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Construction and Building Materials 98 (2015) 5160

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Material design and characterization of high performance pervious

Rui Zhong, Kay Wille
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Connecticut, 261 Glenbrook Road, Unit 3037, Storrs, CT 06269-3037, United States

h i g h l i g h t s

! Development of high performance pervious concrete (HPPC) to advance and broaden the application of pervious concrete.
! Increase of strength and durability without sacrificing the hydraulic conductivity through tailored mix design.
! Use of ultra-high performance matrix for pervious concrete design.
! Material characterization regarding compressive behavior, hydraulic conductivity and freezethaw resistance.

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Continued urbanization and population growth further the growth of impervious urban areas, leading
Received 5 June 2015 to concerning adverse environmental and societal impacts. Pervious concrete has remarkable potential
Received in revised form 3 August 2015 to counteract these adverse impacts while providing necessary structural integrity, thus supporting
Accepted 6 August 2015
continued urbanization. Broader application of pervious concrete could be achieved through increased
Available online 24 August 2015
raveling resistance and enhanced durability performance. This research emphasizes the development
and characterization of high performance pervious concrete aiming at improved mechanical resistance
and advanced durability properties. In pursuit of this goal an ultra-high performance cement-based
Pervious concrete
High performance
matrix with compressive strengths in excess of 150 MPa (22 ksi) and high durability properties are
Compressive strength designed and applied to the mixture design concept of pervious concrete. The research results show
Hydraulic conductivity that compressive strength and elastic modulus increase by up to 150% and 100%, respectively, without
Durability sacrificing the hydraulic conductivity of the concrete. Furthermore, freezethaw tests have been
Freezethaw carried out to compare the durability performance of conventional pervious concrete with high
Porosity performance pervious concrete. Based on enhanced mechanical properties as well as improved
durability, high performance pervious concrete potentially allows extending the application of
pervious concrete and thus carries a vital potential in effectively counteracting the growth of
impervious urban areas.
! 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction surface to underlying layers [2] leading to the following features

in comparison to conventional impervious concrete (Fig. 1):
By 2050 continued growth of population and urbanization will Environmentally friendly potential combined with enhanced
potentially add 2.5 billion people to the worlds urban population traffic safety [312] promotes pervious concrete as construction
[1]. This trend presses the extension of urban areas and accompa- material for parking lots and road surfaces. However, broader
nying impermeable surfaces. Pervious concrete (PC), also referred application of pervious concrete could be achieved through miti-
to as porous or permeable concrete, is a porous media which pri- gating the following three risks:
marily consists of open-graded aggregates bonded by cement-
based matrix. The connected pores, typically in the range of 15% ! Risk of clogging by organic and inorganic material reduces the
to 30% per volume, allow air and fluids to pass easily from the hydraulic conductivity.
! Limited bond strength between the aggregates increases the
Corresponding author. risk of surface raveling, excessive cracking and wearing, leading
E-mail addresses: (R. Zhong), to accelerated deterioration especially under high-volume and
(K. Wille). heavy load traffic.
0950-0618/! 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
52 R. Zhong, K. Wille / Construction and Building Materials 98 (2015) 5160

Fig. 1. Comparison of pervious concrete to impervious concrete.

