-228 received July 19, 2011, and reviewed under Institute publication
policies. Copyright © 2012, American Concrete Institute. All rights reserved, including
the making of copies unless permission is obtained from the copyright proprietors.
Pertinent discussion including author’s closure, if any, will be published in the July-
August 2013 ACI Materials Journal if the discussion is received by April 1, 2013.
A First-Cut Field Method to Evaluate Limestone
Aggregate Durability
by Julienne Ruth Emry, Robert H. Goldstein, and Evan K. Franseen
Crumpton 1981; Clowers 1999). D-cracking is character-
ized by fne, closely spaced cracks parallel to joints at the
surface of the concrete and is believed to be caused when
porous aggregates in the concrete become saturated with
water and are subjected to repeated cycles of freezing and
thawing (Clowers 1999; Lamont and Pielert 2006; Glass
1990). The result of these studies was the establishment of
a series of standard physical tests to determine aggregate
durability (Wallace and Hamilton 1982) that were patterned
after ASTM standard physical tests and published studies on
aggregate durability (Clowers 1999). The implementation of
these standard tests in Kansas led to a decrease in the propor-
tion of highways with D-cracking, from 48% of those paved
from 1961-1974 to currently less than 1% (Clowers 1999).
Other state, national, and international governmental
agencies require similarly extensive testing to evaluate
the physical properties of aggregate in response to long-
term weathering (Lamont and Pielert 2006; Won 2005;
EFNARC 2002; Koubaa and Snyder 1996). Many of the
standard physical tests, such as ASTM C666/C666M-03
(2008), require the production of test concrete cylinders
that are subjected to many freezing-and-thawing cycles
in the lab (Lamont and Pielert 2006). Acquiring results
from tests such as ASTM C666/C666M can take upward
of 6 months due to both the time needed to produce and
test the cylinders and the fact that labs often have backlogs
of samples waiting for testing. These long wait times can
lead to inadequate sampling of aggregates, which can lead
to a failure to detect the great lateral and vertical variability
that is typical of sedimentary carbonates (for example,
McKirahan et al. [2003], Enos [1983], Heckel [2002],
Moore [1935], Crowley [1969], and Franseen and Gold-
stein [2004]). KDOT researchers have documented this
high degree of variability within individual ledges (Cowers
1999; Wallace and Hamilton 1982) and have noted that,
because of this variability, the samples used for physical
tests may not be representative of all the material quarried.
Quality control issues and the costs associated with using
low-quality aggregate are factors illustrating a growing need
for effective frst-cut feld techniques to evaluate limestone
aggregate durability. While KDOT requires that geolo-
gists inspect aggregate-producing ledges once every 2 years
(Clowers 1999), most quarries do not employ geologists to
monitor aggregate quality during quarrying. Therefore, devel-
oping feld-based methods to determine aggregate durability
The demand for durable limestone aggregate and concerns about
environmental sustainability are current industry issues. Lime-
stone aggregate abundance, lithologic variability, and extensive
testing by the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) make
Kansas an excellent locality for developing a feld-based technique
for assessing aggregate durability. This study documents a frst-
cut method for evaluating aggregate resistance to freezing and
thawing prior to subjecting samples to time-consuming physical
tests such as ASTM C666/C666M. Gamma-ray-spectrometry-
measured potassium (K) radioisotopes on a quarry face were
statistically determined to be predictive of aggregate freezing-and-
thawing resistance. A logistic model based on maximum potassium
value (K
max
) provided the best prediction of resistance to freezing
and thawing, as described by the statistical likelihood that a lime-
stone bed with a micritic matrix will pass or fail KDOT physical
tests (KTMR-21 and ASTM C666/C666M). In areas of limestone
production, where resistance to freezing and thawing is a concern,
this fast, inexpensive, frst-cut methodology could be calibrated to
region-specifc physical tests.
Keywords: D-cracking; durability; freezing-and-thawing resistance; gamma-
ray spectrometry; sustainability.
INTRODUCTION
Industrial demand for durable limestone aggregate for
state, county, and municipal projects is increasing in the
United States. In the state of Kansas, limestone aggregate
is an abundant resource that plays a signifcant role in the
state’s economy. In 2008, almost 22 million tons (20 million
tonnes) of crushed limestone valued at $171 million dollars
was used or sold by Kansas aggregate producers (http://
www.fhwa.dot.gov/engineering/geotech/hazards/mine/
workshops/kdot/kansas01.cfm#table1). Although limestone
aggregate production is an important industry in Kansas,
concerns about limestone aggregate quality have led some
municipalities to legislate the use of hard rock aggregate
(for example, granite, rhyolite, and quartzite) imported
from other states (http://www.kcmmb.org/Specs/specs.asp).
Importing aggregate from other states when in-state aggre-
gate resources are abundant and easily quarried can be costly
and is a waste of local resources. In a review of the environ-
mental impacts of concrete production, Mehta (2001) cited
transportation as an environmental cost due to the heavy use
of fossil fuels. Therefore, the use of local aggregate is desir-
able for both environmental and economic sustainability.
Identifying and developing tools to predict the vari-
ables that affect carbonate aggregate quality is an industry
priority (Keyser et al. 1984; Klieger et al. 1974; Koubaa
and Snyder 1996; Shakoor 1982). For example, persistent
problems with D-cracking in concrete pavements prompted
the Kansas Department of Transportation (KDOT) to
conduct six studies between 1920 and 1980 to understand
the factors involved in identifying and producing durable
limestone aggregate (Bukovatz et al. 1973; Bukovatz and
558 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
clay minerals (illite, kaolinite, and smectite)—may reduce
the freezing-and-thawing resistance of limestone aggregate.
McKirahan et al. (2000) suggested that a hand-held
gamma-ray spectrometer could be used as a frst-cut tool for
evaluating aggregate durability, both due to its response to
clay content in limestones and because measurements can
be made rapidly on the face of the quarried ledge. A gamma-
ray spectrometer measures the amount of the three major
sources of natural gamma radiation in rocks (potassium,
uranium, and thorium) along with the total gamma radiation.
This device works on the principle of passive detection of
the products of the radioactive decay series of
238
U,
232
Th,
and
40
K (Durrance 1986). The spectrometer used in this
study (Fig. 1) uses an NaI crystal detector and a
137
Cs refer-
ence source with a precision of 0.01 nGyn/Hz to quantify the
amount of the daughter products detected. The justifcation
behind using this tool is based on three observations related
to clay properties: 1) clay minerals have signifcantly higher
potassium content than carbonates; 2) clay minerals are often
associated with organic material that fxes uranium; and 3)
some clay minerals can adsorb thorium (Doveton 1994).
Almost all methods for determining aggregate durability
are lab-based, such as electrical resistivity (Sengul and
Gjørv 2008), vacuum absorption (Williamson et al. 2007),
and thermogravimetric methods (Dubberke and Marks
1994). Field-based methods are virtually nonexistent; there-
fore, the purpose of this project was to evaluate the validity
of using a gamma-ray spectrometer as a frst-cut tool to eval-
uate limestone aggregate freezing-and-thawing resistance.
Spectrometer-derived measurements were compared to tests
calibrated to a modifed ASTM C666/C666M test run by
KDOT. These data were used to develop a probability-based
model to evaluate limestone aggregate quality.
RESEARCH SIGNIFICANCE
Environmental and sustainability issues associated with
the increasing demand for limestone, dolomite, and marble
(carbonate) aggregate, quality control issues, and the
increased cost associated with using low-quality aggregate are
all factors that illustrate a growing need for effective frst-cut
techniques that can predict long-term resistance to freezing
and thawing. Such techniques can be used as a screening tool
for standardized physical tests, such as ASTM C666/C666M,
that are commonly used to evaluate aggregate freezing-and-
thawing resistance. Gamma-ray spectrometry provides a
successful probability-based frst-cut feld tool to evaluate
limestone aggregate freezing-and-thawing resistance.
EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE
Locations and stratigraphic units tested
The selection of sites for this study was based on three
primary criteria: location, accessibility, and whether
the primary physical tests for rating aggregate quality
(KTMR-21 test [KDOT 2007] and ASTM C666/C666M
Test Procedure B) had been performed on the ledges.
The 12 selected quarries are in eastern Kansas and western
Missouri and are operated by seven different companies
(Fig. 2). Stratigraphic intervals (ledges) from 10 different
stratigraphic units were sampled to incorporate as much
lithologic variability as possible.
Physical test protocol
The physical tests were run by KDOT on samples collected
by KDOT geologists. Samples were gathered to represent all
Julienne Ruth Emry is a PhD Student at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS.
She received her BA from Colorado College, Colorado Springs, CO, in 1999, and her
MS from the University of Kansas in 2006. Her research interests include feld-based
methods for predicting aggregate quality in carbonate aggregates, carbonate deposi-
tional environments and sequence stratigraphy, and the formation and alteration of
Archean rocks.
Robert H. Goldstein is the Haas Distinguished Professor in the Department of
Geology at the University of Kansas. He received his BS in geology from Juniata
College, Huntingdon, PA, in 1979, and his MS and PhD from University of Wisconsin-
Madison, Madison, WI, in 1981 and 1986, respectively. His research interests include
the stratigraphy and diagenesis of limestone and dolomite, and developing new tech-
niques for the application of fuid inclusions in sedimentary rocks.
Evan K. Franseen is a Professor in the Department of Geology and Senior Scientifc
Fellow at the Kansas Geological Survey (University of Kansas). He received his PhD
in geology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1989. His research interests
include sedimentology, stratigraphy, and diagenesis of carbonate rocks, and geologic
applications for understanding aggregate durability.
that are both quantitative and easy-to-use is important to
ensure long-term production of consistent aggregate products.
An initial project by the authors’ research team (McKi-
rahan et al. 2000) focused on evaluating the factors that
affect the quality of limestone aggregate. This study showed
that all limestone textural classifcations (Dunham 1962)
may produce aggregate with high resistance to freezing
and thawing. The presence of abundant fne-grained
carbonate matrix (micrite), medium-grained carbonate
matrix (microspar), or abundant spar (coarsely crystalline
chemical precipitate) has no apparent impact on freezing-
and-thawing resistance. Bulk spar percentage, spar size,
insoluble residue percentage, and grain size have some
control over freezing-and-thawing resistance, but are not
reliable indicators of aggregate performance on the modi-
fed ASTM C666/C666M freezing-and-thawing resistance
test. Of all the variables examined, the strongest correlations
between rock properties and modifed ASTM C666/C666M
physical test results were total clay percentage, clay distribu-
tion, and composition of insoluble residues. Specifcally, the
higher the percentage of clay-rich limestone strata observed
in the KDOT limestone bed, the poorer the performance in
the standard KDOT physical tests. Exceptions to this trend
were clays concentrated in stylocumulates (seams created
by pressure dissolution) or clays in shaley beds, which may
or may not have a negative impact on aggregate durability.
McKirahan et al. (2000) hypothesized that the composition
of insoluble residues—specifcally, the presence of three
Fig. 1—Photo of handheld gamma-ray spectrometer used in
this study. This specifc model has channels to detect total
gamma radiation, K, U, and Th.
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 559
strata in vertical intervals of rock ledges in quarries. KDOT
breaks quarry ledges into KDOT beds based on parameters
such as the general physical appearance of the rocks, basic
rock type, and natural breaks in the ledges that affect produc-
tion. These are essentially stratigraphic units that a quarry
operator can recognize in a quarry face. KDOT beds vary in
thickness, but are often essentially the same as the lithologic
or stratigraphic beds that make up the limestone deposit.
Multiple limestone layers, which can differ in lithology,
can be combined into a single KDOT bed due to production
issues, such as blasting techniques and earth-moving equip-
ment capabilities. Physical tests are run on splits of the bulk
samples taken from each KDOT bed.
KDOT uses the KTMR-21 test and a modifed version of
the ASTM C666/C666M Standard Test Procedure B to char-
acterize the freezing-and-thawing resistance of aggregate
resources. Aggregate samples rated as Class 1 are required
for highway construction and must have a modifed freezing-
and-thawing value of at least 0.85 from the KTMR-21 test
and durability factor of 95% or more, and an expansion value
of 0.025 or less from the ASTM C666/C666M test. Current
KDOT practice frst involves testing the aggregate samples
according to KTMR-21. The KTMR-21 Modifed Freeze-
Thaw Test is based on the method proposed by Scholer and
Stoddard (1932). It involves sieving the aggregate to estab-
lished specifcations, weighing the aggregate, immersing
it in water, and running the samples through 25 freezing-
and-thawing cycles, after which the material is sieved and
weighed again. The ratio of remaining weight of the sample
to the original weight of the material is calculated to deter-
mine the percent weight of the sample remaining after the
test. For details of KTMR-21, “Soundness and Modifed
Soundness of Aggregates by Freezing and Thawing,” refer to
Clowers (1999).
If the aggregate sample “soundness and modifed sound-
ness of aggregates by freezing and thawing” value is 0.85 or
greater (85% of the sample weight is retained), then the
sample is tested further, using modifed ASTM C666/C666M
Procedure B (Clowers 1999). Other test protocols, including
specifc gravity, adsorption, acid-insoluble residue, and Los
Angeles abrasion are then often performed, but not required.
The modifed ASTM C666/C666M Procedure B test
involves constructing test concrete cylinders from the aggre-
gate samples and subjecting the cylinders to 300 freezing-
and-thawing cycles, after which the durability factor and
the expansion value (which is the percent length change of
the cylinder) are calculated. KDOT designates rock classes
based on the results of three of the physical tests performed
on the samples.
Gamma-ray spectrometry
Quarries commonly remove and stockpile shales that are
interbedded with limestones to access the limestone units
for quarrying. During this process, shale particles become
airborne and collect on the limestone ledges. Shale units,
particularly the black shales in the area, are more radioac-
tive than other rock types (Doveton 1994) and shale dust
is common on the surfaces of the ledge. Most quarries also
actively crush limestone into aggregate-sized pieces on site,
creating a large amount of limestone dust that collects on
the ledges, which could also affect the gamma-ray spectrom-
eter readings. Therefore, to remove dust from each ledge, a
cleaning procedure was employed before performing spec-
trometry. The cleaning procedure used a 2700 psi (186.2 bars)
gasoline-powered power-washer supplied with water from
a 50 gal. (189.3 L) pressurized cement-mixer tank. The
ledges were power-washed for a maximum of 5 minutes
until most of the water running down the ledge was clear.
After washing, 11.8 in. (300 mm) intervals were marked
from the base to the top of the ledge to match the sampling
radius of the spectrometer, thereby ensuring a continuous
measurement of the natural gamma radiation of the rock
(Geophysical Gamma-ray Spectrometer 2001). To avoid
bias due to weathered material and material washed off the
outcrop, the frst measurement at the base of each outcrop
and any readings of weathered material at the top of the
ledges were discarded from the data sets.
A collection time of 3 minutes was used for each sample
point to obtain an appropriate statistical sample for rocks rela-
tively low in radiation (Geophysical Gamma-ray Spectrom-
eter 2001). Uneven surfaces can affect the signal acquired by
the spectrometer, so it was held stable on the surface of the
rock at a relatively fat point on the outcrop face, as per the
manufacturer’s recommendation (Geophysical Gamma-ray
Spectrometer 2001). The sampling radius of the instrument
used was 11.8 in. (300 mm) and this was used to determine
the sample spacing on the outcrop (Geophysical Gamma-
ray Spectrometer 2001). Data generated by the gamma-ray
spectrometer included total gamma radiation, potassium,
uranium, and thorium in both counts-per-second (nGyn/Hz),
and concentration (ppm or %) for each of the 948 sample
points in 22 stratigraphic sections. All spectrometry data
Fig. 2—Index map of quarry locations in Kansas and
Missouri. Multiple ledges were sampled at most locations.
560 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
Stratigraphic description
Detailed measurements and descriptions of the rock ledges
were recorded in the feld and reinforced with thin-section
petrography. Six rock-type classes were differentiated on the
basis of clay content, distribution of clay, and whether the
material between depositional grains in the limestone was
micrite (Dunham 1962) or sparry calcite. Micrite consists
of tiny crystals of calcite that are not discernible with a
10× hand lens. It appears as opaque, solid-looking mate-
rial surrounding coarser depositional grains in a limestone.
Sparry calcite consists of more translucent, coarsely crys-
talline calcite in which individual crystals are visible with
a 10× hand lens (Fig. 3). This study analyzed only lime-
stone materials that contained micritic matrix as a means of
limiting the number of variables.
Clays are typically distributed in three different ways in
limestones: disseminated clay, diffuse stylocumulates, and
concentrated stylocumulates or shale beds (Fig. 4). Stylo-
cumulates are clay-rich zones that occur within limestone
beds, commonly along bedding planes created by the pres-
sure dissolution processes. The six rock-type classes defned
in this study are limestones with 1) micrite matrix, dissemi-
nated clays, and diffuse stylocumulates; 2) micrite matrix
with disseminated clays; 3) micrite matrix only; 4) micrite
matrix with diffuse stylocumulates; 5) sparry calcite matrix,
which is disseminated clay-poor or diffuse stylocumulate-
poor; and 6) shale and siltstone.
Statistical analysis
Linear regression analysis was used to test for a relationship
between spectrometer measurements and the various KDOT
test measurements (KTMR-21 and modifed ASTM C666/
C666M). Logistic analysis was used to test for a relationship
between spectrometer measurements and a KDOT bed’s
pass-or-fail status.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Spectrometry—K
max
model
A total of 948 spectrometer readings were taken of potas-
sium (K), uranium (U), thorium (Th), and total radiation.
Both the median and maximum value for K, U, Th, and total
radiation for each KDOT bed were used to test for a relation-
ship between spectrometry measurements and the modifed
ASTM C666/C666M and KTMR-21 test results. Spectrom-
etry measurements tended to show higher and more vari-
able values where strata failed the KDOT physical tests and
where strata contained the highest stratigraphic thicknesses
of clay-rich strata. This result can be illustrated by comparing
stratigraphic section descriptions from a location where
samples passed the KDOT tests to achieve Class 1 designa-
tion (Fig. 5(a)) to a stratigraphic section description from a
location where samples failed the KDOT tests (Fig. 5(b)).
Linear regressions were performed on summary statistics
(maximum and median) to determine the degree to which
spectrometry values were related to the ASTM C666/C666M,
KTMR-21, and acid-insoluble residue values. Only 10 out
of 48 linear regressions were statistically signifcant at the
0.05 confdence level between physical tests and spectrom-
eter measurements. The r
2
values for all of the signifcant
tests were weak (maximum r
2
value of 0.4536), indicating
that spectrometer measurements do not predict KDOT phys-
ical test results accurately with a linear model. This result is
not surprising considering that a single, thin, low-durability
stratigraphic interval within a KDOT bed may lead to aggre-
are presented in the Appendix
*
and are organized by quarry
location and KDOT bed numbers.
Summary statistics of the gamma radiation data from
each KDOT bed were used for statistical comparison to the
KDOT physical test results. Included in the Appendix are the
KDOT physical test pass/fail status (where “pass” designates
samples that passed all the requirements for Class 1 designa-
tion and “fail” designates samples that did not meet one or
more of the aforementioned requirements); the three main
KDOT test result values (freezing-and-thawing soundness,
expansion, and durability factor); and the summary statis-
tics for each KDOT bed. At locations where it was possible
to measure centimeter-resolution stratigraphic sections, the
percent of clay-rich rock is also included.
*
The Appendix is available at www.concrete.org in PDF format as an addendum to
the published paper. It is also available in hard copy from ACI headquarters for a fee
equal to the cost of reproduction plus handling at the time of the request.
Fig. 3—Example of sparry calcite (A) and micritic matrix
(B) facies. Photo scale and detail are consistent with 10×
hand lens. Sparry matrix commonly looks glassy, is often
clear, and will refect points of light. Micritic matrix appears
opaque and individual grains and crystals cannot be seen
with 10× hand lens. (Note: M is micritic matrix; S is sparry
matrix; G is grain; and Rf is point of refected light.)
Fig. 4—Hypothetical illustration of two limestone beds with
various forms of clay distributed within them: (1) concen-
trated stylocumulates or thin shale beds are typically located
along bedding planes and may branch into surrounding
limestones; (2) concentrated stylocumulates can also occur
within limestones; (3) these commonly branch into slightly
more diffuse stylocumulates near their ends (3a) or have
zones of diffuse stylocumulates within them (3b); and (4)
diffuse stylocumulates also occur as thin wisps or stringers of
clay-rich material within limestones and may have “horse-
tail” appearance (4a) (after McKirahan et al. [2000]).
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 561
gate failure, and that overcoming a compositional or mechan-
ical threshold rather than linear degradation in rock properties
may lead to failure. Thus, a different approach to statistical
analyses was needed to determine if spectrometry measure-
ments could reliably indicate if a limestone bed would pass
or fail the physical tests.
As gamma radiation measurements are continuous vari-
ables and pass/fail status is a categorical variable, logistic
regression was used to compare gamma radiation values to
whether a limestone bed passed (1) or failed (0) the phys-
ical tests for aggregate freezing-and-thawing resistance
(Sokal and Rohlf 1995; Gotelli and Ellison 2004). Logistic
regression analyses were performed on all of the individual
summary statistics for measured K, U, Th, and total radia-
tion, and on several combinations of them. The results indi-
cate that maximum potassium value for a limestone bed
(K
max
) is the most useful gamma radiation measurement and
will be the focus of the remaining discussion (Fig. 6). All
additional analyses are included in the Appendix.
Fig. 5—Measured sections of middle of Argentine limestone (A) in Hunt-Midwest quarry in
Crawford, KS, and Ervine Creek limestone from Martin Marietta quarry in Big Springs, KS
(B). Eight of the 10 symbols shown in symbol key (crinoids, phylloid algae, oncoids, small
stromatolites, high-spired gastropods, brachiopods, coated shell fragments, and fenestrate
bryozoans) represent fossil organisms that are commonly found in rocks of this geologic
age. Stylocumulates are features formed by pressure dissolution processes that affect rocks
during burial. Gray rectangle denotes less than 4 in. (100 mm) shale bed in Ervine Creek
limestone. Vertical spacing between sample points is 11.8 in. (300 mm). Potassium values
for KDOT beds in weight % are plotted increasing from left to right on x-axis. K
max
values
in spectrometer data for KDOT beds are circled. Measured stratigraphic sections and
values for physical tests for expansion and durability (modifed ASTM C666/C666M) are
shown to the left of the spectrometer values. KDOT Bed 5 in Argentine limestone (A) passed
KDOT physical tests and upper part of KDOT Bed 6 was not tested at this locality. KDOT
Bed 2 in Ervine Creek Limestone failed KDOT physical tests, and KDOT Bed 3 failed
initial KTMR-21 protocol, so it was not tested for expansion and durability using modifed
ASTM C666/C666M test.
Fig. 6—Plot of K
max
versus Pass (y-coordinate of “1”)
or Fail (y-coordinate of “0”) for all KDOT beds. Several
ledges of each stratigraphic unit at different quarries were
tested. Individual stratigraphic units are indicated by
different shaped symbols. Note that anomalous reading for
Upper Farley limestone at Hunt Midwest Sunfower quarry
(UFarley_at_HMSun) was dropped from logistic model, as
described in the text.
562 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
the highest value for K
max
(Fig. 6). This lack of unique ranges
in K
max
values for individual stratigraphic units supports the
general applicability of the proposed model.
The logistic model shows that the probability of attaining
a Class 1 designation (passes the physical tests) decreases
as the K
max
value increases (Fig. 7). The equation for this
model is
2.81 ( 9.27)
2.81 ( 9.27)
1
max
max
K
K
e
p
e
+ −
+ −
=
+
(1)
where p is the probability that a limestone bed with a given
K
max
value will pass the physical tests for Class 1 designa-
tion. Logistic models allow the user to defne upper and
lower threshold values that provide the appropriate risk
for decision-making purposes. Based on consultation with
KDOT and quarry personnel, an 80% or greater probability
of passing was chosen as a conservative threshold value.
Thus, given the 80% threshold, a K
max
value in Region A
(Fig. 7) will have an 80% or greater probability of passing
the KDOT physical tests (or a 20% or less probability of
failing). Any ledge with a K
max
value in Region C will have
80% or greater probability of failing the KDOT physical
tests. Regions A and C (the top and the bottom of the curve)
are characterized by relatively fat slopes, indicating consis-
tently high or low probabilities of passing KDOT physical
tests. In contrast, the steep slope in Region B indicates that
a small change in K
max
would produce signifcant changes
in the probability of a limestone bed passing or failing the
KDOT physical tests. Using the 80% threshold, there are
four KDOT beds that have K
max
values that fall within Region
A (Fig. 7). Three out of these four KDOT beds passed the
physical tests required for class one aggregate (x-coordinate
of 1), which illustrates that at the 80% threshold, the model
would have correctly predicted that a KDOT bed would pass
or fail the physical tests 75% of the time. Applying the same
80% threshold value for Region C (a 20% probability or
less that the bed would pass the KDOT physical tests, or an
80% probability or greater that they would fail), there are
six KDOT beds with K
max
values that fall into this region
(Fig. 7). Note that all six KDOT beds are shown to have
failed the KDOT physical tests (x-coordinate of 0), which
illustrates that the model prediction was correct 100% of the
time. This is a critical result, as it illustrates the accuracy
of the model for predicting low-quality aggregate, which
could be very useful as a frst-cut test to identify aggregate
resources of exceedingly low quality. The remaining data lie
in Region B (Fig. X) and had probability values that did not
meet the 80% threshold value (either a probability of passing
80% of the time or failing 80% of the time). Thus, the tech-
nique’s function as a frst-cut technique is diminished with
mid-range K
max
values. Using the arbitrary 80% threshold
value, the technique does not perform well predicting the
pass/fail status of mid-range K
max
values. It performs well
with low K
max
values, which predict that resources will
pass the physical tests; and performs extremely well with
high K
max
values, which identify resources that will fail the
physical tests.
A spreadsheet that uses K
max
to calculate the probability
of passing or failing the KDOT physical tests of aggregate
durability in limestone is available (Emry et al. 2006). Other
Out of the 948 measurements, one anomalously high K
max

