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ACI 224R-90

Control of Cracking
in Concrete Structures

Reported by ACI Committee 224

The principal causes of cracking in concrete and recom- Contents


mended crack control procedures are presented. The cur-
rent state of knowledge in microcracking and fracture me- Chapter 1 -Introduction, page 224R-2
chanics is discussed. The control of cracking due to drying
shrinkage and crack control for flexural members, layered Chapter 2 -Crack mechanisms in concrete,
systems and mass concrete are covered in detail. Long-
term effects on cracking are considered, and crack control page 224R-2
procedures used in construction are presented. Informa- 2.1 - Introduction
tion is provided to assist the engineer and the constructor 2.2 - Microcracking
in developing practical and effective crack control pro- 2.3 - Fracture
grams for concrete structures.
Chapter 3 -Control of cracking due to drying
Keywords: adiabatic conditions; aggregates: air entrainment; an- shrinkage, page 224R-9
chorage (structural); beams (supports); bridge decks; cement-ag-
gregate reactions; cement content; cement types; compressive 3.1 - Introduction
strength: computers; concrete construction; concrete pavements; 3.2 - Crack formation
concrete slabs; concretes; conductivity: consolidation; cooling; 3.3 - Drying shrinkage
crack propagation; cracking (fracturing); crack width and spacing: 3.4 - Factors influencing drying shrinkage
creep properties; diffusivity; drying shrinkage; end blocks; expan- 3.5 - Control of shrinkage cracking
sive cement concretes; extensibility; failure; fibers; heat of hydra- 3.6 - Shrinkage-compensating concretes
tion; insulation; joints (junctions); machine bases; mass concrete;
microcracking; mix proportioning; modulus of elasticity; moisture Chapter 4 -Control of cracking in flexural
content; Poisson ratio; polymer-portland cement concrete; pozzo-
lans; prestressed concrete; reinforced concrete; reinforcing steels; members, page 224R-16
restraints; shrinkage: specifications; specific heat; strain gages; 4.1 - Introduction
strains; stresses; structural design; temperature; temperature rise 4.2 - Crack control equations for reinforced concrete beams
(in concrete); tensile stress; tension; thermal expansion; volume 4.3 - Crack control in two-way slabs and plates
change. 4.4 - Tolerable crack widths versus exposure conditions in re-
inforced concrete
4.5 - Flexural cracking in prestressed concrete
4.6 - Anchorage zone cracking in prestressed concrete
4.7 - Tension cracking

ACI Committee Reports, Guides, Standard Practices , and Com- Chapter 5 -Long-term effects on cracking,
mentaries are Intended for guidance in designing, planning,
executing, or inspecting construction, and in preparing speci- page 224R-21
fications Reference to these documents shall not be made in
the Project Documents. If items foun d in these documents are
5.1 - Introduction
desired to be part of the Project Documents, they should be 5.2 - Effects of long-term loading
phrased in mandatory language and incorporated into the Proj- 5.3 - Environmental effects
ect Documents. 5.4 - Aggregate and other effects
5.5 - Use of polymers in improving cracking characteristics

Copyright 0 1990 , American Concrete Institute. All rights reserved including written or oral, or recording for sound or visual reproduction or for use in any
rights of reproduction and use in any form or by any means, including the making of knowledge or retrieval system or device, unless permission in writing is obtained
copies by any photo process, or by any electronic or mechanical device, printed or from the copyright proprietors.

