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Oluwatobi Fiyin BABARINDE

MS Structural Engineering and Infrastructure Materials

Northwestern University, Evanston IL.

Prof Gianluca CUSATIS
Prof. David CORR

March 2015

Concrete is the most widely-used construction materials for 3 major reasons although there are others.
First, concrete is highly durable against the action of water, also because it easy to manufacture it into
different shapes desires and lastly because it is relatively the cheapest material available to the
Concrete is a composite material comprising of aggregates and hydrated cement paste (HCP)
with/without admixtures. Generally, based on strength concrete can be classified as low, moderate or
high strength based on the compressive strength after 28 days. Also, concrete can be categorized based
the weight as light, normal and heavy weight.



Strength: is amount of load till failure. Concrete has excellent compressive strength, while the
tensile and compressive strengths are about 10 and 15% of the compressive strength.
Modulus of Elasticity: it is noteworthy that the elastic modulus of concrete is lower than that of
its constituents HCP and aggregates. This can be traced back to the micro structure.
Toughness: this is the amount of energy required till fracture. Typically, it is the area under the
stress-strain curve. Concrete is mostly brittle since it doesnt experience great elongations or
compression before failure.
Creep: is the strain that occur in concrete (and materials) when stress is held constant. The
adsorbed water in the HCP is main factor that affect this property.
Shrinkage: is the change in strain that concrete experience due to changes in the surrounding
temperature or humidity. When restrained, shrinking concrete develops tensile stresses, and
since the tensile strength is low, this leads to cracking.
Durability: this a measure of how resistant concrete is to attack from acids or other substances
that could cause loss of strength or detrimental changes in properties.

Concrete is a heterogeneous material and to understand behavior of this material an understanding of
the properties on the microscopic level go a long way shedding light on behaviors like creep and
shrinkage that .concrete exhibit.
Macroscopic observation of the structure of concrete identifies 2 major phases in concrete namely- the
aggregates and the hydrated cement paste HCP. However, on the microscopic scale, an additional and
very important region, called the interfacial transition zone, exist between the aggregates and the
hydrated cement paste. The microstructure of concrete is not an intrinsic property by can change with
temperature or humidity or time.
Aggregate Phase: This comprises of both the fine and coarse aggregates in concrete. Generally,
this phase affect properties like Elasticity modulus, unit weight and dimensional stability of
concrete. The sizes and texture of aggregates have a role to play in the formation of internal
bleeding which leads to micro-cracks in the transition phase. This internal bleeding can be
explained to occur when water tends to be pooled at the large flat surfaces of aggregates
hence making the water-cement ratio in the region higher, leading to the formation of bigger
capillary voids, more ettringites in the region, as well as the hexagonal-prism-shaped calcium
hydroxide CaOH (all having the impact of strength reduction).

Hydrated Cement Paste: This phase can be considered to consist of solids, liquids and voids. The
solids include the calcium silicate hydrate CSH which is about 50-60% of the HCP, calcium
hydroxide, which are about 20-25% by composition, calcium sulphoaluminate hydrates and
unhydrated clinker grains. The presence of monosulphates in concrete makes it susceptible to
acid attack hence affecting durability. The different properties of these solids affect properties
of the concrete, but since CSH is the largest by volume, it dominates. However, in the transition
layer, there is more likelihood of CaOH and ettringites been formed which leads to relatively
lower strength and higher chances micro-cracking.

Voids and Water: the voids in HCP include interlayer spaces of CSH layers, capillary voids, and
air voids from entrained air, while similarly water in HCP include capillary water, adsorbed
water, interlayer water and chemically combined water.



Total Strain: This is the total change in length per unit length observed on a specimen
Shrinkage: is the strain measured on a load-free concrete sample
o Basic shrinkage: this is a strain cause by water loss due to the hydration of cement.
o Drying shrinkage: here, the strain is due to moisture loss to the atmosphere due to
relative humidity less than 100%.
o Carbonation shrinkage: this is due to the reaction of Ca(OH)2 in the concrete with CO2 of
the atmosphere
o Plastic shrinkage: refers to the shrinkage concrete experiences before setting
o Swelling: is the expansion of concrete due to the reduction of capillary forces when
immersed in water.
Load induced strain: is the strain measured due to load application. It comprises of the initial
strain and creep strain.
Creep strain: This is the strain concrete experiences due to a constant stress level. It consists of:
o Basic creep: Is the creep occurring without water content reduction i.e. a sealed sample.
o Drying creep: as the name implies, is the creep strain accompanying moisture loss.
3 specimens are used to determine the drying creep: loaded and exposed, loaded but
sealed and unloaded and exposed samples.
Drying Creep = Total strain Loaded and Sealed Strain Unloaded and exposed strain
Figure 1 shows a plot of how the strains above are related.
Compliance: Defined as the amount of strain at a time t due to a unit sustained uniaxial
stress applied since time t
J(t, t) =

Specific Creep: is the creep strain per unit load

Creep coefficient: Ratio of creep strain to initial strain (obtained as early as 2 minutes age).