value from the upper Farley Limestone at the Hunt Midwest
Sunfower quarry was removed from the analyses (Gotelli
and Ellison 2004; Sokal and Rohlf 1995). The upper Farley
shows signifcant lateral variation within this quarry and
the area from which this anomalously high K
max
value was
generated is approximately 16.4 ft (5 m) from where the
original samples were taken for the KDOT physical tests. It
is therefore likely that the rock tested by KDOT 2 years prior
was very different than the rock analyzed with gamma-ray
spectrometery in this study.
Sampling 10 different geologic formations or members
was done by design to demonstrate the broad applicability
of the technique to limestones with micritic matrix, and to
avoid concerns that the technique might only be applicable
to a very specifc group of limestones in a very specifc
geographic region. In the initial analysis, there was a concern
that each of the 10 stratigraphic units evaluated might have
their own unique relationship between K
max
values and aggre-
gate durability, which could necessitate having a separate
model for each rock ledge. To address this potential bias by
stratigraphic unit, data for each stratigraphic unit were exam-
ined separately. It is apparent that each formation includes
a broad range of values, and no formation has values that
are clumped within a small range (Fig. 6). For example, the
Argentine Limestone includes one of the lowest values and
Fig. 7—Graph of logistic model of relationship between
maximum value for potassium (K
max
) and data from which
it was derived. Data plotted along y-coordinate at “0” are
those samples that failed and those plotted along y-coordi-
nate of “1” are samples that passed. Dashed lines dividing
plot into regions (A, B, and C) represent arbitrary 80%
threshold values that beds would pass or fail physical tests.
Region A represents values that have ≥80% probability
of passing physical tests. Region C represents values that
have ≤20% probability of passing (or ≥80% probability of
failing). Region B represents values that fall between ≥80%
probability that bed will pass or fail physical tests. Steep
slope in Region B indicates that small change in K
max
would
produce signifcant changes in probability that limestone
bed would pass or fail physical tests and illustrates that less
confdence should be given to probability predictions in this
range. Region B also represents that portion of model where
prediction of whether bed will pass or fail physical tests at
given threshold is not within that established threshold value.
Any threshold value quarry operators or governmental off-
cials deem useful depending on factors not addressed in this
study could be applied to this model.
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 563
threshold values could ultimately be used depending on
cost-beneft factors not addressed in this study.
This method is valuable in that it saves time and resources
by highlighting the best potential resources and, perhaps
most importantly, clearly identifying the worst. It would be
useful as a monitoring device to evaluate lateral changes
in rock properties during quarrying operations, or could be
useful in evaluating a new resource. Ultimately, it could help
prevent the incorporation of low-quality limestone aggregate
into portland cement concrete pavement. This method is not
intended to replace physical tests, but by being able to use an
appropriate threshold value, quarry operators would be able
to high-grade samples likely to pass the physical tests and
move them to the front of the line for production and testing.
It also allows operators to identify rock that would have a
high probability of failing the physical tests and either remove
them from consideration for production or fast-track them for
testing to rule them out as potential resources to exploit.
Visual inspection by a trained geologist to assess clay
content is an alternative frst-cut approach, but can be imprac-
tical. Changes in disseminated clay may not be readily visible
to a geologist without time-consuming laboratory analyses,
and many quarries do not employ full-time geologists to
visually inspect ledges during quarrying. Government geolo-
gists may also have a long inspection rotation (for example,
2 years for KDOT geologists), which can add signifcantly to
the time in which a questionable ledge must wait before it
can be inspected and a decision made as to whether it should
undergo physical testing. The spectrometry method provides
a fast, inexpensive, quantitative, and reproducible approach
to monitor limestone ledges during quarrying, and it can be
performed on site in real time by existing personnel. Due to the
fact that this method correlates spectrometry readings to pass/
fail status instead of specifc test protocols, it can be easily
adapted for use in other states or countries that have different
test standards for aggregates in portland-cement concrete.
APPLICATION
There are a variety of scenarios in which the spectrom-
eter percent potassium (K%) values would be useful.
For example, as a quarry development tool, K% data can
be acquired as soon as a ledge is opened to obtain a base-
line value for material to be correlated with physical tests.
Subsequent spectrometer readings should be compared to
the original values to track quality control of the ledge as
it is quarried. Also, as a visual change is seen in a quarried
ledge, K% measurements are warranted, enabling govern-
ment personnel and quarry operators to test the probability
that the ledge would continue to pass physical tests.
The spectrometry data could also be used to track local
and regional consistency or discover inconsistencies in K%
values within a ledge. This may help identify consistent
sources of durable aggregate or at the very least identify
nascent problems due to the natural geologic variability seen
within limestone beds. Tracking consistency in this manner
should help to ensure that inferior aggregate is not included
in aggregates that are used for highway construction. By
taking readings in new quarries on newly exposed ledges,
the methodology would be useful as an aggregate resource
exploration tool. For example, if the K
max
value predicts a
probability of passing below the accepted threshold value,
then resources could be directed to more likely candidates.
If the spectrometer methodology is broadly implemented, a
gamma-ray measurement database for each stratigraphic unit
could be developed. Building such databases would help to
refne the statistical model proposed herein, and could be used
to produce maps related to resource quality. As predictive
methods for identifying future limestone aggregate resources
are virtually nonexistent, this quantitative method has poten-
tial to be an important time- and resource-saving tool.
The application requires frst power-washing a quarry face
and identifying that the limestone has a micritic matrix. The
spectrometer is then used to measure K% values. If K
max