224R-1
ACI COMMITTEE REPORT

Chapter 6- Control of cracking in concrete inforced and prestressed concrete members have
layered systems, page 224R-23 been condensed into a single chapter, Chapter 4, on
6.1 - Introduction crack control in flexural members. The resulting pre-
6.2 - Fiber reinforced concrete (FRC) overlays
6.3 - Latex modified concrete (LMC) overlays sentation is more concise and, hopefully, more useful
6.4 - Polymer impregnated concrete (PIC) systems to the structural designer. Chapter 5, on long-term
Chapter 7- Control of cracking in mass con- effects, details some interesting findings on the
crete, page 224R-26 change of crack width with time. Chapters 3, 7, and
7.1 - Introduction 8, which consider drying shrinkage, mass concrete,
7.2 - Crack resistance and construction practices, respectively, have been
7.3 - Determination of temperatures and tensile strains expanded and updated to take into account the most
7.4 - Control of cracking
7.5 - Testing methods and typical data recently developed procedures in these areas. In ad-
7.6 - Artificial cooling by embedded pipe systems dition, new sections have been added to Chapters 7
7.7 - Summary - Basic considerations for construction controls
and specifications and 8 which provide specific guidance for the devel-
opment of crack control programs and specifications.
Chapter 8- Control of cracking by correct The committee hopes that this report will serve as
construction practices, page 224R-36 a useful reference to the causes of cracking and as a
8.1 - Introduction key tool in the development of practical crack con-
8.2 - Restraint
8.3 - Shrinkage trol procedures in both the design and the construc-
8.4 - Settlement tion of concrete structures.
8.5 - Construction
8.6 - Specifications to minimize drying shrinkage
8.7 - Conclusion References
1.1. ACI Committee 224, Control of Cracking in Con-
Chapter 9 -References, page 224R-42 crete Structures, ACI JOURNAL, Proceedings V. 69, N O .
9.1 - Specified and/or recommended references 12, Dec. 1972, pp. 717-753.
9.2 - Cited references 1.2. ACI Committee 224, Causes, Mechanism, and Con-
trol of Cracking in Concrete, ACI Bibliography No. 9,
Chapter 1 - Introduction American Concrete Institute, Detroit, 1971, 92 pp.
Cracks in concrete structures can indicate major
structural problems and can mar the appearance of Chapter 2 - Crack mechanisms in concrete*
monolithic construction. They can expose reinforcing 2.1 - Introduction
steel to oxygen and moisture and make the steel Beginning with the work at Cornell University in
more susceptible to corrosion. While the specific the early 1960s,2 .1 a great deal has been learned
causes of cracking are manifold, cracks are normally about the crack mechanisms in concrete, both at the
caused by stresses that develop in concrete due to microscopic and the macroscopic level. Of special in-
the restraint of volumetric change or to loads which terest during the early work was the realization that
are applied to the structure. Within each of these the behavior of concrete, under compressive as well
categories there are a number of factors at work. A as tensile loads, was closely related to the formation
successful crack control program must recognize of cracks. Under increasing compressive stress, mi-
these factors and deal with each of them, in turn. croscopic cracks (or microcracks) form at the mortar-
This report presents the principal causes of crack- coarse aggregate boundary and propagate through
ing and a detailed discussion of crack control pro- the surrounding mortar, as shown in Fig. 2.1.
cedures. The body of the report consists of seven During the first decade of research, a picture de-
chapters designed to help the engineer and the con- veloped that closely linked formation and propaga-
tractor in the development of effective crack control tion of these microcracks to the load-deformation be-
measures. havior of concrete. Prior to load, volume changes in
This report is an update of a previous committee cement paste cause interfacial cracks to form at the
report, issued in 1972.1.1 The original report was mortar-coarse aggregate boundary.2.2,2.3 Under short-
supplemented by an ACI Bibliography on cracking,1 . 2 term compressive load, no additional cracks form un-
also issued by this committee. In the updating pro- til the load reaches approximately 30 percent of the
cess, many portions of the report have undergone compressive strength of the concrete.2.1 Above this
sizeable revision, and the entire document has been value, additional bond cracks initiate throughout the
subjected to a detailed editorial review. Chapter 2, matrix. Bond cracking increases until the load
on crack mechanisms, has been completely rewritten reaches approximately 70 percent of the compressive
to take into account the experimental and analytical strength, at which time microcracks begin to propa-
work that has been done since the completion of the gate through the mortar. Mortar cracking continues
first committee report. Chapter 6, on crack control at an accelerated rate until the material ultimately
in concrete layered systems, is new to the report fails. For concrete in uniaxial tension, experimental
and deals with a form of concrete construction that work indicates that major microcracking begins at
was in its infancy at the time the first report was about 60 percent of the ultimate tensile strength.2.4
drafted. Individual chapters on crack control in re- *Principal author: David Darwin.
CONTROL OF CRACKING 224R-3