! High proportion of material surface area exposed to environ- UHPM. Fig. 3 illustrates the packing density of matrices of different
mental aggressors increases the risk of loss of structural integ- performance levels.
rity due to reduced durability.
II. Enhanced interfacial transition zone (ITZ) between matrix and
Research on long-term surface permeability has shown that aggregate. This is achieved through the incorporation of sil-
clogging particles asymptotically reduce the permeability, albeit ica fume and the use of MPEG type polycarboxylate ether
to an infiltration rate still considered to be high [13]. (PCE) based high range water reducer (HRWR). Silica fume
Additionally research results point out that the loss of permeability densifies the matrix through pozzolanic reaction and filler
depends on the clogging particle size to pore size ratio, leading to effect (Fig. 4). MPEG type PCE is able to efficiently disperse
losses in the range of negligible to 80% [14]. On-site experience has the fine particle system due to its balanced affinity to
also shown that clogging can be successfully minimized with cement, silica fume and silica powder [18]. This enables w/
proper material installation and maintenance using vacuum c ratio as low as 0.2 leading to densification of the
sweeping or pressure cleaning [15,16]. While clogging of pervious microstructure.
concrete becomes less concerning, its limited bond strength and III. Balanced aggregate to binder (A/B) ratio and tailored aggregate
durability properties remain an unresolved issue. size. High performance pervious concrete (HPPC) aims at
Motivated by the application potential of pervious concrete and higher bond strength (indirectly evaluated by the compres-
the potential benefits of enhancing bond strength and durability sive strength of the material) without sacrificing its func-
properties, this research emphasizes the development of high per- tional requirement to allow water penetrating through.
formance pervious concrete. Higher amount of matrix (lower A/B ratio) leads to reduced
total porosity and hydraulic conductivity but higher com-
2. Conceptual approach pressive strength whereas lower amount of matrix (higher
A/B ratio) results in increased total porosity and hydraulic
The following principles are followed to design high perfor- conductivity but lower compressive strength. Additionally,
mance pervious concrete (HPPC): the aggregate size affects the pore system characteristics
(total porosity, pore size and its distribution) and thus the
I. Employment of optimized ultra-high performance matrix. compressive strength and hydraulic conductivity [19].
Ultra-high performance matrix (UHPM) is replacing conven- Therefore a balanced A/B ratio and tailored aggregate size
tional matrix to cover the aggregate and bind them together are necessary to satisfy both of the competing performance
(Fig. 2). criteria.

Based on prior research [17] the incorporation of silica fume Other approaches, such as reduction in A/B ratio, incorporation
(SF) and ultra-fine silica powder (SP) in tailored proportion signif- of supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs), and addition of
icantly improves the packing density of the fine particle system of fine sand or polymer modification of matrix, are also employed

Fig. 2. Schematic comparison of pervious concrete employing different matrices.

R. Zhong, K. Wille / Construction and Building Materials 98 (2015) 5160 53

Fig. 3. Illustration of packing density of matrices of different performance levels.

(a) NSM (b) UHPM

Fig. 4. Microstructure of different matrices (7 days) using SEM.

Table 1
Matrix proportion and compressive strength. 3. Experimental study

Constituent Proportions by weight

3.1. Materials
Based on prior research results on material design of ultra-high performance
Cement 1 1
concrete [17] and on high performance pervious concrete (HPPC) [19], the following
Silica fume 0.25 0.00
materials are recommended:
Silica powder 0.25 0.00
Water 0.22 0.55
! Portland cement type I with a high C3S content (here 74%), a moderate fineness
HRWR 0.036 0.000
(here 3930 cm2/g Blaine value), a low C3A content (here 5%) and meeting ASTM
Compressive strength (MPa) 174 29
C150 standard specification for Portland cement.
! Silica fume with a very low carbon content (here 0.3%). The median particle size
of SF used for this research is 0.4 lm.
by researchers to improve the bond between the aggregates and
! Supplemental material with median particle size between silica fume and
therefore the compressive strength of pervious concrete. Detailed cement. Silica powder with a median particle size of 1.7 lm was used in this
discussion is presented in the following section. research.

Table 2
Mixture proportions for mechanical properties test.

Series Mixture IDa A/B Aggregate size (mm) Matrix strength (MPa)
HPPC UHPM-2.5-1.19 2.5 1.19 174
UHPM-3.0-1.19 3.0 1.19 174
UHPM-3.5-1.19 3.5 1.19 174
UHPM-2.5-4.75 2.5 4.75 174
UHPM-3.0-4.75 3.0 4.75 174
UHPM-3.5-4.75 3.5 4.75 174
PC NSM-2.5-1.19 2.5 1.19 29
NSM-3.0-1.19 3.0 1.19 29
NSM-3.5-1.19 3.5 1.19 29
NSM-2.5-4.75 2.5 4.75 29
NSM-3.0-4.75 3.0 4.75 29
NSM-3.5-4.75 3.5 4.75 29
Identifications start with the type of matrix, followed by the aggregate to binder ratio (A/B) and the aggregate size d.
54 R. Zhong, K. Wille / Construction and Building Materials 98 (2015) 5160

Table 3
Mixture proportions and test conditions of matrices for FT test.