values for a specifc limestone ledge fall within Region A
(Fig. 7), the ledge has a high probability of producing highly
durable aggregate. Resources that fall into this category
could then be high-graded for physical testing. If values are
in Region C, the ledge has a high probability of producing
poor aggregate subject to degradation during freezing-and-
thawing conditions, and these ledges could be either ruled
out entirely or high-graded in the testing queue to rule them
out using physical testing. This could be particularly impor-
tant, especially if the ledges in question would need to be
removed to access geologically lower units that may produce
higher-quality aggregate. If K
max
values are in Region B, then
no decision should be made on the basis of the K
max
values
and it would be up to quarry operators or governmental
agencies to decide how and when physical tests should be
performed on these ledges.
CONCLUSIONS
Based on the fndings of this study, the following conclu-
sions can be made:
1. The study’s results suggest that K
max
values obtained from
gamma-ray spectrometry can be used to determine if a given
limestone bed with micritic matrix will pass or fail standard
physical tests of aggregate freezing-and-thawing resistance.
2. K
max
values appear to correlate with clay content, which
is a primary factor in the freezing-and-thawing resistance of
limestone aggregate. Porosity in limestone aggregates, espe-
cially those with sparitic matrix, can also be a factor in resis-
tance to freezing and thawing. Focusing on limestones with
a micritic matrix can help mitigate durability issues associ-
ated with porous limestone aggregates.
3. This project established a novel, feld-based method
based on gamma-ray spectrometry to predict limestone
aggregate freezing-and-thawing resistance. A predictive
model using logistic regression of spectrometer data is viable
for frst-cut evaluation of the probability that a limestone bed
will pass or fail freezing-and-thawing resistance tests. It is
not intended to replace standard physical tests; instead, it
maximizes effciency in time and resources used to perform
physical tests. This allows for faster characterization and
identifcation of high-quality aggregate resources, and allows
low-quality aggregate to be eliminated from production.
4. As logistic regression allowed for a threshold value
for K
max
to be established in this study, it is reasonable to
hypothesize that these values relate to threshold amounts of
disseminated clay in limestones that lead to aggregate with
high or low freezing-and-thawing resistance.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
This project was funded by KDOT Grant K-TRAN: KU-03-2. The
Kansas Geological Survey also provided support for this project during
the frst author’s employment as a visiting scientist. R. Henthorne provided
logistical help, R. Houser provided GIS advice, J. Kelly provided statis-
tical analysis and sampling methodology advice, D. Powell helped with
X-ray diffraction, and G. Macpherson provided access to lab equipment.
Thank you to J. Emry, who provided feld assistance and useful comments
on the manuscript. The authors also want to thank G. Lane; F. Rockers
564 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
from Shawnee Rock Co.; D. Maroney, R. Bryant, J. R. Downs, B. Foster,
J. Kagarice, J. Nicholson, and C. Reed from Martin Marietta; T. Degonia,
R. Stanley, and J. Epperson from Ashgrove Aggregates: the Stanley family
for access to their private quarry, D. Patton from APAC; J. Crowley; J. Ciero
at the Hunt Midwest Crawford Quarry; and R. Gonzales from Hamm Quar-
ries for quarry access.
NOTATION
K
max
= maximum potassium value in weight percent for KDOT bed
measured with gamma-ray spectrometer
K% = weight percent potassium measured with gamma-ray spectrometer
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ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 565
Title no. 109-M55
ACI MATERIALS JOURNAL TECHNICAL PAPER
ACI Materials Journal, V. 109, No. 5, September-October 2012.
MS No. M-2011-234.R1 received November 17, 2011, and reviewed under Institute
publication policies. Copyright © 2012, American Concrete Institute. All rights reserved,
including the making of copies unless permission is obtained from the copyright
proprietors. Pertinent discussion including author’s closure, if any, will be published in
the July-August 2013 ACI Materials Journal if the discussion is received by April 1, 2013.
Investigation of Properties of Engineered Cementitious
Composites Incorporating High Volumes of Fly Ash
and Metakaolin
by E. Özbay, O. Karahan, M. Lachemi, K. M. A. Hossain, and C. Duran Atis¸
negative effects of higher cement content in ECC produc-
tion, Yang et al.
11
replaced cement with high volumes of fy
ash (FA) (up to 85% by weight) and concluded that both
the crack width and free drying shrinkage were reduced
with increased FA content. Increasing the FA/PC ratio up to
5.6 decreased compressive strength (from 52.6 to 21.4 MPa
[7.63 to 3.10 ksi]) and tensile strength (from 5.7 to 3.5 MPa
[0.83 to 0.51 ksi]) and increased chloride-ion permea-
bility
12
drastically while reducing drying shrinkage to
approximately 1000 × 10
–6
. However, these negative effects
of high-volume FA on the mechanical- and durability-related
properties of ECC may be remedied with the binary use of
FA and metakaolin (MK).
MK is an ultra-fne material produced by the dehydroxyl-
ation of a kaolin precursor by way of heating it to 650 to
900°C (1202 to 1652°F).
13,14
MK is a silica-based product
that, on reaction with Ca(OH)
2
, produces CSH gel at ambient
temperatures. MK also contains alumina that reacts with CH
to produce additional alumina-containing phases, including
C
4
AH
13
, C
2
ASH
8
, and C
3
AH
6
. This pozzolanic material has
been extensively investigated, particularly in relation to its
effects on the durability and other properties of portland
cement (PC) composites.
15,16
Previous research has shown
that the inclusion of MK in concrete remarkably improves
early-age mechanical properties and enhances resistance
to alkali-silica reaction,
17
sulfate attack,
18
and chloride-ion
permeability.
19
Introducing high-reactivity MK into concrete
also ameliorates the energy absorption or toughness of high-
performance steel fber-reinforced concrete.
20
Therefore,
for applications where both enhanced durability and high
toughness are required, the use of high-reactivity cementi-
tious composites containing MK may be advantageous.
13,20
This study investigated the binary uses of FA and MK in
the production of ECC. ECC mixtures with two different FA
+ MK-PC ((FA + MK)/PC) ratios (1.2 and 2.2 by weight)
were prepared by keeping the FA/MK ratio at 4.5. The
investigation focused on the experimental characterization
of compressive and fexural strengths, drying shrinkage,
water absorption (WA), water porosity (WP), sorptivity,
and chloride-ion permeability of ECC incorporating FA and
MK. Two types of ECC mixtures—standard (FA/PC = 1.2)
This study was carried out to develop engineered cementitious
composites (ECCs) incorporating binary blends of high volumes
of fy ash (FA) and metakaolin (MK) for the purpose of achieving
low drying shrinkage and high composite strength with adequate
ductility and improved durability. ECC, an ultra-ductile cement-
based composite reinforced with short random fbers, exhibits
strain-hardening and multiple-cracking behavior in uniaxial
tension and bending. Standard (M45) and high-volume FA ECC
mixtures are typically produced by replacing portland cement (PC)
with 55% and 70% of FA, respectively (FA-to-cement ratio of 1.2
and 2.2 by weight). In this study, the (FA + MK)/PC ratio was
maintained at 1.2 and 2.2 and the FA/MK ratio was maintained
at 4.5. Two replacement levels of MK with FA were adopted. The
investigation used 10% and 12.5% MK by weight of total binder
content, respectively. For the purposes of comparison, standard
and high-volume FA ECCs were also studied. To determine the
effect of binary blends of FA and MK on the properties of ECC, this
study focused on the evaluation of free drying shrinkage, fexural
and compressive strengths, porosity and water absorption (WA),
sorptivity, and chloride-ion permeability. The experimental results
showed that the drying shrinkage, porosity, absorption, sorp-
tivity, and chloride-ion permeability properties were signifcantly
reduced with the use of binary blends of FA and MK, while ECC’s
ultra-high ductility and strain-hardening properties were preserved
at an adequate level.
Keywords: drying shrinkage; durability; engineered cementitious
composites; metakaolin.
INTRODUCTION
Engineered cementitious composites (ECCs) consti-
tute one of the most signifcant developments in the feld
of strain-hardening fber-reinforced cementitious compos-
ites and are microstructurally tailored based on the micro-
mechanics design theory.
1-4
Their strain-hardening and
multiple-cracking behavior is characterized by a higher
load-carrying capacity after frst cracking of the matrix,
which is associated with the appearance of closely spaced
multiple cracks until composite peak load is reached.
5
The
tensile strain capacity of ECCs is 2 to 5%—several hundred
times that of normal concrete. The compressive strength
ranges from 50 to 80 MPa (7.25 to 11.6 ksi), depending
on the composition of the mixture, which puts ECCs in the
same class as high-strength concrete materials but without
the associated brittleness.
6
To obtain strain-hardening and
multiple-cracking behavior, only a small amount of fne sand
needs to be added to the matrix to control fracture tough-
ness.
7-10
Coarse aggregates are eliminated from the mixture,
resulting in a higher cement content than that of conven-
tional concrete. As a result of this special requirement, a
high-drying shrinkage strain must be developed during the
setting and hardening of the composite.
7
To eliminate the
566 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
and high-volume FA (FA/PC = 2.2)—were also studied for
comparison purposes.
RESEARCH SIGNIFICANCE
ECC is a newly developed, high-performance, fber-
reinforced cementitious composite with substantial bene-
fts in terms of improved ductility and durability due to
its minimum crack width. To obtain strain-hardening and
multiple-cracking behaviors, only a small amount of fne
sand needs to be added to the matrix to control the frac-
ture toughness. Coarse aggregates are eliminated from the
mixture, resulting in higher cement content than conven-
tional concrete. Therefore, a high drying shrinkage strain
must be developed during setting and hardening of this
unique composite. Researchers tried to decrease the drying
shrinkage of ECC mixtures by using high volumes of FA;
however, this resulted in a decrease in the mechanical and
durability properties. This study focused on the binary use
of FA and MK in ECC production. The negative effects of
high-volume FA on the mechanical- and durability-related
properties of ECC may be overcome with the binary use of
FA and MK.
EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE
Materials and mixture proportions
Two groups of ECC mixtures were prepared. The frst group
included standard and high-volume FA ECC, which incorpo-
rated Type I PC; Class F FA; normalweight microsilica sand
(with an average and maximum grain size of 110 and 200 mm
[0.004 and 0.008 in.], respectively); water; polyvinyl alcohol
(PVA) fbers; and a polycarboxylic-ether-type high-range
water-reducing admixture (HRWRA) with a solid content of
approximately 30%. The second group of ECC mixtures was
produced by replacing FA with MK at (FA + MK)/PC ratios
of 1.2 and 2.2 while maintaining a constant FA/MK ratio of
4.5. The chemical composition and physical properties of the
PC, FA, and MK used in this study are presented in Table 1.
The mixture proportions of the frst and second group of
ECCs can be found in Table 2. All four mixtures contained
2% fber content by volume. The fber used in this study
was an 8 mm (0.31 in.) long PVA fber 39 mm (0.002 in.) in
diameter with a tensile strength of 1600 MPa (235 ksi) and
Erdog˘ an Özbay is an Associate Professor in the Civil Engineering Department at
Mustafa Kemal University, Antakya, Turkey. His research interests include durability
of concrete, use of waste materials in concrete, and self-consolidating concrete.
Okan Karahan is an Assistant Professor in the Civil Engineering Department at
Erciyes University, Kayseri, Turkey. His research interests include construction
materials and concrete technology.
ACI member Mohamed Lachemi is a Professor of Civil Engineering and Dean of
the Faculty of Engineering and Architectural Science at Ryerson University, Toronto,
ON, Canada. He is a member of ACI Committees 231, Properties of Concrete at Early
Ages, and 237, Self-Consolidating Concrete. His research interests include the use of
high-performance materials in the built infrastructure, including the development and
use of self-consolidating concrete in construction.
ACI member Khandaker M. A. Hossain is an Associate Professor in the Department
of Civil Engineering at Ryerson University. He is a member of ACI Committees 213,
Lightweight Aggregate and Concrete, and 232, Fly Ash and Natural Pozzolans in
Concrete. His research interests include sustainable construction, high-performance/
self-consolidating concrete, reinforced concrete, and thin-walled composite structures.
Cengiz Duran Atis¸ is a Professor of Civil Engineering and Dean of the Faculty
of Engineering at Abdullah Gul University, Kayseri, Turkey. His research interests
include construction materials and reinforced concrete structures.
Table 1—Characteristics of cement, FA, and MK
Chemical composition Cement FA MK
Sum (SiO
2
+ Al
2
O
3
+ Fe
2
O
3
) 27.60 85.60 95.00
SiO
2
, % 19.60 59.50 61 to 64
Al
2
O
3
, % 4.90 22.20 30 to 32
Fe
2
O
3
, % 3.10 3.90 1.10
CaO, % 61.40 5.57 0.40
MgO, % 3.00 — 0.30
SO
3
, % 3.60 0.19 0.05
Alkalis as Na
2
O, % 0.70 2.75 1.35
Loss on ignition, % 2.30 0.21 0.95
Physical properties
Blaine, cm
2
/g 3870 3060 13,900
+45 µm, % 3.00 9.60 1.20
Density, g/cm
3
3.15 2.18 2.55
Notes: 1 cm
2
/g = 0.155 in.
2
/g; 1 mm = 0.0000393 in.; 1 g/cm
3
= 168.45 lb/yd
3
.
Table 2—Mixture properties of ECC mixtures
Ingredients ECC-1_FA/PC = 1.2 ECC-2_FA/PC = 2.2 ECC-3_(FA + MK)/PC = 1.2 ECC-4_(FA + MK)/PC = 2.2
Water (W), kg/m
3
331 327 326 318
Portland cement (PC), kg/m
3
570 386 558 375
FA, kg/m
3
684 847 547 673
MK, kg/m
3
— — 122 150
Silica sand (S), kg/m
3
455 448 446 435
Fiber (PVA), kg/m
3
26 26 26 26
HRWRA, kg/m
3
4.9 3.7 7.5 6.5
FA, % 55 69 45 56
MK, % — — 10 12.5
FA/PC 1.2 2.2 0.98 1.80
FA/MK — — 4.5 4.5
(FA + MK)/PC — — 1.2 2.2
Water-cementitious material ratio (w/cm) 0.27 0.27 0.27 0.27
Note: 1 kg/m
3
= 1.6845 lb/yd
3
.
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 567
a density of 1300 kg/m
3
(2190.5 lb/yd
3
). The fber surface
was coated with 1.2% oil by weight to reduce the fber-matrix
chemical and friction bond.
21
The water-cementitious material ratio (w/cm) in all
mixtures was controlled at 0.27. Slight adjustments in the
amount of the HRWRA in each mixture were made to
achieve consistent rheological properties for better fber
distribution and workability. Therefore, all specimens in the
frst and second groups of ECC had fresh properties similar
to those in self-consolidating performance.
11
As seen in
Table 2, ECC mixtures incorporating FA and MK showed
a higher HRWRA demand than those containing only FA.
MK, a soft material made primarily of amorphous silicon
dioxide and aluminum oxide and produced by the decom-
position of kaolin at a temperature of 650 to 900°C (1202 to
1652°F), tends to absorb water to form kaolin. After the
MK was added to the PC, it prompted cement hydration,
which shortened the setting time. However, the MK-blended
mixtures needed more water to achieve the same work-
ability. Therefore, MK fuidity was degraded when the same
dosage of HRWRA was added for the same workability; the
study concluded that MK-blended mixtures require more
HRWRA.
22
Moreover, ECC mixtures with an FA/PC ratio of
1.2 had higher HRWRA demand than those with an FA/PC of
2.2.
23
The smooth surface characteristics and spherical shape
of the FA improved the workability characteristics of ECC
mixtures so that similar workability properties at a constant
w/cm were achieved by using a lower HRWRA content at a
higher FA replacement level.
24
A mortar mixer was used in the preparation of all ECC
mixtures in this study. Solid ingredients, including cement,
mineral admixture (FA or FA/MK), and aggregate, were
initially mixed at 100 rpm for 1 minute. Water and HRWRA
were then added into the dry mixture and mixed at 150 rpm
for 1 minute and then mixed at 300 rpm for another 2 minutes
to produce a consistent and uniform ECC matrix (without
PVA fber). Finally, PVA fber was added and mixed
at 150 rpm for an additional 3 minutes.
Specimen preparation and testing
Several 285 x 25 x 25 mm (11.22 x 0.985 x 0.985 in.) bar
and 355 x 50 x 76 mm (13.97 x 1.97 x 2.99 in.) prism speci-
mens from each mixture were prepared for drying shrinkage
and four-point bending tests, respectively, and 100 x 200 mm
(3.93 x 7.87 in.) cylinder specimens were prepared for rapid
chloride permeability testing. Fifty mm (1.97 in.) cubic spec-
imens were prepared to determine compressive strength, WA,
water sorptivity, and WP. All specimens were demolded at the
age of 24 hours and cured in sealed plastic bags at 95 ± 5%
relative humidity (RH) and 23 ± 2°C (73°F ± 3.6°F) for 7 days.
They were then air-cured at 50 ± 5% RH and 23 ± 2°C (73°F
± 3.6°F) for 28 days prior to testing. The complete testing
program is detailed in the following sections.
Compressive and fexural strengths
The compressive strength of the ECC mixtures was
determined by testing at least three 50 mm (1.97 in.) cubic
specimens at the age of 28 days according to the procedure
described in ASTM C39-94.
25
A four-point bending test was
performed under displacement control at a loading rate of
0.005 mm/s (0.0002 in./s) on a closed-loop controlled servo-
hydraulic material test system. The span length of the fexural
loading was 304.8 mm (12 in.) at the tension surface with
a 101.6 mm (4 in.) center-span length at the compression
surface. During the fexural tests, load and midspan defec-
tion were recorded on a computerized data recording system.
Drying shrinkage
Drying shrinkage measurements for all ECC mixtures
were made on three 285 x 25 x 25 mm (11.22 x 0.985 x
0.985 in.) bars up to 120 days after an initial curing of 1 day
in the mold and 27 days in lime-saturated water in accor-
dance with ASTM C157/C157M-04.
26
The drying shrinkage
specimens were stored in a drying room at 23 ± 2°C (73°F ±
3.6°F) and 50 ± 4% RH.
WA and porosity
WA was determined as per ASTM C642-06
27
; speci-
mens were initially oven-dried at 105 ± 5°C (222°F ± 9°F)
for 72 hours to reach constant mass and obtain oven-dry
mass (W
1
). They were then immersed in water for 72 hours
and the saturated surface-dry mass (W
2
) of the specimens
was measured. The WA of each specimen was calculated
as follows
2 1
1
W W
WA (%) 100
W
  −
= ×
 