Studies of the stress-strain behavior and volume


change of concrete 2.5 indicate that the initiation of
major mortar cracking corresponds with an observed
increase in the Poissons ratio of concrete. The term
discontinuity stress is used for the stress at which
this change in material behavior occurs.
In general, it has been agreed that the micro-
cracking that occurs prior to loading has very little
effect on the strength of concrete. However, work
by Brooks and Neville 2.6 indicates that the effect of
early volume change on microcracking of concrete
may result in a reduction of both tensile and com-
pressive strength as concrete dries out. Their study
$EGlrgyj
shows that upon drying, the strength of test speci- m
m 0.0012 0. CKI
mens first increases and then decreases. They postu- STRAIN STRAIN
late that the initial increase is due to the increased
strength of the drier cement paste and that the ulti- Fig. 2.1 - Cracking maps and stress-strain curves
for concrete loaded in uniaxial compression. *
mate decrease in strength is due to the formation of
shrinkage induced microcracks.
*From S. P. Shah, and F. O. Slate, Internal Microcracking,
Work by Meyers, Slate, and Winter 2.7 and Shah Mortar-Aggregate Bond and the Stress-Strain Curve of Con-
and Chandra2.8 demonstrates that microcracks in- crete, Proceedings, International Conference on the Structure of
crease under the effect of sustained and cyclic load- Concrete (London, Sept. 1965), Cement and Concrete Association,
London, 1968, pp. 82-92.
ing. Their work indicates that the total amount of
microcracking is a function of the total compressive
strain in the concrete and is independent of the
method in which the strain is applied. Sturman,
crete. 2.11-2.14 The crack resistance was expressed in
Shah, and Winter2.9 found that the total degree of terms of the strain energy release rate at the onset
microcracking is decreased and the total strain ca- of rapid crack growth, G, which is directly related to
pacity in compression is increased when concrete is the fracture toughness of the material. Later in-
subjected to a strain gradient. vestigations evaluated the crack resistance of paste,
At about the same time that the microcracking mortar and concrete in terms of the fracture tough-
studies began, investigators began applying fracture ness, itself.2.15 Work by Naus and Lott2.16 indicated
mechanics to the studies of concrete under load. The that the fracture toughness of paste and mortar in-
field of fracture mechanics, originated by Griffith2.10 creased with decreasing water-cement ratio, but that
in 1920, serves as the primary tool for the study of the water-cement ratio had little effect on the frac-
brittle fracture and fatigue in metal structures. ture toughness of concrete. They found that K Ic in-
Since concrete has for many years been considered a creased with age, and decreased with increasing air
brittle material in tension, fracture mechanics is con- content for paste, mortar, and concrete. The effec-
sidered to be a potentially useful analysis tool for tive fracture toughness of mortar increased with in-
concrete by many investigators. 2. .12 creasing sand content, and the fracture toughness of
The field of fracture mechanics was first applied concrete increased with an increase in the maximum
to concrete by Kaplan 2.11 in 1961. The classical the- size of coarse aggregate.
ory serves to predict, the rapid propagation of a Additional work by Naus,2.17 presented just prior
macrocrack through a homogeneous, isotropic, elas- to the previous committee report,1.1 indicated that
tic material. The theory makes use of the stress in- fracture toughness was not independent of speci-
tensity factor, K I , which is a function of crack geom- men geometry for tensile specimens of paste, mortar
etry and stress. Failure occurs when K I reaches a and concrete and that fracture toughness was a func-
critical value, K Ic , known as the critical stress-in- tion of the crack length. These observations lead to
tensity factor under conditions of plane strain. K Ic is the possibly erroneous conclusion that fracture me-
thus a measure of the fracture toughness of the ma- chanics may not be applicable to concrete. Because
terial. To properly measure K Ic for a material, the certain size requirements must be met, before frac-
test specimen must be of sufficient size to insure ture mechanics is applicable, these results may only
maximum constraint (plane strain) at the tip of the indicate that the test specimen did not satisfy all of
crack. For linear elastic fracture mechanics (LEFM) the minimum size requirements of linear elastic frac-
to be applicable, the value of K Ic must be a material ture mechanics.
constant, independent of the specimen geometry (as The balance of this chapter describes some of the
are other material constants such as yield strength). more recent studies of crack mechanisms in concrete
The earliest experimental work utilized notched and gives a somewhat different picture from that
tension and beam specimens of mortar and con- presented in the previous committee report.
224R-5

l/3
0
w
oz
z
- 10
o UNCOATEDAGG.
l COATED AGG.

1600 2000 2400 2800 3200


MICROSTRAIN

Fig. 2.4 - Stress-strain curves as influenced by coating aggregates (Reference


2.36).