Figure 1: Showing the Relationship between Derived and Measure Strain Values

Mechanisms of Creep and Shrinkage:

Creep and shrinkage in concrete are usually discussed together because the governed by mostly the
same factors and can be modelled similarly. Several explanations have been put forward to discuss the
process of creep and shrinkage in concrete and the internal changes that occur, however, none of them
can be said to be 100% accurate because concrete is a complex material. Hence, a possibility is that a
combination of the mechanisms are governing the behavior of concrete with respect to creep and
shrinkage. Some mechanisms are:

The adsorbed water acting as a lubrincant that helps sliding and shear of cement paste during
creep or shrinkage.
Consolidation due to the seepage of adsorbed water
Delayed elasticity due to hcp acting as a restrains to the elastic deformation of the aggregates
Microcracking occuring in the transistion zone in concrete
Mechanical deformation

Factors Affecting Creep and Shrinkage

The following are some of the factors affecting creep and shrinkage as presented in ACI 209 1R-05:

Mix proportion and Concrete Content

- The amount of aggregate in concrete is known to affect affect shrinkage. Governed bySc = Sp(1-g)n where Sc is the shrinkage of concrete, Sp is the shrinkage of cement
paste, g is the fractional volume of the aggregates and n is a constant (1.2-1.7)
There is a similar relation found to govern creep as well.

Aggregate size also affect shrinkage as large aggregate imply large surface areas and
hence more internal bleeding in the transistion zone and hence formation of microcracks
which ultimately affects both shrinkage and creep
- Water content has been observed to increase shrinkage when increased. At a constant
cement content, basic and drying creep in concrete increases with water content in
concrete. However, a comparison between different w/c ratios is inappropriate as
different w/c ratios have different strength.
- Elastic Modulus of Aggregate. A stiffer aggregate will make the overall concrete
experience lesser shrinkage or creep and vice versa.
- Some properties of cement itself is known to affect shrinkage. For example, finely ground
cement has more shrinkage than coarse ones, higher aluminate content makes shrinkage
to be more rapid and lower sulphate cement has increased shrinkage.
- Admixtures: these have been found to either increase the shrinkage or otherwise
depending on what admixture is been considered
Environmental Factors
- Relative humidity is a major factor affecting shrinkage and creep. A relation between
shrinkage is:


S 1 (h/100)b b is from 1-4



Cyclic hummidity affects shrinkage as well. Concrete specimens stored at a constant

relative humidity environment of 65% exhibited greater drying shrinkage than
specimens stored in an environment that cycled between 40 and 90% relative humidity,
with an average relative humidity of 65%. The reverse is the case however in creep of
samples, with only a slight difference in creep strains.

Effects of Design and Construction Practises

- Curing for long period reduced drying shrinkage and creep. Predrying samples can reduce
creep as well.
- Heat and steam curing: this practise increases concrete strength from an early age hence
reducing shrinkage and creep for as much as 30% in both.
- Size and shape of member. Generally, thinner member experience more shrinkage than
this ones and there is an inverse relationship between shrinkage and the square of the
ratio of the volume and surface area of a member.
- Load and loading age: there exists a linear relationship between creep strain and concrete
strengths 0.3fc to 0.6fc. Also creep depends on time the time since load application.


All these factors discussed in the previous section are important and a good model for prediction of
creep or shrinkage must be able to account for all these factors to yield good forecasts of expected
values. However, accounting for all of these in the model great increases the complexity of an already
complex task. Therefore different models sought to simplify the problem to bring varying level of ease of
use for practicing engineers or researchers. These simplifications come at the price of accuracy of
prediction. Calculating the effects of creep and shrinkage on a structure is far more complex and of

lesser overall impact compared to the ease of calculating effects due to service loads and greater
importance this has on the building.
ACI 209.2R-08 put forward some guidelines to help in formulating models for predicting creep and
shrinkage while the following assumptions were made:
a. Shrinkage and creep are additive that is, they occur independent of each other
b. A linear aging model is assumed for creep with applied stress level less than 40% since creep can
be approximately proportional to the applied stress. Strain response due to stress increment are
then added by superimposition. Stress reversals are excluded while temperature and moisture
are held constant for superimposition to be applicable.
c. Creep is separated into basic and drying creep and basic creep is considered as a constitutive
property of the concrete
d. Experimental strains of creep and shrinkage are measured on the surface of the specimen
whereas such measurement are determined along the longitudinal axis by ASTM C157/C157M for
prismatic member. Hence it is assumed there is no gradient of strain in the section of the member
unless FE is used or gradient is linear.
e. Stresses induced during curing are negligible
Criteria for Prediction Models
Models are a compromise between accuracy and ease-of-use. However, the committee recommended
that at a minimum a model should include properties such as:
- Mix proportion, strength, elastic modulus etc
- Ambient relative humidity
- Duration of drying
- Duration of loading
- Specimen size
Since a model has to be calibrated and compared with existing data, models are to ensure adherence to
the following evaluation criteria to make predictions a good fit with data from the vast data in the RILEM
Evaluation Criteria for Models
- Drying shrinkage and creep do not increase indefinitely with time
- Equations should be capable of extrapolation in time and size
- Appropriate from databank should be used to compare the model
- Model equations should be easy to use and not highly sensitive to input parameters
- Shrinkage and creep curves predicted over a broad range of time should agree with test results.
- Compliance instead of creep coefficient should be used
- Creep equations should allow for the effect of pre-drying before loading
- Also equations should be able to account for cement contents such as fly-ash and other pozolans
- Should accommodate varying specimen sizes as well as relative humidity changes