 
(1)
To determine the WP, the hydrostatic weight (W
3
) of the
ECC specimens was also determined and the WP was calcu-
lated as follows
2 1
2 3
W W
WP (%) 100
W W
  −
= ×
 
−  
(2)
Sorptivity
The sorptivity test was performed as per ASTM C1585-04.
28

The test evaluated the increase in the mass of a 50 x 50 x 50 mm
(1.97 x 1.97 x 1.97 in.) cubic specimen at given intervals of
time (up to 360 minutes for initial sorptivity and up to 8 days
for secondary sorptivity) when permitted to absorb water by
capillary suction. Only the bottom surface of the specimen
was in contact with water. The water depth was up to 4 mm
(0.16 in.) to prevent water ingress from the sides; the perim-
eter and top surface of the specimens were sealed with adhe-
sive aluminum tape. This test was chosen because it measures
the rate of ingress of water through unsaturated concrete and
can therefore be considered a measure of water transport
associated with capillary suction. Three specimens were used
to determine the ingress of water for each ECC mixture.
Chloride-ion permeability
The chloride-ion permeability test, conducted in accor-
dance with ASTM C1202-97,
29
measures the ease with
which the charge passes through concrete, giving an indi-
cation of the ECC’s resistance to chloride-ion permeability.
Disc specimens 100 mm (4 in.) in diameter and 50 mm
(2 in.) thick were cut from the midportion of 100 x 200 mm
(4 x 8 in.) cylinder specimens and conditioned according
to ASTM C1202.
29
Specimens were then subjected to 60 V
potential for 6 hours and the total charge that passed through
the specimens was determined and used to evaluate the chlo-
ride permeability of each ECC mixture. A minimum of three
specimens were tested for each mixture.
568 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
MK were slightly higher than in the ECC mixtures produced
with only FA. However, the midspan beam defection values
of the FA and MK mixtures (ECC-3 and ECC-4) were
lower than those of the mixtures with only FA (ECC-1 and
ECC-2). The midspan defection values of the bending test
demonstrated that the most important feature of ECC—high
ductility with multiple-cracking behaviors—was maintained
at an adequate level by replacing FA with 12.5% MK.
After the four-point bending test, the bending load was
released and the specimens were taken out of the closed-
loop controlled servo-hydraulic material test system. A
crack closure occurred in the unloading position; the crack
width in the loaded position was approximately 30% greater
than in the unloaded position. All crack width measurements
were conducted in the unloaded state. Crack widths were
measured on the tension surface of the specimens using a
portable crack microscope with 5 mm (0.00019 in.) magni-
fcation. Table 4 also shows the average crack widths and
numbers on the span length of 102 mm (4.02 in.) at the
center of the prism specimens’ tension surface. Each data
point in Table 4 is an average of at least three or more prism
specimens; more than 10 mm (0.00039 in.) crack widths
were measured from each specimen. All four ECC mixtures
showed crack widths of smaller than 75 mm (0.003 in.).
Mixture ECC-2_FA/PC = 2.2 showed a very tight average
crack with a width of 51 mm (0.002 in.). It was found
that the number of cracks increased, whereas crack width
decreased as FA content increased from 55 to 70%. ECC
mixtures (ECC-3 and ECC-4) incorporating MK and FA led
to a slightly wider crack width and a lesser number of cracks
compared to FA-ECC mixtures.
Drying shrinkage
The results of drying shrinkage testing at 120 days after
the frst 28 days of curing are provided in Fig. 2. The drying
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
Compressive and fexural strengths and
crack behaviors
The compressive strength variation of ECC mixtures
is presented in Table 3. It shows that with increases in FA
content and decreases in cement, compressive strength
did not alter signifcantly from Mixtures ECC-1_FA/PC =
1.2 to ECC-2_FA/PC = 2.2. As seen in Table 3, the compres-
sive strength of ECC mixtures incorporating FA and MK
(Mixtures ECC-3_(FA + MK)/PC = 1.2 and ECC-4_(FA
+ MK)/PC = 2.2) was 20.3% and 12.8% higher than in
the control ECC mixtures containing only FA (Mixtures
ECC-1_FA/PC = 1.2 to ECC-2_FA/PC = 2.2), respectively.
Inclusion of MK into the matrix improved the bond between
the cement paste and silica sand particles and increased
the density of the cement paste, which in turn signifcantly
improved the compressive strength of the ECC mixtures.
Figure 1 shows the typical fexural-strength-midspan-
beam defection curves of the ECC mixtures. The bending
capacity and fexural strength of these specimens are summa-
rized in Table 4, which shows that the average ultimate fex-
ural loads varied from 8.57 to 11.01 MPa (1.24 to 1.60 ksi)
and the midspan beam defection of the ECC beams at peak
bending load varied from 4.30 to 7.17 mm (0.169 to 0.28 in.),
depending on the content of FA or the FA/MK combination.
Table 4 shows that increasing the FA/PC ratio from 1.2 to
2.2 (Mixtures ECC-1_FA/PC = 1.2 to ECC-2_FA/PC = 2.2)
improved the bending deformation capacity by approxi-
mately 33.5% while decreasing the fexural strength by
approximately 22.3%. The improvement in bending defor-
mation capacity with increased FA content can be attributed
to the fact that greater amounts of FA tend to reduce the PVA
fber-matrix interface chemical bond and matrix toughness
and increase the interface frictional bond in favor of attaining
high bending capacity
12,30
due to the change of matrix chem-
ical composition and coating effect of inert particles on a
fber surface. Flexural strength test results also showed that
the load-carrying capacities of ECC mixtures with FA and
Table 3—Compressive strength and chloride-ion
permeability test results of ECCs
Mixture ID
Compressive
strength, MPa
Chloride-ion permeability
Coulombs Rating
ECC-1_FA/PC = 1.2 46.4 1072 Low
ECC-2_FA/PC = 2.2 46.8 1719 Low
ECC-3_(FA + MK)/
PC = 1.2
55.5 627 Very low
ECC-4_(FA + MK)/
PC = 2.2
52.8 1468 Low
Notes: 1 MPa = 1.6845 lb/yd
3
; 1 MPa = 0.145 ksi.
Fig. 1—Typical fexural-strength-midspan-defection behavior
of ECCs.
Table 4—Number of cracks, average crack widths, and bending test results of ECCs
Mixture ID
Bending test results After bending test
Midspan defection at ultimate load, mm Flexural strength, MPa Number of cracks Residual crack width, mm
ECC-1_FA/PC = 1.2 5.37 11.01 33 65 ± 11
ECC-2_FA/PC = 2.2 7.17 8.57 41 51 ± 9
ECC-3_(FA + MK)/PC = 1.2 4.35 11.33 27 73 ± 12
ECC-4_(FA + MK)/PC = 2.2 4.30 8.75 32 68 ± 5
Notes: 1 MPa = 0.145 ksi; 1 mm = 0.0393 in.; 1 mm = 0.0000393 in.
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 569
shrinkage values of the ECC mixtures, as seen in the fgure,
ranged from 990 to 1450 me at 120 days. When the FA/PC
ratio was increased from 1.2 to 2.2, drying shrinkage was
reduced by approximately 14%. Yang et al.
11
studied the
effect of the FA/PC ratio on the drying shrinkage of high-
volume FA-incorporated ECC and noticed that increasing
the FA/PC ratio from 1.2 to 5.6 effectively decreased the
drying shrinkage up to 50%. According to their conclu-
sions, a possible mechanism behind the reduction of drying
shrinkage in high-volume FA ECCs is the densifcation of
the matrix, which may prevent internal moisture evapora-
tion. Densifcation is typically attributed to the shape, pozzo-
lanic property, and microfller effect of FA. An alternative
explanation would be that unhydrated FA particles serve
as fne aggregates to restrain shrinkage deformation. The
infuence of MK incorporation on the drying shrinkage of
ECC can also be seen in Fig. 2. The substitution of 10%
(for Mixture ECC-3_(FA + MK)/PC = 1.2) and 12.5% (for
Mixture ECC-4_(FA + MK)/PC = 2.2) MK with FA led to
a reduction of 29.7% (according to Mixture ECC-1_FA/
PC = 1.2) and 20.8% (according to Mixture ECC-2_FA/PC
= 2.2) at the age of 120 days, respectively. The reduction
in drying shrinkage with the incorporation of MK can be
partly attributed to the lower amount of evaporable water,
as the hydration and pozzolanic reaction used up a signif-
cant amount of the free water.
7,31
With the inclusion of 10%
MK for Mixture ECC-3_(FA + MK)/PC = 1.2 and 12.5% for
ECC-4_(FA + MK)/PC = 2.2, the drying shrinkage of these
two ECC mixtures became close to each other at 120 days.
Mixtures ECC-3 and ECC-4 exhibited drying shrinkages
of 1020 × 10
–6
and 990 × 10
–6
, respectively, at the end
of 120 days.
WA and WP
Figure 3 presents the results of the WA and WP tests. An
increase of FA/PC from 1.2 to 2.2 remarkably increased both
WA and WP. Mixture ECC-2_FA/PC = 2.2 had 8.63 and
14.89% WA and WP values, respectively, while those values
were 6.36 and 10.34% for Mixture ECC-1_FA/PC = 1.2. It
should be noted that the compressive and fexural strengths
of ECC decreased (refer to Tables 3 and 4), while WP and
WA increased. Similar fndings for the mortar and concrete
specimens have also been reported by other investigators.
The most probable reason for the higher WA and WP with
high volumes of FA is the slow pozzolanic reaction of FA
due to an insuffcient curing period. As explained in the
“Specimen preparation and testing” section of this paper,
the ECC specimens were cured in air after a 7-day sealed
curing. With the incorporation of the blend of MK and FA
(Mixtures ECC-3 and ECC-4), the WP and WA of the ECC
mixtures improved due to an increased packing density.
For example, the WP and WA values of the ECC mixture
with 12.5% MK (ECC-4_(FA + MK)/PC = 2.2) decreased
from 8.63% to 6.53% and from 14.89% to 12.84%, respec-
tively. It is widely accepted that the principal reaction is
facilitated by the dissolution of glassy/amorphous silica in
pore water, which then reacts with CH to form CSH gel.
The dissolution rate depends on the specifc surface area,
which is the main factor behind the strength, porosity, and
pore diameter of various pozzolanic materials. Due to the
relatively high specifc surface area of MK (13,900 cm
2
/g
[2154 in.
2
/g]), more of the silica enters the solution faster
than FA (3870 cm
2
/g [600 in.
2
/g]), forming additional CSH
gels on reaction and leading to an enhanced microstruc-
ture and a decreased value of the total porosity and WA of
ECC.
32
Khatip and Wild
33
studied the pore size distribution
of MK paste containing up to 15% MK and observed that
the rate of pore refnement was very rapid up to 14 days
of curing, after which the pore size changed slightly. This
fnding explains why the FA/MK mixtures had lower WA
and porosity values than those containing only FA.
Sorptivity
Sorptivity is a material property that characterizes the
tendency of a material to absorb and transmit water by
capillary suction. Sorptivity testing measures the rate of
capillary suction at a specifed time and the sorptivity
value indicates water mass uptake by concrete from the
bottom surface.
34
When testing the 50 mm (1.97 in.) cubic
specimens, the cumulative WA per unit area up to 6 hours
and 8 days was performed using linear regression analysis
and the slope of equation was obtained to describe the initial
and secondary sorptivity of the ECC mixtures, respectively.
Figure 4 demonstrates the initial and secondary sorptivity
coeffcients. As seen in the fgure, increasing the FA/PC ratio
from 1.2 (Mixture ECC-1) to 2.2 (Mixture ECC-2) slightly
increased the initial and secondary sorptivity coeffcients of
the ECC incorporating only FA. The initial and secondary
sorptivity coeffcients of Mixture ECC-1 (FA/PC = 1.2 and
55% FA content) were 0.0219 mm/sn
0.5
and 0.0021 mm/
sn
0.5
, respectively. However, these coeffcients increased to
0.0331 mm/sn
0.5
and 0.0024 mm/sn
0.5
in Mixture ECC-2
(FA/PC = 2.2 and 70% FA content), respectively. A similar
trend for mortar and ECC has also been observed by previous
researchers.
12,35
However, even at approximately a 70%
Fig. 2—Drying shrinkage variation of ECC mixtures.
Fig. 3—Water absorption and porosity test results of ECCs.
570 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
time of curing, most of the FA particles in the matrix expe-
rienced no hydration and pozzolanic reactions. Because
Mixture ECC-2 had more FA content (70%) than ECC-1
(55%), it was more negatively affected by the short period
of curing. The benefts of using Class F FA to improve dura-
bility properties, such as chloride-ion permeability resis-
tance, are usually manifested at later ages with the contin-
uous supply of moisture.
12
Another possible reason could
be that the fneness of the FA (3060 cm
2
/g [474 in.
2
/g]), as
shown in Table 1, was signifcantly lower than the fneness
of the cement used (3870 cm
2
/g [585 in.
2
/g]). As mentioned
previously, increasing the fneness of cementitious materials
positively affected the resistance of composites to chlo-
ride-ion permeability. ECC mixtures (ECC-3 and ECC-4)
produced with FA and MK had considerably lower chloride-
ion permeability values than the ECC mixtures made only
with FA. For instance, with the introduction of 10% MK,
chloride-ion permeability decreased from 1072 coulombs
(for Mixture ECC-1_FA/PC = 1.2) to 627 coulombs (for
Mixture ECC-3_(FA + MK)/PC = 1.2), representing a
reduction of approximately 42%. Mixtures ECC-2 (FA/
PC = 2.2) and ECC-4 ((FA + MK)/PC = 2.2) demonstrated
the same behavior. The binary use of FA and MK in
Mixture ECC-4 (12.5% MK and 56% FA) decreased the
chloride-ion permeability value of Mixture ECC-2 (70%
FA) from 1719 to 1468 coulombs. Reduced capillary pores
and reduced connectivity due to the rapid pozzolanic activity
of MK, better particle packing, and higher Blaine fneness
may be the reasons behind the better performance of ECCs
with MK. Using FA and MK together can compensate for
some of the shortcomings of ECC made exclusively with FA
and create ECCs with increased durability.
CONCLUSIONS
The following conclusions can be drawn from this experi-
mental study:
• An increased FA to PC ratio (FA/PC) did not signif-
cantly alter the compressive strength of ECC mixtures
produced with FA. However, the use of a binary blend
of FA and MK in ECC production had a positive effect
on the compressive strength; it increased from approxi-
mately 12 to 20% with respect to ECC with only FA.
• Under the four-point bending test, all ECC mixtures
exhibited multiple-cracking and strain-hardening
behavior. Although the binary incorporation of FA
and MK slightly decreased the midspan beam defec-
tion capacity of ECC specimens, it could still attain a
capacity of up to 4.30 mm (0.169 in.)—signifcantly
higher than that of normal concrete. Moreover, ECC
mixtures with the binary use of FA and MK had some-
what higher average crack width and fexural strength
values than their ECC counterparts with only FA.
• As a result of the densifcation of the matrix and/or the
unhydrated FA constraint effect, increasing the amount
of FA reduced drying shrinkage by approximately
14%. The binary use of FA and MK in ECC produc-
tion had a very positive effect on the drying shrinkage.
The substitution of 10% (for Mixture ECC-3_(FA +
MK)/PC = 1.2) and 12.5% (for Mixture ECC-4_(FA
+ MK)/PC = 2.2) MK with FA resulted in a reduction
in the drying shrinkage as high as 30% and 21% for
Mixtures ECC-1_FA/PC = 1.2 and ECC-2_FA/PC = 2.2
at 120 days, respectively.
replacement of cement with FA (Mixture ECC-2_FA/PC =
2.2), the initial sorptivity was still lower than the sorptivity
coeffcient of normal concrete. According to Neville,
36
typical
sorptivity is 0.09 mm/minute
0.5
(0.00354 in./minute
0.5
) for
normal concrete. Incorporating MK with FA in ECC produc-
tion (Mixtures ECC-3 and ECC-4) positively affected the pore
structure of the mixtures and signifcantly decreased both the
initial and secondary sorptivity coeffcients. Incorporating
10% MK with FA in Mixture ECC-3 ((FA + MK)/PC = 1.2)
reduced the initial sorptivity coeffcient from 0.0331 mm/sn
0.5