seemed to indicate a very large effect, thus empha- Work by Carino,2.38 using polymer impregnated
sizing the importance of interfacial strength on the concrete, seems to corroborate these two studies.
behavior of concrete. These studies utilized rela- Carino found that polymer impregnation did not in-
tively thick, soft coatings on the coarse aggregate to crease the interfacial bond strength, but did increase
reduce the bond strength. Since these soft coatings the compressive strength of concrete. He attributed
isolated the aggregate from the surrounding mortar, the increase in strength to the effect of the polymer
the effect was more like inducing a large number of on the strength of mortar, thus downgrading the im-
voids in the concrete matrix. portance of the interfacial bond.
Two other s t u d i e s 2 . 3 6 , 2 . 3 7 which did not isolate the The importance of mortar, and ultimately cement
coarse aggregate from the mortar indicate that the paste, in controlling the stress-strain behavior of
interfacial strength plays only a minor role in con- concrete is illustrated by the finite element work of
trolling the stress-strain behavior and ultimate Buyukozturk2.37 and Maher and Darwin. 2.31,2.32 Using
strength of concrete. Darwin and Slate 2 . 3 6 used a a linear finite element representation of a physical
thin coating of polystyrene on natural coarse aggre- model of concrete, Buyukozturk was able to simulate
gate. They found that a large reduction in interfacial the overall crack patterns under uniaxial loading.
bond strength causes no change in the initial stiff-
ness of concrete under short-term compressive loads
and results in approximately a 10 percent reduction
in the compressive strength as compared to similar
concrete made with aggregate with normal inter-
facial strength (see Fig. 2.4). They also found that
the lower interfacial strength had no appreciable ef-
fect on the total amount of microcracking. However,
in every case, the average amount of mortar crack-
ing was slightly greater for the specimens made
with coated aggregate. This small yet consistent dif-
ference may explain the differences in the stress-
strain curves.
Perry and Gillott 2 . 3 7 used glass spheres with dif-
Mortar
ferent degrees of surface roughness as coarse aggre-
gate. Their results indicate that reducing the inter-
facial strength of the aggregate decreases the
initiation stress by about 20 percent, but has very
little effect on the discontinuity stress. They also ob- Fig. 2.5 - Stress-strain curves for concrete model. *
served a 10 percent reduction in the compressive
*From A. Maher. and D. Darwin, Microscopic Finite Element
strength for specimens with low mortar-aggregate Model of Concrete, presented at the First International Confer-
bond strength. ence on Mathematical Modeling (St. Louis. Aug.-Sept. 1 9 7 7 ) .
224R-6 ACI COMMl=lTEE REPORT

S t r e s s . PSI duplicated 2.25 While the statistical variations un-


4 lMPar
doubtedly play a part, the major nonlinear behavior
can also be matched by considering the non-
linearities of the mortar constituent.2.31,2.32 Fig. 2.6 il-
w- ,
\
. _
lustrates the results obtained for a highly simplified
model of concrete under uniaxial compression using
a nonlinear representation for mortar. The stress-
strain curve for the model without cracking differs
-- Normal fnterfaclal Str.
- ._ I nfuxte I nterfaciaf Str Aggregate
very little from that of models that have a normal,
._ Zwo Tenstle and Cohewe Mortar or above normal, amount of microcracking. Micro-
I nterfaclal Str.
- - - Z e r o InterfacIal Str. cracks have a relatively minor effect on the primary
stress-strain behavior of the models. The dominant
L_._ 1
effect of microcracking is to increase the lateral
*l. 0 *2. 0 0. 0 1.0 .?. 0 strain. In every case the failure of the model is gov-
Strdln. 0.001 In/in erned by crushing of the mortar which occurs at
an average strength below that of the mortar alone.
Fig. 2.6 - Stress-strain curve for finite element
model of concrete with varying values of mortar-ag- Newman 2.5s and Tasuji, Slate, and Nilson 2.40 lhave
gregate bond strength (Reference 2.32). observed that the principal tensile strain in concrete
at the discontinuity stress appears to be a function
of the mean normal stress, 0, = (0,+0,+0,)/3. In
However, his finite element model could not dupli- their study of the biaxial strength of concrete, Ta-
cate the nonlinear experimental behavior of the suji, et al., observe that the final failure of their
physical model using the formation of interfacial specimens consists of the formation of macroscopic
bond cracks and mortar cracks as the only nonlinear tensile cracks. They also observe that the stress at
effect. Maher and Darwin2 .31,2.32 have shown that by discontinuity occurs at approximately 75 percent of
using a nonlinear representation for the mortar con- the ultimate strength in compression and at about 60
stituent of the physical model, a very close represen- percent of the ultimate strength for those cases in-
tation of the actual behavior can be obtained. The volving tension, matching the levels at which mortar
results for Buyukozturks model are shown in Fig. cracking begins. 2.3,2.4 l Their work seems to point very
2.5 . strongly toward a limiting tensile strain as the
The inability of linear elastic models 2.25,2.26,2.39 to governing factor in the strength of concrete.
duplicate the nonlinear behavior of concrete utilizing Overall, the damage to cement paste seems to
microcracking alone has been explained as being due play an important role in controlling the primary
to the fact that concrete is really a statistical mate- stress-strain behavior of concrete under short-term
rial. When the proper statistical variation is se- axial load. In normal weight concrete, aggregate
lected, the nonlinear behavior of concrete can be particles act as stress-raisers, increasing the initial
stiffness and decreasing the strength of the paste.
For cyclic and sustained loading, a great deal of the
bond cracking results from load induced volume
changes within the paste, but has no significant ef-
fect on strength. A number of investigators feel that
the onset of mortar cracking marks the true ulti-
mate strength of concrete. 2.6-2.8,2.33,2.34,2.41
l Whether
mortar cracking itself controls the strength of con-
v MORTAR@21 v crete or whether it only signals intimate damage of
0 CONCRETE 0 the cement paste remains to be seen. Additional
studies in this area are clearly warranted.