Series Mixture IDa Test condition

NSM NSM-P Partially submerged
NSM-F Fully submerged
UHPM UHPM-P Partially submerged
UHPM-F Fully submerged
Mix identifications starts with the type of matrix, followed by test condition. P
and F stand for partially and fully submerged, respectively.

Table 4
Mixture proportions and test conditions of pervious concrete for FT test.

Series Mixture IDa Matrix Test condition

PC NSM-3.0-1.19-P NSM Partially submerged
NSM-3.0-1.19-F NSM Fully submerged Fig. 6. Pervious concrete compression test setup.

HPPC UHPM-3.0-1.19-P UHPM Partially submerged

UHPM-3.0-1.19-F UHPM Fully submerged
Mix identifications starts with the type of matrix, followed by the aggregate to
binder ratio A/B, aggregate size in millimeter and test condition. P and F stand for
partially and fully submerged, respectively.

! MPEG type polycarboxylate ether (PCE) high range water reducer (HRWR).
! Washed aggregate with 99% content of silicon dioxide.

The proportions of the matrices are summarized in Table 1.

3.2. Mixture proportion

3.2.1. For mechanical properties test

In total 12 mixtures were proportioned with varying matrix strength, aggregate
to binder ratio (A/B) by weight and aggregate size. Binder is defined here as the sum
of all fine powders, water and admixtures. The mixture proportions are listed in
Table 2.

3.2.2. For freezethaw durability test

Specimens with varying matrix type (NSM and UHPM) and test condition (par-
tially or fully submerged) were prepared to investigate the freezethaw (FT) resis-
tance of pervious concrete. Tables 3 and 4 summarize the mix proportions and test
conditions (partially or fully submerged) of the matrices and pervious concrete for
FT test, respectively. Partially submerged was achieved by adjusting the water
level to half of the specimen height.
Fig. 7. Schematic definition of linearity and energy absorption capacity.
3.3. Specimen preparation and test method

3.3.1. Compressive strength test under the stress versus strain curve up to the strain at peak stress (Fig. 7).
The compressive strength of matrix was determined in accordance with ASTM Furthermore linearity of the ascending part was determined using Eq. (1) following
C109/C109M-13. Loading faces of the cubic specimen were ground before testing to ASTM C469M.
assure plane surface and thus high consistency of test results (Fig. 5).
The compressive strength of pervious concrete was determined following ASTM k Et =Es 1
C39 with displacement controlled load application at a rate of 0.5 mm/min. About
6 mm (1/4 inch) was cut from each load surface of the cylinder (6 inch in height
and 3 inch in diameter). Both ends were sulfur capped prior to testing. 3.3.2. Porosity and hydraulic conductivity test
Longitudinal displacement was measured by three LVDTs as shown in Fig. 6. The procedure for porosity test has been reported in prior research and inter-
For each specimen a stress versus strain curve was obtained from which the ested readers are referred to [19] for detailed information. Since the hydraulic con-
compressive strength, elastic modulus, strain at peak stress, and energy absorption ductivity of pervious concrete (>10%3 m/s) is several orders of magnitude larger
capacity were calculated. The energy absorption capacity is defined as the area than conventional impervious concrete (<10%12 m/s) due to the large volume and

d) UHPM cube e) Debris from tested

a) Before grinding b) After 60 sec. c) After 3 min.
under test UHPM cube
Fig. 5. Specimen preparation (cube 50 & 50 & 50 mm [2 & 2 & 2 in.]) and failure of UHPM.
R. Zhong, K. Wille / Construction and Building Materials 98 (2015) 5160 55

Fig. 8. Hydraulic conductivity test rig.