(for Mixture ECC-1_FA/PC = 1.2) to 0.0224 mm/sn
0.5
(for
Mixture ECC-3_(FA + MK)/PC = 1.2). This trend was seen
between Mixtures ECC-2 and ECC-4. These results show the
value of using a binary FA/MK mixture rather than just FA
on its own. The reduced sorptivity coeffcient refects a fner
and impermeable pore structure that will, for example, inhibit
ingress of aggressive agents into the pore structure.
37
Chloride-ion permeability
The rapid chloride-ion permeability test results of the
ECC mixtures and their chloride-ion ratings according to
ASTM C1202
29
are presented in Table 3. Rapid chloride-ion
permeability testing is based on the electrical conductivity
of ECC. The ECC sample is subjected to a potential differ-
ence of 60 V and the total charge passing through it at the
end of 6 hours is measured and expressed in coulombs. A
reduction in this total charge value indicates better resistance
to chloride-ion permeability and lower permeability.
38,39
As
seen in the table, increasing the FA/PC ratio from 1.2 (Mixture
ECC-1 with 55% FA) to 2.2 (Mixture ECC-2 with 70% FA)
reduced resistance to chloride-ion permeability. This result
is surprisingly contrary to the fndings of previous research
performed on mortar and concrete. Normally, concrete
with high volumes of pozzolans shows lower chloride-ion
permeability due to a denser microstructure. The pozzolanic
reaction may result in fewer capillary pores and less clog-
ging of those pores, which reduces chloride-ion transport
in concrete.
40
The literature also mentions that the fneness
of pozzolans has a great infuence on chloride-ion perme-
ability and, therefore, high fneness may have contributed
to the lower chloride-ion permeability.
41
As mentioned by
S¸ahmaran and Li,
12
however, the trend in ECC is completely
different than in mortar and concrete. As seen in Table 3,
increasing FA content from 55% (Mixture ECC-1_FA/PC
= 1.2) to 70% (Mixture ECC-2_FA/PC = 2.2) increased
chloride-ion permeability from 1072 to 1719 coulombs. The
possible reason behind the higher chloride permeability with
higher FA content is that the ECC specimens were cured
in air after a 7-day sealed curing. Due to a relatively short
Fig. 4—Initial and secondary sorptivity test results of ECCs.
(Note: 1 mm/minute
0.5
= 0.0393 in./minute
0.5
.)
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 571
• Increasing the amount of FA in the ECC mixtures
worsened their durability-related properties. Remark-
able increases in WA, porosity, initial and secondary
sorptivity, and chloride-ion permeability values were
monitored. This can be attributed to the inadequate
curing and relatively low FA fneness. With the use of a
binary blend of FA and MK in ECC, however, all of the
aforementioned durability-related properties improved
signifcantly. This can be associated with reduced capil-
lary pores and the reduction in pore connectivity due to
the rapid pozzolanic reaction and higher Blaine fne-
ness of MK, as well as better particle packing density
of the matrix.
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The authors gratefully acknowledge the fnancial assistance of The
Council of Higher Education of Turkey (YOK), the Natural Sciences
and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada, and the Canada
Research Chair Program.
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ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 573
Title no. 109-M56
ACI MATERIALS JOURNAL TECHNICAL PAPER
ACI Materials Journal, V. 109, No. 5, September-October 2012.
MS No. M-2011-244.R1 received November 28, 2011, and reviewed under Institute
publication policies. Copyright © 2012, American Concrete Institute. All rights reserved,
including the making of copies unless permission is obtained from the copyright
proprietors. Pertinent discussion including author’s closure, if any, will be published in
the July-August 2013 ACI Materials Journal if the discussion is received by April 1, 2013.
Fatigue Analysis of Plain and Fiber-Reinforced
Self-Consolidating Concrete
by S. Goel, S. P. Singh, and P. Singh
SCC possesses good fuidity and deformability, making
it more suitable for the addition of fbers as compared to
NVC and allows for much easier construction, resulting in
a more reliable quality in concrete placement and a more
homogeneous material structure.
14
SCC reinforced with
steel fbers enhances its applications because the mechanical
performance of concrete is improved. Self-consolidating
fber-reinforced concrete (SCFRC) is more ductile and
tougher than conventional SCC and has demonstrated higher
residual strengths.
15
The workability of SCFRC is directly
infuenced by the type and content of fbers used, as well as
the SCC matrix. A higher aspect ratio and volume concen-
tration of fbers improve the performance of SCFRC in the
hardened state but also affects its workability. Thus, studies
were conducted to obtain optimum fber-reinforced concrete
(FRC) mixtures with required self-consolidating proper-
ties.
16-18
Dhonde et al.
17
revealed that SCFRC could be made
with satisfactory flling and passing ability using short fbers
(L ≤ 30 mm [1.2 in.] long), as these did not infuence its
slump fow or stability. Researchers investigated whether
SCFRC shows either similar or improved performance in
terms of compressive strength, fexural strength, splitting
tensile strength, elastic modulus, creep and shrinkage, and
shear and pullout behavior compared to SCC and normally
vibrated fber-reinforced concrete (NVFRC) under statically
applied loads.
11,14,15,17,19-21
The microstructure around the
matrix, the distribution, and the orientation of the fbers are
different in SCC than in conventional concrete. Entrapped
air and neighboring fbers affect the performance of a fber
in NVFRC more than in SCFRC. The steel fbers, due to
the lack of any mechanical vibrations in SCFRC, are more
favorably aligned into the direction of the fow, thereby
improving its bending characteristics. In SCC, the fbers are
fully embedded in the matrix, thereby imparting better bond
or pullout strength.
13,21
Thus, it is expected that SCC and
SCFRC, as in the case of their mechanical properties, such
as compressive and fexural strength under statically applied
loads, may exhibit better fatigue characteristics.
The global thrust on construction of bridges and highway
pavements for infrastructure development has fascinated
many researchers,
3,4,7,8
leading to investigations of the
fatigue behavior of concrete. The bridges and pavements
were expected to resist millions of cycles of repeated axle
loads during their intended life. Considering fatigue strength
an important parameter in the design of these structures,
This paper investigates the fexural fatigue performance of self-
consolidating concrete (SCC) and self-consolidating fber-reinforced
concrete (SCFRC) containing round corrugated steel fbers with a
size of 1 x 30 mm (0.04 x 1.18 in.) in different 0.5, 1.0, and 1.5%
volume fractions. Approximately 250 fexural fatigue tests and
195 complementary static fexural tests were executed on beam
specimens with a size of 100 x 100 x 500 mm (3.94 x 3.94 x 19.7 in.)
under four-point fexural loading. The fatigue-life data show that the
probabilistic distribution of fatigue life of SCC/SCFRC at a given
stress level can approximately be modeled by the two-parameter
Weibull distribution. Three different methods were used to obtain
the Weibull parameters. A single-log fatigue equation was used to
analyze the fexural fatigue performance of SCC/SCFRC with a
10% probability of failure. The results show signifcantly improved
fatigue performance of SCFRC with enhanced sensitivity of fatigue
lives to the change of applied stress. Theoretic fatigue lives for SCC/
SCFRC were estimated that exhibit an increase to a different extent.
Keywords: fatigue life; self-consolidating fber-reinforced concrete; stress
level; Weibull distribution.
INTRODUCTION
Self-consolidating concrete (SCC) is an innovative concrete
that does not require vibration for placing and compaction.
It is able to fow under its own weight, completely flling
formwork, and encapsulate the reinforcement, achieving full
compaction, even in the presence of congested reinforce-
ment.
1
The hardened SCC is dense and homogeneous and has
improved engineering properties and durability compared to
normally vibrated concrete (NVC). The improved construc-
tion practice and performance, combined with the health and
safety benefts, make SCC a very attractive solution for both
precast concrete and civil engineering construction.
2
Due to its substantial engineering applications and
commercial benefts, SCC has generated tremendous interest
among researchers, engineers, and concrete technolo-
gists.
3,4
Numerous research studies have shown that it is prac-
tical to make a fowable yet stable SCC tailored for any appli-
cation.
5,6
A number of investigations related to the rheological,
mechanical, and structural behavior of SCC under statically
applied loads have been reported in literature that substantiate
the better performance of SCC compared to NVC.
7-10
The importance of the homogeneity of the material is
evident for any application because it will affect the material
properties.
11
SCC contains large proportions of fner parti-
cles and does not need mechanical vibrators for compaction,
which results in a denser and more homogenous concrete
compared to NVC. The denser structure of SCC dimin-
ishes the presence of air voids so better bonding between
the concrete and reinforcing materials is achieved; this
could be benefcial and lead to better results in terms of the
mechanical behavior of the constituents compared with that
of conventional concrete.
12,13
574 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
behavior of SCC/SCFRC. To this end, an experimental
investigation was set up to establish the probability distri-
butions for fatigue/fatigue-life data of SCC and SCFRC at
different stress levels. The two-parameter Weibull distribu-
tion was examined in this regard and distribution parameters
were obtained and compared with that of NVC and NVFRC.
To examine the fatigue performance, the Weibull distribu-
tion was used to incorporate the probability of fatigue failure
into the fatigue-life data and the theoretic fatigue lives for
SCC and SCFRC were obtained and compared with those of
NVC and NVFRC.
EXPERIMENTAL INVESTIGATION
Materials and mixture proportions
The concrete mixtures were prepared with Grade 43 ordinary
portland cement conforming to Indian Standard (IS) 8112 and
fy ash (Class F). The mixtures were prepared using well-
graded crushed stone coarse aggregate with a nominal size
of 12.5 mm (0.49 in.) and locally available coarse sand with
a fneness modulus of 2.85. A polycarboxylic-ether-based
high-range water-reducing admixture (HRWRA) and a
polycarboxylate-polymer-based viscosity-modifying agent
(VMA) were used to achieve the fowable yet cohesive SCC
and SCFRC mixtures. Corrugated steel fbers were 30 mm
(1.18 in.) in length and 1 mm (0.04 in.) in diameter in all
the SCFRC mixtures. Table 1 shows the proportions of all
four mixtures of SCC and SCFRC used in this investiga-
tion. The mixture with no steel fbers—that is, the SCC
mixture—was taken as the control mixture. Three different
SCFRC mixtures contained steel fbers in volume fractions
of 0.5, 1.0, and 1.5%. The dosage of HRWRA and VMA
was adjusted to obtain the required workability for all the
SCC and SCFRC mixtures. All the mixtures were mixed in
a 100 L (0.1 m
3
) drum mixer in the laboratory. First, the fne
and coarse aggregates were fed into the mixer and mixed for
approximately 1 minute. The cement and fy ash were added
to the aggregates and the ingredients were mixed in a dry
condition for approximately 30 seconds. Subsequently, two-
thirds of the water was added to the dry mixture and mixing
was allowed for the next 60 seconds. HRWRA premixed
with the remaining one-third of the water was added to the
wet mixture and mixing continued for another 150 seconds.
In the case of the SCFRC mixtures, the steel fbers were
added to the wet mixture by uniformly sprinkling them into
the drum, and then the remaining one-third of the water
premixed with HRWRA and VMA was added. Mixing was
allowed for another 60 seconds for the SCFRC mixtures.
The SCC mixture did not show any sign of bleeding but the
SCFRC mixtures were unstable and bleeding was observed
during the flling of the molds; thus, a polycarboxylate-
polymer-based VMA was used to improve the stability of
the SCFRC mixtures.
S. Goel is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at DAV Insti-
tute of Engineering and Technology, Jalandhar, India. His research interests include
self-consolidating concrete and recycling of materials in concrete.
ACI member S. P. Singh is a Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at
Dr. B. R. Ambedkar National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar, India. He received
his PhD from the University of Roorkee, Roorkee, Uttarakhand, India, in 1999. His
research interests include the fatigue behavior of fbrous concrete composites and
recycling of materials in concrete.
P. Singh is a Professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at Dr. B. R. Ambedkar
National Institute of Technology. He received his PhD from Panjab University, Chan-
digarh, India, in 2002. His research interests include the behavior of laminated plates
and fber-reinforced concrete.
the majority of research in the literature on the fatigue of
NVC and NVFRC has been focused on its behavior in
fexure.
22-25
The research investigations were carried out
to suggest relationships between stress level S, which is
the ratio of maximum fatigue stress f
max
to the modulus
of rupture f
r
and the number of load cycles N that causes
failure. One of the extensively used fatigue equations is a
single-log equation, as shown in the following
22,25-27
10
log ( )
max
r
f
S a b N
f
= = −
(1)
where a and b are experimental coeffcients. The fatigue
test data of NVC and NVFRC are random in nature and
show considerable scatter; even under carefully controlled
test procedures; thus, it becomes essential to introduce
probabilistic concepts to ensure adequate fatigue resis-
tance. Oh,
27,28
Singh and Kaushik,
25,29
and Mohammadi and
Kaushik
30
conducted experimental and theoretical studies to
investigate the fatigue-life distributions of NVC and NVFRC
at different stress levels. From the test data, it was observed
that the statistical distribution of the fatigue life of NVC and
NVFRC can be approximately described by the two-param-
eter Weibull distribution.
28-30
A number of investigations
have been made to study the fatigue behavior of NVC and
NVFRC; the fatigue characteristics of SCC/SCFRC have
yet to be investigated despite the fact that SCC/SCFRC has
been widely accepted for the construction of bridge deck,
bridge piers, and pier caps
4
and possible future applications
in highway and airfeld concrete pavements, wherein fatigue
is the predominant mode of loading.
RESEARCH SIGNIFICANCE
The literature available on SCC and SCFRC reported
studies on their mechanical properties under statically
applied loads, but to the best of the authors’ knowledge,
there is practically no information available on the fatigue
Table 1—Proportions for SCC and SCFRC mixtures
Mixture
Cement,
kg/m
3
(lb/yd
3
)
Fly ash,
kg/m
3
(lb/yd
3
)
Fine aggregates,
kg/m
3
(lb/yd
3
)
Coarse aggregates,
kg/m
3
(lb/yd
3
)
Fiber-volume
fraction, V
f
HRWRA, by weight
of cement
VMA, by weight
of cement
SCC 410 (691) 205 (346) 846 (1427) 602 (1015) NA 1.7% NA
SCFRC0.5 410 (691) 205 (346) 846 (1427) 602 (1015) 0.5% 1.9% 0.25%
SCFRC1.0 410 (691) 205 (346) 846 (1427) 602 (1015) 1.0% 2.2% 0.35%
SCFRC1.5 410 (691) 205 (346) 846 (1427) 602 (1015) 1.5% 2.5% 0.50%
Note: NA is not available.
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 575
Workability and casting of specimens
All the workability tests were conducted after approx-
imately 1 minute of fnal mixing; namely, slump fow,
V-funnel, J-ring, and L-box tests were carried out for SCC and
SCFRC mixtures per the guidelines of EFNARC.
2
The results
of the workability tests conducted randomly on fve batches
each of SCC and SCFRC mixtures are presented in Table 2.
Standard beam specimens with a size of 100 x 100 x 500 mm
(3.94 x 3.94 x 19.7 in.) for static fexural and fexural fatigue
tests and cube specimens with a size of 150 x 150 x 150 mm
(5.9 x 5.9 x 5.9 in.) for compressive strength tests were cast
in different batches. Each batch contained seven beam and
three cube specimens. The mixture was poured into the
specimen molds from a height of approximately 450 mm
(17.7 in.) in a single layer. Molds were flled without any
use of vibrator. The specimens were demolded 36 hours after
casting and moist-cured under laboratory conditions. For
ascertaining the quality of each batch of SCC and SCFRC,
compressive strength tests were conducted on cube specimens
after 28 days of curing. The beam specimens were cured
for 75 days and thereafter stored under laboratory conditions
for approximately 2 months to minimize the effect of strength
gain during the course of fatigue testing, which in itself is
extended in nature. To further eliminate the effect of strength
gain, if any, the testing was done batch-wise, wherein the static
fexural strength tests on a particular batch were conducted
just prior to the fexural fatigue testing of the same. The results
of the compressive strength tests on SCC and SCFRC speci-
mens are reported in Table 3. The average 28-day compressive
strength for all batches of SCC, SCFRC0.5, SCFRC1.0, and
Table 2—Workability tests on fresh SCC and SCFRC mixtures
Test Parameter SCC SCFRC0.5 SCFRC1.0 SCFRC1.5 EFNARC guidelines
Slump fow
T
500
*
, seconds 2.8 ± 0.5 3.0 ± 0.5 3.5 ± 0.5 4.0 ± 0.5 2 to 5
Slump fow spread
*
,
mm (in.)
750 ± 20
(29.5 ± 0.8)
710 ± 30
(27.9 ± 1.2)
700 ± 30
(27.6 ± 1.2)
700 ± 20
(27.6 ± 0.8)
650 to 800
(25.6 to 33.5)
J-ring
T
500J
, seconds 3.0 ± 0.5 4.0 ± 0.5 4.0 ± 0.5 5.0 ± 0.5 3 to 6
Flow spread
*
,
mm (in.)
720 ± 25
(28.3 ± 1)
710 ± 25
(27.9 ± 1)
700 ± 20
(27.6 ± 0.8)
680 ± 20
(26.8 ± 0.8)
600 to 750
(23.6 to 29.5)
Blocking step
*
Bj,
mm (in.)
6.0 ± 0.5
(0.24 ± 0.02)
7.0 ± 0.5
(0.3 ± 0.02)
8.0 ± 0.5
(0.33 ± 0.02)
9.5 ± 0.4
(0.38 ± 0.16)
0 to 10 (0.4)
V-funnel
V-funnel time
*
,
seconds
7.0 ± 0.5 7.7 ± 0.3 8.5 ± 0.5 9.5 ± 0.5 6 to 12
L-box
L-box passing
ability
*
0.91 0.90 0.83 0.81 0.8 to 1.0
*
For random fve batches.
Note: 1 in. = 25.4 mm.
Table 3—Compressive strength test results for SCC and SCFRC mixtures
Batch No.
28-day average
*
compressive strength, MPa (psi)
SCC SCFRC0.5 SCFRC1.0 SCFRC1.5
1 35.9 (5210) 36.0 (5225) 41.1 (5965) 42.0 (6096)
2 35.2 (5109) 39.9 (5791) 39.1 (5675) 39.8 (5776)
3 35.0 (5080) 36.2 (5254) 39.6 (5747) 44.0 (6386)
4 34.9 (5065) 36.9 (5355) 41.6 (6038) 39.9 (5791)
5 36.6 (5312) 39.6 (5747) 41.2 (5980) 42.9 (6226)
6 35.7 (5181) 37.7 (5472) 39.3 (5704) 40.8 (5922)
7 36.7 (5326) 38.5 (5588) 39.8 (5776) 42.7 (6197)
8 35.2 (5109) 36.1 (5239) 41.6 (6038) 43.6 (6328)
9 36.8 (5341) 39.4 (5718) 39.8 (5776) 41.8 (6067)
10 36.5 (5298) 36.6 (5312) 42.2 (6125) 43.6 (6328)
11 35.8 (5196) 39.9 (5791) 38.8 (5631) 42.9 (6226)
12 36.5 (5297) 36.6 (5312) 40.8 (5922) 43.8 (6357)
13 36.3 (5268) 38.2 (5544) 39.0 (5660) 42.5 (6168)
14 35.5 (5152) 38.8 (5631) 38.9 (5646) 41.9 (6081)
15 36.2 (5254) 40.1 (5820) 41.0 (5951) 43.8 (6357)
16 35.4 (5139) 38.3 (5559) 40.7 (5907) 41.7 (6052)
Average 35.9 (5210) 38.1 (5530) 40.3 (5849) 42.4 (6154)
*
Average of three specimens.
Note: 1000 psi = 6.89 MPa.
576 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
the fatigue stress ratio R (R = f
min
/f
max
), kept constant at
0.10 throughout the investigation, as has been done in
previous studies.
29-31
Constant-amplitude sinusoidal loads
were applied at a frequency of 10 Hz to complete the test
in a reasonable period of time. Because fatigue testing is a
time-consuming and expensive process and a large number
of specimens were proposed to be tested in this investiga-
tion, an upper limit of 2 million cycles of fatigue loading
was adopted. The test was terminated when the failure of the
specimen occurred or this upper limit was reached, which-
ever was earlier. For each SCC and SCFRC mixture, the
numbers of cycles to failure for the specimen under different
load conditions were noted as fatigue life N.
ANALYSIS OF FATIGUE-LIFE DATA
The fatigue test data obtained for the SCC and SCFRC
mixtures in this study shows considerable variability, even
at a given stress level. Thus, before initiating the analysis
process, some data points may deserve consideration for
rejection as outliers. Chauvenet’s criteria
32
was applied
to the fatigue-life data at different stress levels tested in
this investigation and points meeting this criterion for
outliers were identifed and excluded from further analysis.
Batson et al.,
33
Singh and Kaushik,
29
and Mohammadi and
Kaushik
30
used the same criterion in their work on the
flexural fatigue of plain NVC and NVFRC.
Fatigue-life distributions of SCC and SCFRC
The fatigue test data of concrete is known to exhibit great
variability, which becomes enhanced in the case of FRC and
thereby necessitates introducing the probability concepts
in the design to secure the adequate fatigue resistance of
concrete structures such as bridges, highway pavements, and
SCFRC1.5 was 35.90, 38.10, 40.30, and 42.40 MPa (5210,
5530, 5849, and 6154 psi), respectively.
Fatigue test program
The fexural fatigue testing of SCC and SCFRC was the
primary objective of this investigation. The maximum and
minimum load limits are required to be defned to initiate
a fatigue test. These load limits were obtained for each
batch of specimens by testing three beam specimens from
a particular batch in static fexure. The beams were simply
supported over a span of 450 mm (17.7 in.) and loaded at
third points, thus leading to a four-point bending test. The
average static fexural strength f
r
for each batch of SCC and
SCFRC was obtained just before the fatigue tests, the results
of which are presented in Table 4. The static fexural tests
were carried out with a 100 kN (22.2 kip) servo-controlled
actuator run in the displacement control mode at a loading
rate of 0.5 mm/minute (0.02 in./minute). The static fex-
ural strength taken as an average of all the batches of SCC,
SCFRC0.5, SCFRC1.0, and SCFRC1.5 was 4.85, 6.05, 7.20,
and 9 MPa (704, 878, 1045, and 1308 psi), respectively. A
considerable increase in the peak loads over the frst crack
loads was observed for SCFRC specimens, particularly for
mixtures containing 1.0 and 1.5% fber-volume fractions.
The increment in peak load may be attributed to the contri-
bution of fbers after the cracking of the matrix.
After the static fexural strength of a particular batch of
SCC or SCFRC was established, the remaining beam speci-
mens were tested in fexural fatigue. The loading conditions
were kept the same for both static fexural and fexural
fatigue tests. The fexural fatigue tests were conducted at
stress levels S (S = f
max
/f
r
, f
max
is maximum fatigue stress, and
f
r
is static fexural strength), ranging from 0.90 to 0.65 with
Table 4—Static fexural strength test results for SCC and SCFRC mixtures
Batch No.
Static fexural strength
*
, MPa (psi)
SCC SCFRC0.5 SCFRC1.0 SCFRC1.5
1 4.93 (715) 6.23 (904) 6.48 (940) 9.23 (1340)
2 4.96 (720) 6.35 (922) 7.60 (1103) 9.18 (1332)
3 4.60 (668) 6.11 (887) 7.60 (1103) 9.41 (1366)
4 5.02 (729) 5.84 (848) 6.93 (1006) 9.06 (1315)
5 4.87