2.3 - Fracture
Since the publication of the previous report, a
number of investigations have shed additional light
ti on the applicability of fracture mechanics to con-
* OS I I I I I * crete and its constituent materials.
lJ4 l/2 314 1 Shah and McGarry utilized flexure specimens sub-
(6.4) (12.7)(19. 1)(2X 4) jected to three-point loading.2.42 Their work indicates
NOTCH DEPTH, INCHES (mm) that while paste is notch sensitive, neither mortar
nor concrete are affected by a notch (Fig. 2.7). Shah
Fig. 2.7 - Effect of notch depth on flexure strength and McGarry also ran a series of tests using notched
(Reference 2.42). tensile specimens and determined that paste speci-
CONTROL OF CRACKING 224R-7

mens, and mortar specimens made with fine aggre-


gate that passed the #30 sieve, are notch sensitive,
but that mortar specimens containing larger sizes of
aggregate are not notch sensitive.
Brown utilized notched flexure specimens and
double cantilever beam specimens of paste and mor-
tar2.18 8 His tests show that the fracture toughness of
cement paste is independent of crack length and is
therefore a material constant. The fracture tough-
ness of mortar, however, increases as the crack
propagates, indicating that the addition of fine ag-
gregate improves the toughness of paste. This be-
havior is similar to the behavior found in structural
steels that exhibit a plane strain-plane stress transi-
tion. Because the plane strain-plane stress transition
occurs beyond the limits of LEFM, the analysis is
more complex. To re-establish the applicability of
LEFM, larger test specimens must be used with
tougher materials such as mortar.
Mindess and Nadeau investigated the effect of
notch width on KI for both mortar and concrete.2.20
Utilizing notched beam specimens of constant length
and depth, with varying widths, they found that
within the range studied, there was no dependence
of fracture toughness upon the length of crack front.
Since their work utilized small specimens with a
depth of only about 50 mm (2 in.), there is some in-
dication that rather than measuring the fracture 0.10 L I I

1 4
toughness of the material, they were simply measur-
ing the modulus of rupture. a/a0 (log scale)
The applicability of these results, and much of the
other fracture mechanics work, has been brought Fig. 2.8 - Relationship bet ween test results and
into perspective based on the experimental work by theory for notched concrete beams (Reference 2.22).
Walsh. In separate investigations of notched beam
specimens2.21 and beams with right angle re-entrant
notches2.22 Walsh has demonstrated that specimen
size has a marked influence on the applicability of
linear elastic fracture mechanics to the failure of
plain concrete specimens. As illustrated in Fig. 2.8,
for specimens of similar geometry but below a cer-
tain critical size, the specimen capacity is governed
by the modulus of rupture of concrete, calculated
from the linear stress distribution. For specimens
above this size, the strength is governed by the frac-
ture toughness, which he approximated as a function
of the square root of the compressive strength of the L-__ -- ~_. - -~ 1
concrete. Walsh concluded that, for valid toughness
testing of concrete, the depth of notched beams
must be at least 230 mm (9 in.). This type of behav- Fig. 2.9 - Effect of notch depth on flexural strength
ior is also observed in metals, i.e., for valid fracture (Reference 2.23).
mechanics test results, the test specimens must
meet minimum size requirements (ASTM E 399). notch sensitivity of paste, mortar and concrete using
These size requirements are dependent upon the three-point bend specimens similar to those used by
square of the toughness levels being measured. Thus Shah and McGarry2.42 As shown in Fig. 2.9, they de-
a material whose toughness level is twice that of termined that both mortar and concrete are notch
another material (all other properties being equal), sensitive, but less sensitive than cement paste. They
must have specimen dimensions four times that of conclude that the disagreement with the earlier re-
the first material for the test results to be equally sults is due in part to their improvement in the load-
valid. ing procedure. They feel that linear elastic fracture
Gjorv, Sorensen and, Arnesen2.23 investigated the mechanics is applicable to the small specimens of
ACI COMMITTEE REPORT