interconnected pore system, conventional methods used to measure the water

transport property of normal concrete are not applicable. A constant head perme-
ameter was designed in the laboratory. The basic design consisted of a 102 mm
diameter clear PVC pipe U shape assembly as shown in Fig. 8. The specimens were
cut one inch from each end and sealed by shrink wrap to prevent lateral
The outflow of the system over time was tracked by an ADAM CBK Model Scale
with 16 kg capacity and 0.0005 kg precision. AdamDU data acquisition software Fig. 10. Stress versus strain curve for NSM-2.5-1.19 and UHPM-2.5-1.19.
was used to record the data continuously over 45 s. Three minutes were allowed
after the start of the test to let the system reach dynamic equilibrium. From each
experimental data set, the middle 35 s were selected as subset for calculating the 4. Results and discussion
flow rate of water. Eq. (2) was used for hydraulic conductivity calculation:

QL 4.1. Compressive strength of pervious concrete

K 2
Bond strength between the aggregates is indirectly evaluated by
where K is the hydraulic conductivity, Q is the flow rate of water, L is the length of
the sample (here 15 cm), A is the cross sectional area of the sample (here 46 cm2), the mechanical performance of the pervious concrete specimens
and h is the water head difference of the in-flow and out-flow (here 2631 cm). under uniaxial compression. The compressive strength of conven-
tional pervious concrete (PC) is usually lower than 20 MPa.
3.3.3. FT durability test Different strategies (Fig. 9) have been employed by researchers
The FT test was conducted according to the ASTM C666-03. Procedure A, rapid aiming at improving the strength of pervious concrete. These per-
FT in water, was followed. At the beginning of each test, specimens were either vious concretes with enhanced compressive strength are desig-
partially or fully submerged in water. The specimens were regularly taken out of
nated as high strength pervious concrete (HSPC) in this research.
the FT test table in a thawed condition and, after having been dried in the labora-
tory environment, tested in fundamental transverse frequency. The specimens were Compressive strength over 20 MPa was reported by reducing the
then returned to the steel holder to positions according to predetermined rotation A/B ratio [20,21]. Compressive strength of pervious concrete
schedule. Specimens were removed once they had been subjected to 300 cycles or exceeding 40 MPa was achieved through the incorporation of sup-
their relative dynamic modulus of elasticity (RDME) dropped below 60% of the ini- plementary cementitious materials (SCMs) such as silica fume (SF)
tial value. The RDME was calculated as follows:
and fly ash (FA), polymer modification of the matrix or combina-
n2c tion of SF and fine sand [2224]. It is worth noting that pervious
Pc & 100 3
n2 concrete with compressive strength more than 50 MPa was
reported in literature, however, a 2 MPa mold pressure was applied
where Pc is the relative dynamic modulus of elasticity (RDME) after c FT cycles, n is
the fundamental transverse frequency at 0 FT cycles and nc is the fundamental during testing and the compressive strength was reduced to
transverse frequency after c FT cycles. 27 MPa when the mold pressure decreased to 1 MPa [25].

Fig. 9. Compressive strength versus total porosity (See above-mentioned references for further information).
56 R. Zhong, K. Wille / Construction and Building Materials 98 (2015) 5160

Fig. 12. Elastic modulus of HPPC and PC.

Fig. 11. Peak strain versus compressive strength.

In this research high performance pervious concrete (HPPC)

with compressive strength over 40 MPa was designed (Fig. 9) fol-
lowing the aforementioned principles: optimized ultra-high per-
formance matrix, enhanced ITZ, balanced A/B ratio and tailored
aggregate size. Influence of matrix strength on compressive
strength versus porosity performance of pervious concrete is sum-
marized in [19].

4.2. Mechanical properties of pervious concrete under uniaxial


Fig. 10 compares the typical stress versus strain relationship for

HPPC and PC. Due to the large pore volume and random nature of
the pore size and its distribution, variation in compressive strength
and strain at peak stress is typically more pronounced for pervious
concrete than for conventional impervious concrete. Equal arc seg-
ment curve averaging method [28] was used to generate the aver-
age stress versus strain curve.
Fig. 10 shows that both the ascending and descending part of Fig. 13. Energy absorption capacity of HPPC & PC.
the stress versus strain curve for HPPC is significantly steeper than
for PC. This indicates higher modulus of elasticity and energy
absorption capacity of HPPC than PC. The strain at peak stress for presented in Table 5. Each data represents an average of three mea-
different mixtures is illustrated in Fig. 11. surements. Standard deviation of linearity is within 5%.
It was observed that the strain at peak stress is comparable for Modulus of elasticity and energy absorption capacity are plot-
HPPC and PC and both are close to the lower limit (0.002) of con- ted against the square root of compressive strength in
ventional concrete [29]. The test results of elastic modulus, strain Figs. 12 and 13, respectively. An increase in compressive strength
at peak stress, energy absorption capacity and linearity are increases the modulus of elasticity and energy absorption capacity.