(707) 6.02 (874) 7.77 (1128) 8.78 (1274)
6 4.42

(642) 5.89 (855) 7.94

(1152) 8.89

(1290)
7 4.67 (678) 6.26 (909) 7.15 (1038) 8.45 (1226)
8 4.69

(681) 6.16 (894) 6.54 (949) 9.28 (1347)
9 5.43 (788) 5.82 (845) 7.44

(1080) 9.32 (1353)
10 4.82 (700) 5.96

(865) 6.98 (1013) 8.31 (1206)
11 4.42 (642) 6.36 (923) 7.91 (1148) 9.44 (1370)
12 4.64 (673) 5.74 (833) 7.86 (1141) 8.73

(1267)
13 5.38 (781) 5.66 (821) 6.72 (975) 8.60 (1248)
14 4.72 (685) 5.92 (859) 6.85 (994) 8.69 (1261)
15 5.10 (740) 6.28 (911) 6.69 (971) 9.40 (1364)
16 4.89 (710) 6.21 (901) 6.76 (981) 9.34 (1355)
Average 4.85 (704) 6.05 (878) 7.20 (1045) 9.00 (1308)
*
Results correspond to different ages at testing.

Average of two specimens.
Notes: Without mark is average of three specimens; 1000 psi = 6.89 MPa.
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 577
offshore structures. In this study, it is proposed to use the
two-parameter Weibull distribution to describe the proba-
bility distributions of fatigue life of SCC and SCFRC. Unlike
lognormal distribution suggested by ASTM 91-A
34
that
shows decreasing hazard function, the Weibull distribution
gives increasing hazard function with an increase in life or
time, which demonstrates the actual behavior of engineering
materials subjected to fatigue load.
32
Moreover, the Weibull
distribution is based on more convincing arguments, is rela-
tively easy to use, has well-developed statistics,
35
and has
been used in previous studies for the statistical description
of fatigue data of NVC
27,28
and NVFRC.
29,30
In this study,
the graphical method was employed to show that the distri-
bution of fatigue life of SCC and SCFRC at a given stress
level S follows the two-parameter Weibull distribution. To
estimate the parameters of the Weibull distribution, different
methods—that is, the graphical method, the method of
moments, and the method of maximum likelihood esti-
mate—were suggested.
36
The calculation of parameters by
different methods instills confdence in the results and hence
has been adopted herein.
Graphical method and distribution parameters
The survivorship function L
N
(n) of the two-parameter
Weibull distribution may be written as follows
27-30
exp
N
n
L
u
α
, ]
j \

, ]
, (
( ,
, ]
¸ ]
(2)
where n is the specifc value of random variable N; a is the
shape parameter at stress level S; and u is the scale parameter
at stress level S.
Taking the logarithm twice on both sides of Eq. (2)
( )
1
ln ln ln ln( )
N
n u
L
, ] j \
α − α
, ]
, (
( ,
, ]
¸ ]
(3)
Equation (3) represents a linear relationship between
ln[ln(1/L
N
)] and ln(N). To obtain a graph from Eq. (3), the
fatigue-life data corresponding to a particular stress level S
are frst arranged in ascending order of cycles to failure, and
the empirical survivorship function L
N
for each fatigue-life
data is obtained from the following expression
27-30
1
1
N
i
L
k
= −
+
(4)
where i denotes the failure order number; and k represents the
number of fatigue data points in a data sample under consid-
eration at a given stress level S. A graph is plotted between
ln[ln(1/L
N
)] and ln(N), and if the test data, at a particular stress
level, follow approximately a linear trend, then this indicates
that the two-parameter Weibull distribution is a reasonable
assumption for the statistical description of fatigue-life data
at that stress level. The shape parameter a and the scale
parameter u can be obtained either from the graph or directly
from the regression analysis. Figure 1 shows the plot of the
fatigue-life data of SCC at stress level S = 0.85, 0.80, 0.75,
0.70, and 0.65. The approximate straight-line plot indicates
that the two-parameter Weibull distribution is a reasonable
assumption for the distribution of fatigue life of SCC at
all tested stress levels. The corresponding values of corre-
lation coeffcient C
C
are 0.9768, 0.9919, 0.9912, 0.9926,
and 0.9911 for fatigue-life data of SCC at stress levels of
0.85, 0.80, 0.75, 0.70, and 0.65, respectively. The values of
the correlation coeffcient for all stress levels were greater
than 0.97, which further substantiated the validity of the
two-parameter Weibull distribution for the fatigue life of
SCC. The parameters a and u for all stress levels for the
fatigue-life data of SCC were estimated directly from the
regression analysis.
Similarly, the fatigue-life data of SCFRC with 0.5, 1.0, and
1.5% volume fractions of fbers at different stress levels were
analyzed by the graphical method and were shown to follow
the two-parameter Weibull distribution with the statistical
correlation coeffcient exceeding 0.90. Figures 2 to 4 present
the plots of graphical analysis of SCFRC with 0.5, 1.0, and
1.5% volume fractions of fbers at different stress levels.
The corresponding correlation coeffcients are also listed in
these fgures. The parameters of SCFRC containing different
fber-volume fractions were estimated by this method.
Parameters from method of moments
The estimation of parameters of the Weibull distribution
by the method of moments requires sample moments, such
as sample mean and sample variance. The following rela-
tionships can be used to obtain the parameters a and u for
fatigue-life data of SCC and SCFRC
28,29,36
a = (CV)
–1.08
(5)
and
1
1
u
µ
=
 
Γ +
 
  α

(6)
Fig. 1—Graphical analysis of fatigue-life data for SCC at
different stress levels S.
578 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
q = u
a
(8)
The maximum likelihood equations can be modifed
as follows
( )
( )
*
*
1
*
1
1
ln
1 1
ln
k
i i k
i
i k
i
i
i
n n
n
k
n
α
=
α =
=

− = ∑
α

(9)
*
*
1
1
k
i
i
n
k
α
=
θ = ∑
(10)
where a* and q* are the maximum likelihood estimates of
a and q, respectively. The value of the shape parameter is
frst obtained by solving Eq. (9) by an iterative procedure.
An estimate of the value of a obtained by any of the two
preceding methods—that is, the graphical method and
method of moments—can be used as a frst trial. Once the
shape parameter is known, the value of u can be obtained
from Eq. (8).
The parameters of the Weibull distribution were also
obtained by the method of maximum likelihood for fatigue-
life data of SCC and SCFRC with 0.5, 1.0, and 1.5% of
volume fraction of steel fbers corresponding to different
stress levels S ranging from 0.90 to 0.65. The average
values of the parameters for SCC and SCFRC obtained from
different methods are listed in Table 5.
To analyze the benefcial effects of self-consolidation on
the fatigue life of concrete, the results of this investigation for
the fatigue life of SCC and SCFRC were compared with some
previous studies on the fatigue of NVC and NVFRC. The
work of Oh,
27,28
Singh and Kaushik,
25,29
and Mohammadi and
Kaushik
30
on NVC and NVFRC was selected for compar-
ison with SCC and SCFRC, as the aggregate type and size;
specimen size; static fexural strength of the concretes; and
the shape, size, and volume fractions of the steel fbers used
in these studies are comparable to those used in this study.
where m is the sample mean of the fatigue-life data at a given
stress level; CV (= s/m, s is standard deviation of sample) is
the coeffcient of variation of the data; and G() is the gamma
function. The parameters of the Weibull distribution for
the fatigue-life data of SCC and SCFRC with 0.5, 1.0, and
1.5% of volume fraction of steel fbers were estimated using
Eq. (5) and (6) for stress level S ranging from 0.9 to 0.65.
Parameters from method of maximum
likelihood estimate
The distribution parameters of the Weibull distribution
can also be obtained using the method of the maximum
likelihood estimate. The probability density function of the
Weibull distribution may be written as follows
28-30
( )
1
exp
N
n
f n n
α
α−
  α
= −
 