paste, but not to the small size specimens of mortar 2.2. Hsu, Thomas, T. C., Mathematical Analysis of
and concrete. Even the small specimens of mortar Shrinkage Stresses in a Model of Hardened Concrete,
and concrete, however, have some degree of notch ACI JOURNAL , Proceedings V. 60, No. 3, Mar. 1963, pp.
sensitivity since the failure is not consistent with the 371-390.
modulus of rupture based on the net cross section. 2.3. Slate, Floyd O., and Matheus, Ramon E., Volume
Citing Walshs earlier work,2.21 they agree that Changes on Setting and Curing of Cement Paste and Con-
LEFM is applicable to large concrete specimens, but crete from Zero to Seven Days, ACI JO U R N A L, Pro-
that it is not applicable to small specimens. ceedings V. 64, No. 1, Jan. 1967, pp. 34-39.
Hillemeier and Hilsdorf 2.43 utilized wedge loaded, 2.4. Evans, R. H., and Marathe, M. S., Microcracking
and Stress-Strain Curves for Concrete in Tension, Mate-
compact tension specimens to measure the fracture
rials and Structures, Research and Testing (Paris), V. 1,
toughness of paste, aggregate and the paste-aggre- No. 1, Jan. 1968, pp. 61-64.
gate interface. They feel that, while the failure of 2.5. Newman, Kenneth, Criteria for the Behavior of
concrete in tension and compression is controlled by Plain Concrete Under Complex States of Stress, Pro-
many interacting cracks rather than by the propaga- ceedings, International Conference on the Structure of
tion of a single crack, fracture mechanics does offer Concrete (London, Sept. 1965), Cement and Concrete Asso-
an important tool for evaluating the constituent ma- ciation, London, 1968, pp. 255-274.
terials of concrete. They found that paste is a notch 2.6. Brooks, J. J., and Neville, A. M., A Comparison of
sensitive material and that the addition of entrained Creep, Elasticity and Strength of Concrete in Tension and
air or soft particles has only a small affect on K I c . in Compression, Magazine of Concrete Research (London),
Their work indicates that the KIc values for inter- V. 29, No. 100, Sept. 1977, pp. 131-141.
facial strength between paste and aggregate is only 2.7. Meyers, Bernard L.; Slate, Floyd O.; and Winter,
about one-third of the KIc value for paste alone, and George, Relationship Between Time-Dependent Deforma-
that the characteristic value of KIC for aggregate is tion and Microcracking of Plain Concrete, ACI JOURNAL ,
approximately ten times that of paste. Proceedings V. 66, No. 1, Jan. 1969, pp. 60-68.
Swartz, Hu, and Jones2.24 used compliance mea- 2.8. Shah, Surendra P., and Chandra, Sushil, Fracture
surement to monitor crack growth in notched con- of Concrete Subjected to Cyclic and Sustained Loading,
ACI JOURNAL, Proceedings V. 67, No. 10, Oct. 1970, pp.
crete beams subjected to sinusodial loading. They
816-824.
conclude that this procedure is useful for monitoring
2.9. Sturman, Gerald M.; Shah, Surendra P.; and Winter,
crack growth in concrete due to fatigue. Based on George, Effects of Flexural Strain Gradients on Micro-
the appearance of the fracture surface, which shows cracking and Stress-Strain Behavior of Concrete, ACI
a combination of both aggregate fracture and bond JOURNAL, Proceedings V. 62, No. 7, July 1965, pp. 805-822.
failure, they feel that fracture toughness is not a 2.10. Griffith, A. A., The Phenomena of Rupture and
pertinent material property. However, they state Flow in Solids, Transactions, Royal Society of London,
that an effective fracture toughness might be a No. 221A, 1920, pp. 163-198.
significant material property if related to specific 2.11. Kaplan, M. F., Crack Propagation and the Frac-
material and specimen variables such as aggregate ture of Concrete, ACI JOURNAL , Proceedings V. 58, No. 5,
size and gradation, and proportions of the mix, and Nov. 1961, pp. 591-610.
if the calculation considers the nonlinear material re- 2.12. Glucklich, Joseph, Static and Fatigue Fractures of
sponse of concrete. Portland Cement Mortars in Flexure, Proceedings, First
A number of investigators do not feel that the International Conference on Fracture, Sendai, Japan, V. 2,
Griffith theory of linear fracture mechanics is di- 1965, pp. 1343-1382.
rectly applicable to all concrete2.23, 2.24* 2.42 (ASTM E 2.13. Romualdi, James P., and Batson, Gordon B., Me-
399). Some like Swartz, et a1.2.24 feel that the theory chanics of Crack Arrest in Concrete, Proceedings, ASCE,
has application when the limitations and specific V. 89, EM3, June 1963, pp. 147-168.
nonhomogenous effects are taken into account. 2.14. Huang, T. S., Crack Propagation Studies in Micro-
Clearly, specimen size requirements must be given concrete, MSc Thesis, Department of Civil Engineering,
more attention. Of key interest in future work are University of Colorado, Boulder, 1966.
the observations by Walsh2.21 2.22 that show that if 2.15. Lott, James L., and Kesler, Clyde E., Crack Prop-
the specimens are large enough, the effects of agation in Plain Concrete, Symposium on Structure of
Portland Cement Paste and Concrete, Special Report No.
heterogeneity are greatly reduced and that concrete
90, Highway Research Board, Washington, D.C., 1966, pp.
may approximate a homogenous material to which 204-218.
the principles of fracture mechanics can be applied.
2.16. Naus, Dan J., and Lott, James L., Fracture
Toughness of Portland Cement Concretes, ACI JOURNAL ,
Proceedings V. 66, No. 6, June 1969, pp. 481-489.
2.17. Naus, Dan J., Applicability of Linear-Elastic Frac-
References ture Mechanics to Portland Cement Concretes, PhD
2.1. Hsu, Thomas T. C.; Slate, Floyd O.; Sturman, Ger- Thesis, University of Illinois, Urbana, Aug. 1971.
ald M.; and Winter, George, Microcracking of Plain Con- 2.18. Brown, J. H., Measuring the Fracture Toughness
crete and the Shape of the Stress-Strain Curve, ACI of Cement Paste and Mortar, Magazine of Concrete Re-
J OURNAL Proceedings V. 60, No. 2, Feb. 1963, pp. 209-224. search (London), V. 24, No. 81, Dec. 1972, pp.185-196.
CONTROL OF CRACKING 224R-9