The philosophy behind this model is that creep and shrinkage are predicted for a standard condition and
various correction factors are then applied to cater for deviation from the standard condition occurring
at the normal condition being considered. Here are some of the models of some material properties:

(fc')t =


Modulus of Rupture
fr = gr[w(fc')t]1/2
Direct Tensile Strength
ft = gt[w(fc')t]1/2
Secant Modulus of Elasticity
Ect = gct[w3(fc')t]1/2
where w is unit weight of concrete
t =

(sh)t =


Further relations were then given to model structural response due to creep and shrinkage, it should be
noted that the models are quite easy to use busy sacrifice accuracy and are more suited to the need of
practicing engineers desirous of accounting for these effects in structures.


Baant (1982) presented models based on constitute relations for creep and relaxation that could be
implemented in finite element software to predict creep and shrinkage in concrete. Based on the
principle of superimposition (applicable because concrete is treated as viscoelastic aging material),
model were formulated using 2 approaches: using history integrals and rate type relations.

Linear Constitutive Relations with History Integrals

At stress levels lower than 40% of the strength of concrete, the material can be treated as an aging linear
viscoelastic material. However, as much as the linearity helps to simplify the structural analysis, the aging
rather complicates it. Because of the linearity, we can employ the principle of superposition in modelling
the response of concrete. The principle in simple terms allows the discretization of the stress into d(t),
and the response of the structure at a time t is the sum of all the individual responses of d(t) acting since
time t=t.
So we can write the strain as:

() = 0 (, )( ) + ()

Where J(t,t) is the compliance function and 0(t) is the stress independent strain.

The above integral is applicable if stress are below 40% of strength as earlier noted, furthermore, the
strain must not increase in magnitude, no significant drying and there should not be a large increase in
stress after initial loading. The requirement on drying is of particular importance because it tends to
undermine the linearity of concrete due to cracking and microcracking that may occur.

The above integral can be re-written in term of the stress impulse memory function L(t,t) by integration
by parts as:
() =



+ 0 (, )( ) + ()

At constant strain, the phenomena in which the stress decrease is called stress relaxation and a relation
similar to (1) in terms of the relaxation modulus can be written to obtain the stress at a time t.

() = 0 (, )[( ) + ()]

In the absence of drying, it is possible to obtain J(t,t) from R(t,t) that will be very accurate when compared
to experimental values can be obtained, and the same is true for obtain R(t,t) from J(t,t).
As the above equations have been obtained for a uniaxial stress state, it is possible to write a multiaxial
generalization in the form:

3v (t) = (, ) ( ) + ()


(t) = (, ) ( )

(, ) = 6(. 5 )(, ) and (, ) = 2(1 + )(, )

For computer implementation, the above integrals can be evaluated numerically, by considering the
integral as a summation of a finite series of tiny strips taken of time. The function is the summed using
the trapezoidal rule. This procedure is similar to that used in the analysis of a structure to ground
acceleration data. This type of approach works well for small to medium size structures, how for large
structure, the data involve becomes very large and demand rather high computational resources,
however, more efficient approaches have been formulated.

Linear Constitutive Relations without History Integrals

This approach approximates the compliance function of the previous integrals by the form:



are both functions of time.

In terms of the retardation time,

This then allows the integral relation previous presented to be written as shown below after

More detailed relations could be obtained in the referenced text. The major benefit of this approach is
that it eliminates the large computation storage space need as the complete history is no longer

Other models such as CEB MC90-99, GL 2000 and BP model among others are also available based on
various approximations and yielding varying levels of accuracy. Only few of the models available for
predicting creep and shrinkage have been presented here, but the aim was not to get into the details of
all possible models but to give an overview of various models that have been developed for the task and
more importantly the considerations and factors that impact the prediction of creep and shrinkage since
these are processes that occur very slowly and we generally desire to be able to foretell what it will have
on concrete structures.
ACI 209.2R-08 Guide for Modelling and Calculating Shrinkage and Creep in Hardened Concrete
ACI 209R-92 Prediction of Creep and Shrinkage and Temperature Effects in Concrete Structures
ACI 209-1R-05 Report on Factors Affecting Shrinkage and Creep of Hardened Concrete
Mehta P.k. and Monterio P.J.M. (1993), Concrete: Microstructure, Properties and Materials, 2nd ed.,
McGraw-Hill New York.
Baant Z.P, 1982, Creep and Shrinkage in Concrete Structures, ed Baant Z.P and Wittmann F.H., John
Wiley & Sons Chichester.