θ θ
 
(7)
where
Fig. 2—Graphical analysis of fatigue-life data for SCFRC
with 0.5% steel fbers at different stress levels S.
Fig. 3—Graphical analysis of fatigue-life data for SCFRC
with 1.0% steel fbers at different stress levels S.
Fig. 4—Graphical analysis of fatigue-life data for SCFRC
with 1.5% steel fbers at different stress levels S.
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 579
Because the fatigue-life data of NVC and NVFRC specimens
of comparable size and static fexural strength were available,
it was thought prudent to concentrate all efforts and resources
on SCC and SCFRC and avoid repeating available results.
This was also demanded by the economy of the investiga-
tion because a large number of specimens were required to
be tested for improving the reliability of widely scattering
fatigue test results. The shape parameters obtained from this
investigation for SCC and SCFRC, together with the values
of shape parameters for NVC and NVFRC taken from the
literature, are plotted in Fig. 5 through 7.
Figures 5 through 7 show that the shape parameter for
the fatigue-life data of SCC and SCFRC decreases with a
decrease in the stress level, thus indicating higher vari-
ability in the fatigue-life distribution of SCC and SCFRC
at lower stress levels. Similar results have been reported by
previous investigators for the fatigue life of NVC
28,30
and
NVFRC.
29,30
The relative magnitude of the shape parameter
is an indicator of variability in the distribution of fatigue
life such that a relatively higher value of the shape param-
eter represents a lower variability in the distribution of
fatigue life and vice versa. The plots in Fig. 5 through 7 and
results compiled in Table 5 show that across all the consid-
ered values of the shape parameter, there was a lower vari-
Table 5—Average values of Weibull parameters for fatigue life of SCC
Stress level, S
SCC SCFRC0.5 SCFRC1.0 SCFRC1.5
a u a u a u a u
0.90 — — 3.4676 2122 2.8216 6277 2.3446 1959
0.85 4.3471 2106 2.6992 10,378 1.9790 55,992 1.8575 22,852
0.80 3.7858 15,825 2.0985 41,073 1.7666 250,772 1.6634 123,637
0.75 3.3747 66,618 1.8556 246,028 1.5993 1,044,763 1.4917 505,512
0.70 3.1740 192,119 1.7491 961,500 — — 1.3830
*
105,597
*
0.65 2.9867 1,415,250 — — — — — —
*
Average of method of moment and method of maximum likelihood.
Fig. 5—Comparison of shape parameters for fatigue life of
SCC, NVC, SCFRC, and NVFRC with V
f
= 0.5% of steel fbers.
Fig. 6—Comparison of shape parameters for fatigue life of
SCFRC and NVFRC with V
f
= 1.0% of steel fbers.
Fig. 7—Comparison of shape parameters for fatigue life of
SCFRC and NVFRC with V
f
= 1.5% of steel fbers.
580 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
ability in the distribution of fatigue life of SCC and SCFRC
compared to NVC and NVFRC, respectively. For example,
at stress level S = 0.85, the average value of the shape param-
eter for the fatigue life of SCC, obtained by the different
methods of analysis in this investigation, is 4.3471 compared
with 3.8920 and 3.5457 reported by Oh
28
and Mohammadi
and Kaushik,
30
respectively, for NVC, as plotted in Fig. 5.
This trend is established at all other stress levels tested in
this study. In particular, the shape parameter of SCC is
higher than that of NVC by 17%, 36%, 34%, 41%, and 36%
at stress level S = 0.85, 0.80, 0.75, 0.70, and 0.65, respec-
tively. A maximum decrease of approximately 15% in the
coeffcient of variation in the fatigue-life data of SCC was
observed as compared to NVC.
Similar trends have been observed for fatigue life of
SCFRC with 0.5, 1.0, and 1.5% volume fractions of steel
fbers. The shape parameters calculated by all three aforemen-
tioned methods for SCFRC were found to be greater than the
shape parameters for NVFRC with the same volume fractions
of steel fbers at different stress levels tested in the investiga-
tion. For example, the average value of the shape parameter
for the fatigue life of SCFRC with 0.5% volume fractions of
steel fbers at stress level S = 0.80 was 2.0985, as compared
with 1.5448 reported by Singh and Kaushik
25
for NVFRC
with 0.5% steel fbers. The average value of the shape param-
eters for SCFRC with 1.0 and 1.5% volume fraction of steel
fbers is 1.6904 and 1.6634 at stress level S = 0.80, compared
to 1.2385 and 1.4376 reported by Singh and Kaushik
29
and
Mohammadi and Kaushik,
30
respectively, for SFRC. The
maximum increase of 37%, 42%, and 55% in the shape param-
eter for SCFRC was observed compared to NVFRC with
0.5%, 1.0%, and 1.5% of steel fbers, respectively, reported by
Singh and Kaushik
29
; at the same time, a maximum decrease
of 21%, 25%, and 28% in the coeffcient of variation for the
fatigue-life data of SCFRC was observed with 0.5%, 1.0%,
and 1.5% volume fraction of steel fbers, respectively. It can
also be observed from Fig. 5 to 7 that the shape parameter
decreases as the fber-volume fraction increases, resulting in
higher variability in the fatigue life of SCFRC at higher fber-
volume fractions, even at the same stress level. In general, for
all mixtures of SCFRC with different volume fractions of steel
fbers, the values of the shape parameter are lower as compared
to those of SCC. This indicates higher variability in the distri-
bution of fatigue life of SCFRC, as compared to SCC. The
reduction of variability in the distribution of the fatigue-life
data of SCC and SCFRC compared to NVC and NVFRC may
be attributed to the relatively denser and more homogeneous
composition of SCC. Without consolidation, the infuence of
intrinsic defciencies and material defects due to bleeding or
segregation induced by improper vibration practice may be
avoided. As a result, the homogeneity of SCC can be ensured
and may substantially enhance the mechanical properties and
reliability of structural members. In addition, the alignment
of the steel fbers in the direction of fow, as reported by few
researchers,
13,21
may also be attributed to the better fexural
fatigue properties of SCFRC compared to NVFRC.
Goodness-of-ft test
As shown in the preceding section, the fatigue-life distri-
butions of SCC and SCFRC at different stress levels can
approximately be described by the two-parameter Weibull
distribution. Further, the values of the correlation coeffcient
at each stress level also substantiated this. In addition, the
Kolmogorov-Smirnov test was applied as goodness of ft to
the fatigue-life data at each stress level tested in this inves-
tigation; it was observed that the model was acceptable at a
5% signifcance level.
29,30,32
The calculations to this effect
are not given.
Flexural fatigue performance of SCC and SCFRC
In the preceding sections, the fexural fatigue-life data
of SCC and SCFRC were shown to follow the two-param-
eter Weibull distribution at different stress levels. This can
further be used to calculate the fatigue lives corresponding
to different failure probabilities P
f
.
29
Substituting 1– P
f
= L
N
in Eq. (3), the following relation
is obtained
( )
1
ln ln ln ln( )
1
f
n u
P
, ] j \
α − α , ]
, (