2.19. Evans, A. G.; Clifton, J. R.; and Anderson, E., 2.36. Darwin, David, and Slate, F. O., Effect of Paste-
The Fracture Mechanics of Mortars, Cement and Con- Aggregate Bond Strength on Behavior Concrete, J o u r -
crete Research, V. 6, No. 4. July 1976, pp. 535-547. nal of Materials, V. 5, No. 1, Mar. 1970, pp. 86-98.
2.20. Mindess, Sidney, and Nadeau, John S., Effect of 2.37. Perry, C., and Gillott, J. E., The Influence of Mor-
Notch Width of KIc for Mortar and Concrete, Cement tar-Aggregate Bond Strength on the Behavior of Concrete
and Concrete Research, V. 6, No. 4, July 1976, pp. 529-534. in Uniaxial Compression, Cement and Concrete Research,
2.21. Walsh, P. F., Fracture of Plain Concrete, Indian V. 7, No. 5, Sept. 1977, pp. 553-564.
Concrete Journal (Bombay), V. 46, No. 11, Nov. 1972, pp. 2.38. Carino, Nicholas J., Effects of Polymer Impregna-
469-470, 476. tion on Mortar-Aggregate Bond Strength, Cement and
Concrete Research, V. 7, No. 4, July 1977, pp. 439-447.
2.22. Walsh, P. F., Crack Initiation in Plain Concrete,
2.39. Buyukozturk, Oral, Stress-Strain Response and
Magazine of Concrete Research (London), V. 28, No. 94,
Fracture of a Model of Concrete in Biaxial Loading, PhD
Mar. 1976, pp. 37-41.
Thesis, Cornell University, Ithaca, June 1970.
2.23. Gjorv, O. E.; Sorensen, S. I.; and Arnesen, A., 2.40. Tasuju, M. Ebrahim; Slate, Floyd 0.; and Nilson,
Notch Sensitivity and Fracture Toughness of Concrete, Arthur H., Stress-Strain Response and Fracture of Con-
Cement and Concrete Research, V. 7, No. 3, May 1977, pp. crete in Biaxial Loading, ACI JO U R N A L , Proceedings V .
333-344. 75, No. 7, July 1978, pp. 306-312.
2.24. Swartz, Stuart E.; Hu, Kuo-Kuang; and Jones, 2.41. Shah, Surendra P., and Chandra, Sushil, Critical
Gary L., Compliance Monitoring of Crack Growth in Con- Stress, Volume Change, and Microcracking of Concrete,
crete, Proceedings, ASCE, V. 104, EM4, Aug. 1978, pp. ACI JOURNAL, Proceedings V. 65, No. 9, Sept. 1968, pp.
789-800. 770-781.
2.25. Shah, Surendra P., and Winter, George, Inelastic 2.42. Shah, Surendra P., and McGarry, Fred J., Griffith
Behavior and Fracture of Concrete, ACI JOURNAL , P r o - Fracture Criterion and Concrete, Proceedings, ASCE, V.
ceedings V. 63, No. 9, Sept. 1966, pp. 925-930. 97, EM6, Dec. 1971, pp. 1663-1676.
2.26. Testa, Rene B., and Stubbs, Norris, Bond Failure 2.43. Hillemeier, B., and Hilsdorf, H. K., Fracture Me-
and Inelastic Response of Concrete, Proceedings, ASCE, chanics Studies of Concrete Compounds, Cement and Con-
V. 103, EM2, Apr. 1977, pp. 296-310. crete Research, V. 7, No. 5, Sept. 1977, pp. 523-535.
2.27. Darwin, David, Discussion of Bond Failure and In-
elastic Response of Concrete, by Rene B. Testa and Nor-
ris Stubbs, Proceedings, ASCE, V. 104, EM2, Apr. 1978,
pp. 507-509.
2.28. Spooner, D. C., The Stress-Strain Relationship for
Hardened Cement Pastes in Compression, Magazine of
Chapter 3 - Control of cracking due to drying
Concrete Research (London), V. 24, No. 79, June 1972, pp.
shrinkage*
85-92. 3.1 - Introduction
2.29. Spooner, D. C., and Dougill, J. W., A Quantitative Cracking of concrete due to drying shrinkage is a
Assessment of Damage Sustained in Concrete During subject which has received more attention by archi-
Compressive Loading, Magazine of Concrete Research tects, engineers, and contractors than any other
(London), V. 27, No. 92, Sept. 1975, pp. 151-160. characteristic or property of concrete. It is one of
2.30. Spooner, D. C.; Pomeroy, C. D.; and Dougill, J. W., the most serious problems encountered in concrete
Damage and Energy Dissipation in Cement Pastes in construction. Good design and construction practice
Compression, Magazine of Concrete Research (London), can minimize the amount of cracking and eliminate
V. 28, No. 94, Mar. 1976, pp. 21-29.
the visible large cracks by the use of adequate re-
2.31. Maher, Ataullah, and Darwin, David, A Finite
inforcement and contraction joints.
Element Model to Study the Microscopic Behavior of Plain
Although drying shrinkage is one of the principal
Concrete, CRINC Report-SL-76-02, The University of
Kansas Center for Research, Lawrence, Nov. 1976, 83 pp.
causes of cracking, temperature stresses, chemical
2.32. Maher, Ataullah, and Darwin, David, Microscopic
reactions, frost action, as well as excessive tensile
Finite Element Model of Concrete, Proceedings, First In- stresses due to loads on the structure, are fre-
ternational Conference on Mathematical Modeling (St. quently responsible for cracking of hardened con-
Louis, Aug.-Sept. 1977), University of Missouri-Rolla, 1977, crete. Cracking may also develop in the concrete
v. III, pp. 1705-1714. prior to hardening due to plastic shrinkage.
2.33. Karsan, I. Demir, and Jirsa, James 0.. Behavior Information presented in this chapter concerns
of Concrete under Compressive Loadings, Proceedings, only the subjects of cracking of hardened concrete
ASCE, V. 95, ST12, Dec. 1969, pp. 2543-2563. due to drying shrinkage; factors influencing shrink-
2.34. Neville, A. M., and Hirst, G. A., Mechanism of age; control of cracking; and the use of expansive ce-
Cyclic Creep of Concrete, Douglas McHenry Symposium ments to minimize cracking.
on Concrete and Concrete Structures, SP-55, American The subject of construction practices and specifica-
Concrete Institute, Detroit, 1978, pp. 83-101. tions to minimize drying shrinkage is covered in
2.35. Nepper-Christensen, Palle, and Nielsen, Tommy Chapter 8 (Sections 8.3 and 8.6) of this report.
P. H., Modal Determination of the Effect of Bond Between
Coarse Aggregate a n d M o r t a r o n t h e C o m p r e s s i v e
Strength of Concrete, ACI JO U R N A L , Proceedings V. 66,
No. 1, Jan. 1969, pp. 69-72. *Principal author: Miloss Polivka.
224R-10 ACI COMMITTEE REPORT