Table 5
Summary of test results for different mixtures.

Series Mixture /t (%) fc0 (MPa) e (&10%3) Et (MPa) g (kJ/m3) k

UHPM-2.5-1.19 19.8 65.8 1.85 41,300 70.0 1.16
UHPM-3.0-1.19 24.7 52.9 1.65 36,400 47.4 1.14
HPPC UHPM-3.5-1.19 29.2 42.3 1.48 39,700 38.2 1.39
UHPM-2.5-4.75 22.5 34.9 1.78 33,000 39.5 1.68
UHPM-3.5-4.75 30.2 14.6 1.14 26,100 16.0 2.03
NSM-2.5-1.19 17.0 23.2 2.08 22,300 34.2 2.01
NSM-3.0-1.19 27.1 12.4 1.86 22,000 18.0 3.30
PC NSM-3.5-1.19 30.9 8.4 1.68 16,300 11.1 3.28
NSM-2.5-4.75 23.4 16.0 2.18 17,000 26.9 2.31
NSM-3.0-4.75 28.6 10.5 1.80 16,200 15.6 2.79
NSM-3.5-4.75 30.2 8.8 1.44 19,500 12.4 3.20
R. Zhong, K. Wille / Construction and Building Materials 98 (2015) 5160 57

Table 6
Hydraulic conductivity and porosity of HPPC and PC.

Serial No. Mixture No. /e (%) /t (%) K (mm/s)

HPPC UHSM-2.5-1.19 9.5 19.84 0.25
UHSM-3.0-1.19 15.7 24.65 1.21
UHSM-3.5-1.19 20.6 29.18 1.99
UHSM-2.5-4.75 14.0 22.46 0.52
UHSM-3.0-4.75 23.6 26.97 4.10
UHSM-3.5-4.75 26.7 30.22 5.15
PC NSM-2.5-1.19 13.6 17.02 0.41
NSM-3.0-1.19 23.9 27.06 4.00
NSM-3.5-1.19 29.1 30.94 6.00
NSM-2.5-4.75 20.5 23.35 3.60
NSM-3.0-4.75 25.9 28.59 5.40
NSM-3.5-4.75 28.3 30.18 6.40

Fig. 14. Linearity versus compressive strength.

Fig. 16. Balanced design of HPPC.

porosity and pore size distribution of the connected pore system.

Fig. 15 demonstrates the correlation between porosity and hydrau-
lic conductivity for the investigated series. Test results of hydraulic
conductivity (based on Eq. (2)) and porosity of HPPC and PC are
summarized in Table 6.
Fig. 15. Correlation between porosity and hydraulic conductivity. It is necessary to distinguish between total porosity and effec-
tive porosity. While total porosity is an influential parameter con-
trolling compressive strength [19], effective porosity is used to
Through linear best fit, similar relationship [30] between the
correlate to hydraulic conductivity. Effective porosity is defined
square root of compressive strength and elastic modulus is
q by the ratio of connected pore volume to the entire volume of
observed for pervious concrete (Ec 4880 f c 2800) in compar- the material. Further enhancement in predicting the hydraulic con-
q ductivity of pervious concrete can be achieved by considering vari-
ison to conventional concrete (Ec 4734 f c ). It is worth noting
ations in the structure of the pore system, such as pore size, pore
that the relationship does not intend to predict elastic modulus size distribution and connectivity [31].
of elasticity for pervious concrete due to the limited amount of In this research a correlation factor of R2 = 0.87 was calculated
data, but to indicate the trend between pervious concrete and con- between hydraulic conductivity and effective porosity, whereas
ventional concrete. The linearity k for different mixtures of pervi- the correlation to total porosity was R2 = 0.67 and therefore lower
ous concrete is summarized in Fig. 14 and follows the (Fig. 15). The dependence of compressive strength on total porosity
relationship of k 10f c
. Similar to conventional concrete, per- is plotted in Fig. 16. With the increase of porosity, compressive
vious concrete behaves more linearly, thus decreasing k, with strength decreases whereas the hydraulic conductivity increases.
increased matrix strength. While k of HPPC ranges between 1.1 Compressive strength and hydraulic conductivity are competing
and 2, the linearity of normal strength PC ranges between 2 and parameters. It can be seen that all of the PC series possessed
3.3 (Table 5). hydraulic conductivity over 1 mm/s, which is a threshold value
for pervious concrete [31,32]. However, this satisfactory hydraulic
4.3. Hydraulic conductivity conductivity is achieved at the cost of compressive strength, as
indicated by the lower than or close to 20 MPa compressive
Hydraulic conductivity K is the key property for the practical strength of PC series. Increasing matrix strength while maintaining
application of pervious concrete. It is mainly dependent on the pore volume and pore structure allows an increase the bond
58 R. Zhong, K. Wille / Construction and Building Materials 98 (2015) 5160