( , , ]
¸ ]
(11)
Rearranging Eq. (11)
1
1
ln ln ln( )
1
ln
f
n
P
N

, ] ¦ ¦ j \
¦ ¦
, ] + α
¦ ¦
, (

, ] ( ,
¦ ¦
¦ ¦

, ]
α
, ]
, ]
¸ ]
(12)
Equation (12) can be used to calculate the fatigue life N
for a particular probability of failure P
f
. Using the average
values of the parameters of the Weibull distribution for
fatigue-life data at a given stress level S as listed in Table 5,
Eq. (12) is used to calculate the fatigue lives for SCC and
SCFRC with 0.5, 1.0, and 1.5% of volume fractions of steel
fbers, corresponding to a failure probability of 10%—that is,
P
f
= 0.1. These calculated values of fatigue lives are plotted
in Fig. 8 to obtain fatigue curves for SCC and SCFRC with
0.5, 1.0, and 1.5% of volume fraction of steel fbers for a
failure probability of 0.1.
Fig. 8—Fatigue curves of SCC and SCFRC corresponding
to 10% probability of failure (P
f
= 0.1) using single-log
failure equation.
ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 581
In this study, a single-log fatigue equation, Eq. (1), was
used to evaluate the performance of SCC and SCFRC corre-
sponding to a probability of failure P
f
= 0.1. The single-log
fatigue equation is commonly used by researchers to describe
the relation between stress level S and fatigue life N.
22,25,37
In
Eq. (1), the fatigue performance is dependent on the two
important coeffcients/parameters a and b. The parameter a
refects the height of the fatigue curve. The larger the param-
eter a, the higher the fatigue curve. The parameter b refects
the steep degree of the fatigue curve. The larger the parameter
b, the steeper the fatigue curve, and the fatigue life of concrete
is more sensitive to the change in stress.
37
The parameters a
and b of Eq. (1) are obtained from regression analysis for
the fatigue curves of SCC and SCFRC plotted in Fig. 8. The
estimated fatigue equations and the corresponding correla-
tion coeffcients are also presented in Table 6. The param-
eters a and b of the single-log equation and their enhanced
extent generated for SCC and SCFRC with 0.5, 1.0, and 1.5%
of volume fraction of steel fbers for a failure probability of
10%—that is, P
f
= 0.1—are also listed in Table 6. It can be
seen that the regression parameters of fatigue equations of all
SCFRC mixtures are increased to a different extent, and all
correlation coeffcients are higher than 0.97. The increase in
the value of a indicates that the fexural fatigue performance
of all SCFRC mixtures is signifcantly improved. The value
of b increased for all SCFRC mixtures, indicating an increase
in the sensitivity of their fatigue lives to change of stress.
Compared with the SCC and other SCFRC mixtures, SCFRC
with 1.0% of steel fbers has the largest enhanced extent of
7.30% for a and the smallest enhanced extent of 0.78% for b,
thus indicating that the fatigue performance of SCFRC with
1.0% of steel fbers is improved to the largest extent and the
sensitivity of its fatigue life to change in stress is increased to
the smallest extent.
Table 7 shows the theoretic fatigue lives of various SCC
and SCFRC mixtures calculated by a single-log fatigue
equation corresponding to a 10% probability of failure at
fve different stress levels. It can be seen that the theoretic
fatigue lives of SCFRC containing 0.5, 1.0, and 1.5% steel
fbers increased to a different extent. With the increasing
stress level, the enhanced extent of the theoretic fatigue lives
of the SCFRC mixtures increased, which indicates that the
SCC containing steel fbers—that is, SCFRC—has an excel-
lent fatigue performance, particularly at higher stress levels
(corresponding to heavy traffc load) compared with SCC.
It can be seen from Table 7 that the enhanced extent of
the theoretic fatigue life of SCFRC with 1.0% of steel fbers
is the highest—that is, 908%—at a stress level of 0.90. A
similar increase was observed for SCFRC with 1.0% of steel
fbers at all the other stress levels, indicating a superior fex-
ural fatigue performance of SCFRC1.0 compared to SCC and
other SCFRC mixtures used in the investigation. It can also
be seen from the results that the fatigue performance of SCC
is improved with the addition of steel fbers. It may, however,
be noted that the fatigue performance herein is represented
in terms of applied maximum fatigue stress expressed as a
percentage of corresponding static fexural stress—that is, in
terms of stress level S. In contrast, when the fatigue perfor-
mance is examined in terms of applied maximum fatigue
stress f
max
, the ranking differs. Increasing the fber content
from 0.5 to 1.5% seems to improve the fatigue performance
in terms of applied maximum fatigue stress. Similar trends
were obtained by earlier investigators
38,39
while studying the
fexural fatigue performance of NVFRC.
It may be noted that the results, such as parameters of the
Weibull distribution and theoretic fatigue life of SCFRC
reported in this paper, are applicable to the type, size, and
volume fraction of the fbers used; therefore, additional work
is required to generate more data for other types, sizes, and
volume fraction of fbers.
CONCLUSIONS
1. The probability distributions of fatigue life of SCC
and SCFRC, at different stress levels, can be approximately
Table 6—Single-log fatigue equation and its coeffcients a and b corresponding to 10% probability of
failure (P
f
= 0.1) for SCC and SCFRC
Mixture Fatigue equation, S = a – blog(N) C
c
*
a Enhanced extent, % b Enhanced extent, %
SCC S = 1.0912 – 0.0762log(N) 0.994 1.0912 0 0.0762 0
SCFRC0.5 S = 1.1532 – 0.0836log(N) 0.999 1.1532 5.57 0.0836 9.71
SCFRC1.0 S = 1.1698 – 0.0768log(N) 0.996 1.1698 7.20 0.0768 0.79
SCFRC1.5 S = 1.1397 – 0.0788log(N) 0.978 1.1397 4.44 0.0788 3.41
*
C
c
is correlation coeffcient.
Table 7—Theoretic fatigue lives (number of cycles) for SCC and SCFRC calculated by single-log fatigue
equation corresponding to 10% probability of failure
Stress level, S → 0.90 0.85 0.80 0.75 0.70
Mixture ↓
SCC Theoretic fatigue life 323 1463 6630 30,039 136,100
SCFRC0.5
Theoretic fatigue life 1068 4234 16,783 66,522 263,665
Enhanced extent, % 230 189 153 121 93
SCFRC1.0
Theoretic fatigue life 3259 14,590 65,329 292,513 1,309,747
Enhanced extent, % 908 897 885 873 862
SCFRC1.5
Theoretic fatigue life 1101 4747 20,460 88,192 380,145
Enhanced extent, % 240 224 208 193 179
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modeled by the two-parameter Weibull distribution with a
statistical correlation coeffcient greater than 0.90.
2. Higher values of shape parameters for SCC as well as
SCFRC shows a reduction in the variability in the distribu-
tion of fatigue life of SCC and SCFRC compared to NVC
and NVFRC, respectively.
3. The lower values of the shape parameter for SCFRC, as
compared with SCC, show that the variability in the distri-
bution of the fatigue life of SCFRC is larger and further
increases for lower fatigue stress levels.
4. Failure probability was incorporated in the single-log
equation to examine the fexural fatigue performance of SCC
and SCFRC. Theoretic fatigue lives and curves were gener-
ated for SCC and SCFRC, corresponding to a failure prob-
ability of 10%—that is, 0.1.
5. The enhanced extent of the theoretic fatigue lives of
SCFRC increased to a different extent with an increase in
fber content, thereby depicting a better fexural fatigue
performance of SCFRC as compared to SCC—particularly
at higher stress levels.
NOTATION
a, b = regression parameters of single-log fatigue equation
f
max
= maximum fatigue stress
f
min
= minimum fatigue stress
f
r
= static fexural strength
L
N
= survival probability
N = number of cycles to failure
P
f
= probability of failure
R = stress ratio = f
min
/f
max
S = stress level = f
max
/f
r
u = scale parameter
a = shape parameter
G() = gamma function
m = mean of data sample
s = standard deviation of data sample under consideration
REFERENCES
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American Concrete Institute, Farmington Hills, MI, 2007, 30 pp.
2. EFNARC, The European Guidelines for Self Compacting Concrete,
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and Concrete Systems, Farnham, UK, 2005, 68 pp.
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Concrete, Advantages, and Potential Applications,” Proceedings of First
International Symposium on Self-Compacting Concrete, Stockholm,
Sweden, 1999, pp. 143-152.
4. Domone, P. L., “Self Compacting Concrete: An Analysis of Case
Studies,” Cement and Concrete Composites, V. 28, 2005, pp. 197-208.
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Materials and Structures, V. 42, 2009, pp. 947-960.
6. Sonebi, M.; Grünewald, S.; and Walraven, J., “Passing Ability and
Filling Ability of Self-Consolidating Concrete,” ACI Materials Journal,
V. 104, No. 2, Mar.-Apr. 2007, pp. 162-170.
7. Domone, P. L., “A Review of the Hardened Mechanical Properties
of Self Compacting Concrete,” Cement and Concrete Composites, V. 29,
2007, pp. 1-12.
8. Persson, B., “A Comparison between Mechanical Properties of
Self Compacting Concrete and the Corresponding Properties of Normal
Concrete,” Cement and Concrete Research, V. 31, 2000, pp. 193-198.
9. Turkel, S., and Kandemir, A., “Fresh and Hardened Properties of SCC
Made with Different Aggregate and Mineral Admixtures,” Journal of Mate-
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10. Zhu, W., and Gibbs, J. C., “Use of Different Limestone and Chalk
Powder in Self Compacting Concrete,” Cement and Concrete Research,
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11. Torrijos, M. C.; Barragan, B. E.; and Zerbino, R. L., “Physical-Mechanical
Properties and Mesostructure of Plain and Fiber Reinforced Self-Compacting
Concrete,” Construction & Building Materials, V. 22, 2008, pp. 1780-1788.
12. Hossain, K. M. A., and Lachemi, M., “Bond Behavior of Self-Consol-
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ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012 583
In ACI STRUCTURAL JoURnAL
The American Concrete Institute also publishes the ACI
Structural Journal. This section presents brief synopses of
papers appearing in the current issue.
From the September-October 2012 issue
PDF versions of these papers are available for download at
the ACI website, www.concrete.org, for a nominal fee.
and errors in experimental works and increase the credibility of test results.
The authors analyzed the accuracy and reliability of various measurement
alternatives employed in this study. Acceptable performance was demonstrated
when electrical resistance strain gauges (ERSGs) were placed on strands’
surfaces at intervals of 5.9 in. (150 mm) and on concrete surfaces with cover
thicknesses not greater than 3.0 in. (75 mm). Also, strain readings from gauges
mounted on strands can be used to estimate the amount of prestress through
an adjustment process. High-temperature steam curing somewhat adversely
affects transfer length; and when strand is debonded near the end as is common
in the fabrication of precast prestressed concrete, a signifcant reduction of
transfer length may occur, especially at the cut end. The application of a sudden
detensioning method by disc cutting produces different transfer lengths at each
cut and dead end.
109-S55—Compatibility Strut-and-Tie Modeling: Part I—
Formulation
by Reece M. Scott, John B. Mander, and Joseph M. Bracci
A compatibility-based strut-and-tie model (C-STM) intended for analyzing
the nonlinear force-deformation behavior of disturbed regions and structural
concrete deep beams is presented. In addition to the normal strut-and-tie force
equilibrium requirements, the proposed C-STM accounts for nonlinear behavior
using nonlinear constitutive relations for cracked reinforced concrete. The model
is implemented using commercially available structural analysis software,
SAP2000
TM
. To assess C-STM accuracy, convergence studies using different
truss representations are explored. Particular emphasis is placed on investigating
the behavior of deep cantilevered beams to provide insight into the progression
of nonlinear response leading to the ultimate shear failure. New developments
for modeling the nonlinear behavior of concrete compression chord members
and compression-softening effects of diagonal concrete struts are proposed. The
implementation is presented in the companion paper.
109-S56—Compatibility Strut-and-Tie Modeling: Part II—
Implementation
by Reece M. Scott, John B. Mander, and Joseph M. Bracci
This paper presents the implementation and computational validation
of a compatibility-based strut-and-tie model (C-STM) presented
in a companion paper intended for analyzing the nonlinear force-
deformation behavior of disturbed regions and structural concrete deep
beams. The C-STM is used to predict the force-deformation response
and internal nonlinear strain behavior of previously conducted large-
scale reinforced concrete bridge bent-cap experiments. Additionally,
the experimental results are compared with current code-based
approaches to illustrate how the C-STM can be used as a minimalist
computational analysis tool to provide an accurate prediction of the
structure’s force-displacement response. A comprehensive description
of how the C-STM is implemented into structural analysis software
SAP2000
TM
is given to provide a step-by-step modeling procedure.
109-S57—Development Length of Unconfned Conventional
and High-Strength Steel Reinforcing Bars
by Amr Hosny, Hatem M. Seliem, Sami H. Rizkalla, and Paul Zia
The development length equation specifed by ACI 318-08 and the similar
equation recommended by ACI 408R-03 are based on extensive test results
using conventional reinforcement conforming to ASTM A615/A615M and
ASTM A706/A706M. With the development of new ASTM A1035/A1035M
high-strength steel reinforcement, several studies have been conducted to
examine whether the current equations are applicable for the new high-strength
reinforcing steel. These studies have shown that the current equations could,
in some cases, overestimate the bond strength of high-strength steel bars. This
paper proposes a new equation for the bond strength of unconfned reinforcing
109-S51—Effect of Load Distribution and Variable Depth on
Shear Resistance of Slender Beams without Stirrups
by Alejandro Pérez Caldentey, Patricio Padilla, Aurelio Muttoni,
and Miguel Fernández Ruiz
The shear resistance of elements without stirrups has mainly been
investigated by test setups involving simply supported beams of constant
thickness subjected to one- or two-point loading, and most of the formulas
included in codes have been adjusted using this experimental background.
Most design situations, however, involve constant or triangular distributed
loading on tapered members. Also, there seems to be few shear tests involving
cantilever structures subjected to distributed loading. These structures fail in
shear near the clamped end.
This paper presents a specifc testing program. It investigates the infuence
of load distribution and tapered beam geometrics on shear strength. The
experimental program consists of eight slender beams without stirrups. The
setup allowed direct comparisons between point and distributed loading. The
experimental results showed a signifcant infuence of the type of loading and of
tapered geometries on the shear strength. Based on these results, and using the
fundamentals of the critical shear crack theory, a consistent physical explanation
of the observed failure modes and differences in shear strength is provided. Also,
comparisons to current design provisions (ACI 318-08 and EC2) are discussed.
109-S52—Optimal Strut-and-Tie Models Using Full
Homogenization Optimization Method
by Juan Pablo Herranz, Hernán Santa María, Sergio Gutiérrez,
and Rafael Riddell
An optimization method based on homogenization is proposed for fnding
optimal strut-and-tie (ST) models for reinforced concrete (RC) elements.
The method uses a layout that minimizes displacement for a given loading
state in a linearly elastic regime by mixing two materials. Although this
optimal layout might contain fne mixtures, one can still obtain a strongly
resembling ST model without mixtures that performs closely to the optimal
confguration through a penalization procedure. Two examples from the ST
literature are used to illustrate the application of the method: the dapped beam
and the beam on beam. The reinforcement layouts obtained make the element
more effcient in terms of ultimate load divided by the weight of the steel used
and having smaller defections and crack widths.
109-S53—Cyclic Load Testing for Integrity Evaluation of
Prestressed Concrete Girders
by Francisco Barrios and Paul H. Ziehl
This study focuses on the performance and validation of the 24-hour load test
(24h LT) method and the cyclic load test (CLT) method as applied to full-scale
lightweight and normalweight self-consolidating prestressed concrete girders.
It examines data obtained from the four-point loading tests of six full-scale
T-girders and applies the current criteria from these methodologies to evaluate
the presence of damage and structural integrity. The experimental results indicate
that the recovery criteria of the 24h LT method were insensitive to damage and
hence did not provide a satisfactory integrity assessment of the members. The
permanency and repeatability criteria of the CLT were insensitive to damage for
the girders studied. The global integrity parameter based on the deviation from
linearity criterion from the CLT is proposed for the quantitative assessment of
the level of damage in prestressed concrete girders; the results indicate good
correlation with the experimental data.
109-S54—Methodological Aspects in Measurement of Strand
Transfer Length in Pretensioned Concrete
by Ho Park, Zia Ud Din, and Jae-Yeol Cho
This study assessed experimental methodological factors that might affect
the estimation of transfer length of pretensioned concrete to minimize trials
584 ACI Materials Journal/September-October 2012
bars for all three types of steel. The proposed equation for high-strength
steel is compared to extensive test data reported in the literature and is
found to be more accurate than ACI 318-08 and ACI 408R-03 equations
specified for conventional reinforcement.
109-S58—Improved Algorithm for Effcient and Realistic
Creep Analysis of Large Creep-Sensitive
Concrete Structures
by Qiang Yu, Zdeneˇ k P. Bažant, and Roman Wendner
A recent compilation of data on numerous large-span prestressed
segmentally erected box girder bridges revealed gross underestimation
of their multi-decade defections. The main cause was identifed as
incorrect and obsolete creep prediction models in various existing standard
recommendations and is being addressed in a separate study. However,
previous analyses of the excessive defections of the Koror-Babeldaob
(KB) Bridge in Palau and of four Japanese bridges have shown that a
more accurate method of multi-decade creep analysis is required. This
paper provides a systematic and comprehensive presentation, appropriate
not only for bridges but also for any large creep-sensitive structure. For
each time step, the solution is reduced to an elastic structural analysis with
generally orthotropic elastic moduli and eigenstrains. This analysis should
normally be three-dimensional. It can be accomplished with a commercial
fnite element code such as ABAQUS. Based on the Kelvin chain model,
the integral-type creep law is converted to a rate-type form with internal
variables. For time steps short enough to render aging during each step to
be negligible, a unique continuous retardation spectrum for each step is
obtained by Laplace transform inversion using simple Widder’s formula.
Discretization of the spectrum then yields the current Kelvin chain moduli.
The rate-type creep analysis is computationally more effcient than the
classical integral-type analysis. Also, it is possible to take into account
the evolution of various inelastic and nonlinear phenomena. Finally, the
advantages compared to the existing commercial programs are pointed out
and illustrated by a simple example.
109-S59—Design of Thick Concrete Plates Using Strut-and-
Tie Model
by E. Rizk, H. Marzouk, and R. Tiller
A strut-and-tie model (STM) is developed to model the punching shear
behavior of thick concrete plates. This model provides a quick and simple
approach to punching shear behavior. It is applicable to both normal- and
high-strength concrete under symmetric and nonsymmetric loading with and
without shear reinforcement. The STM for symmetric punching consists of
a “bottle-shaped” compressive zone in the upper section of the slab depth,
leading to a “rectangular-stress” compressive zone in the lower section
depth. An equation based on failure criteria for the STM is used to model
the behavior in the lower compressive stress zone. Another STM is also
developed to rationally model nonsymmetric punching shear behavior due to
unbalanced moment transfer and symmetric punching behavior of concrete
slabs with shear reinforcement. The results of the STMs for symmetric and
nonsymmetric loading with and without shear reinforcement were compared
to experimental test results performed and published by others. The results of
the STMs showed excellent agreement with available test results.
109-S60—Infuence of Span-Depth Ratio on Behavior of
Externally Prestressed Concrete Beams
by T. J. Lou, A. V. Lopes, and S. M. R. Lopes
This paper describes a numerical study on the fexural behavior of
concrete beams prestressed with external tendons, focusing on the effect of
the span-depth ratio (L/d
p
) on the response characteristics and the ultimate
stress in tendons and ductility behavior. A nonlinear model, calibrated by
the available experimental results of externally prestressed specimens, is
used for the parametric evaluation. The results show that the second-order
effects of externally prestressed beams with two deviators at third points
become increasingly important with the increase of the L/d
p
and that, due to
these effects, a higher L/d
p
registers a lower ultimate moment capacity. The
effect of the L/d
p
on the ultimate tendon stress is dependent on the type of
loading for internal unbonded tendons and on the confguration of deviators
for external tendons. Also, irrespective of second-order effects, the L/d
p
has
an insignifcant effect on the ductility of beams, and center-point loading
mobilizes higher defection ductility than third-point or uniform loading.
109-S61—Life-Cycle Cost Analysis of Carbon Fiber-Reinforced
Polymer Reinforced Concrete Bridges
by Nabil F. Grace, Elin A. Jensen, Christopher D. Eamon,
and Xiuwei Shi
This paper presents a life-cycle cost analysis (LCCA) of prestressed concrete
highway bridges using carbon fber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) reinforcement
bars and strands. Side-by-side box beam and AASHTO beam bridge structures
were considered over several span lengths and traffc volumes. The results show
that despite the higher initial construction cost of CFRP reinforced bridges, they
can be cost-effective when compared to traditional steel-reinforced bridges. The
most cost-effcient design was found to be a medium-span CFRP reinforced
AASHTO beam bridge located in a high-traffc area. A probabilistic analysis
revealed that there is greater than a 95% probability that the CFRP reinforced
bridge will become the least expensive option between 20 and 40 years of
service, depending on traffc volume and bridge geometry. The break-even year
between CFRP and steel reinforcement is typically at the time of the frst major
repair activity on the steel-reinforced concrete bridge.
109-S62—Shear Capacity Prediction of Reinforced Concrete
Beams without Stirrups Using Fracture Mechanics Approach
by Shilang Xu, Xiufang Zhang, and Hans W. Reinhardt
This study presents an analytical shear strength prediction equation for
lightly reinforced slender concrete beams without stirrups based on the
phenomenological experiment observations. The concept of the loss of bond
performance between concrete and longitudinal reinforcement was used in
these beams to explain the potential cause for the sudden release of longitudinal
reinforcement from wrapping concrete. In the proposed equation, shear capacity
was related to bond fracture resistance by introducing a new parameter: Mode II
fracture toughness K
IIc
. The equation showed the size effect with effective depth
to the power of –1/2 and was evaluated using test data published in other sources.
Comparisons between the proposed formula and other prediction equations
indicated that, for lightly reinforced slender concrete beams without stirrups,
this developed formula can estimate the shear strength of beams with varying
concrete strengths, shear span-depth ratios (a
s
/d), longitudinal reinforcement
ratios, and beam depths with reasonable accuracy.
109-S63—Repair of Corroded Prestressed Concrete Piles
of Harbor Landing Stages
by Tseng-Cheng Lin, Chyuan-Hwan Jeng, Chung-Yue Wang, and
Ting-Hung Jou
Corrosion and deterioration of concrete piles are common problems
for wharf structures. In Taiwan, corroded prestressed concrete (PC) piles
supporting landing stage structures are frequently repaired and strengthened
using carbon fber-reinforced polymer (CFRP) jacketing. This paper presents
an investigation on corroded and CFRP-repaired PC piles for landing stage
structures. Seven reduced-scale PC pile specimens were tested to investigate
their cyclic lateral load-carrying behavior. The experimental results showed
that the CFRP jacketing is rather effcient in terms of lateral strength,
capacity for deformation and energy dissipation, and stiffness degradation,
and is effective in repairing the seismic-resistance capacity of the corroded
specimens. This study also conducted fnite element (FE) analyses to analyze
the tests of the seven specimens, achieving good corroboration between the
analytical results and the tests.
109-S64—Simplifed Method for Nonlinear Dynamic Analysis
of Shear-Critical Frames
by Serhan Guner and Frank J. Vecchio
A nonlinear static analysis method was recently developed for the
performance assessment of plane frames. This method’s primary advantage is
its ability to accurately represent shear effects coupled with axial and fexural
behaviors through a simple modeling approach suitable for large-scale
applications. This study further develops this method to enable a dynamic load
analysis capability under impact, blast, and seismic loads. Newly developed
and implemented formulations are presented. The method is applied to 11
previously tested specimens, subjected to impact and seismic loads, to examine
its accuracy, reliability, and practicality. The method is found to simulate the
overall experimental behaviors with a high degree of accuracy. Strengths,
peak displacements, stiffnesses, damage, and failure modes (including shear-
critical behaviors) and vibrational characteristics are calculated accurately. The
method provides unconditional numerical stability and requires a fraction of the
computation time demanded by micro fnite element methods.
ACI
MATERIALS
JOURNAL
This journal and a companion periodical, ACI Structural
Journal, continue the publishing tradition the Institute
started in 1904. Information published in ACI Structural
Journal includes: structural design and analysis of concrete
elements and structures, research related to concrete
elements and structures, design and analysis theory, and
related ACI standards and committee reports.
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