Fig. 17. FT resistance of matrices. Fig. 19. FT resistance of pervious concrete.

(a) NSM-3.0-1.19-F
(a) NSM-F

(b) UHPM-3.0-1.19-F

(b) UHSM-F Fig. 20. Damage comparison of pervious concrete subjected to 90 FT cycles.

Fig. 18. Matrices subjected to 45 FT cycles.

submerged specimens. The influence of the test condition on the
same matrix is more pronounced for NSM than UHPM series,
strength between the aggregates, and thus the compressive
which might be attributed to the lower permeability of UHPM.
strength of pervious concrete, all without sacrificing hydraulic con-
The improved FT durability of UHPM series in comparison to
ductivity. Here, all HPPC series demonstrated increased compres-
NSM series can be explained by (1) denser and finer microstruc-
sive strength while maintaining a hydraulic conductivity over
ture, and (2) lower amount of freezable water.
1 mm/s. It is worth noting that pervious concrete with compressive
Due to the incorporation of MPEG type PCE based HRWR and
strength in excess of 50 MPa and with hydraulic conductivity
optimized powder size distribution, a better particle packing and
higher than 1 mm/s is achievable (HPPC UHPM-3.0-1.19).
distribution of these fine particles for UHPM series can be achieved
which ultimately result in a denser microstructure. This is con-
4.4. Durability firmed by the larger spread value at lower w/c ratio (340 mm)
[19]. Furthermore, the direct consumption of portlandite and for-
Pervious concrete has demonstrated excellent performance in mation of additional CSH gel due to pozzolanic reaction of silica
the Southeastern U.S., but has seen limited use in environments fume (SF) in UHPM series refines the pore system in the matrix
with significant freezethaw cycles, such as Canada and the leading to a finer microstructure. The denser and finer microstruc-
Northern United States [3234]. Using durable UHPM matrix to ture of UHPM series leads to a reduced pore to pore distance and a
cover and bind the aggregates aims at significantly improved dura- lower possibility of FT failure based on Powers hydraulic pressure
bility. Fig. 17 illustrates the FT test results for the two matrices theory [35].
under half (H) and full (F) saturation conditions. Additionally, enhanced FT performance can be partially attrib-
The NSM-F specimens served as reference values and disinte- uted to the difference in w/c ratio of matrix. The w/c ratio of UHPM
grated severely after 30 FT cycles as shown in Fig. 18a while the series (0.22) is significantly lower than that of NSM series (0.55).
UHPM-F specimens remained intact (Fig. 18b). It should be noted Therefore the amount of freezable water is much less for UHPM
that no matrix specimens included any air entrainment. series than that of NSM.
Furthermore, it has been observed that the deterioration rate of Fig. 19 summarizes the FT testing results for pervious con-
partially submerged specimens is lower than that of fully crete. In general, HPPC series demonstrated better FT durability
R. Zhong, K. Wille / Construction and Building Materials 98 (2015) 5160 59

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