3.2 - Crack formation The magnitude of tensile stress developed during


Why does concrete crack due to shrinkage? If the drying of the concrete is influenced by a combination
shrinkage of concrete caused by drying could take of factors, such as (a) the amount of shrinkage, (b)
place without any restraint, the concrete would not the degree of restraint, (c) the modulus of elasticity
crack. However, in a structure the concrete is al- of the concrete, and (d) the creep or relaxation of the
ways subject to some degree of restraint by either concrete. Thus, the amount of shrinkage is only o n e
the foundation or another part of the structure or by factor governing the cracking. As far as cracking is
the reinforcing steel embedded in the concrete. This concerned, a low modulus of elasticity and high
combination of shrinkage and restraint develops ten- creep characteristics of the concrete are desirable
sile stresses. When this tensile stress reaches the since they reduce the magnitude of tensile stresses.
tensile strength, the concrete will crack. This is illus- Thus, to minimize cracking, the concrete should have
trated in Fig. 3.1. low drying shrinkage characteristics and a high de-
Another type of restraint is developed by the dif- gree of extensibility (low modulus and high creep) as
ference in shrinkage at the surface and in the inte- well as a high tensile strength. However, a large ex-
rior of a concrete member, especially at early ages. tensibility of a concrete member subjected to bend-
Since the drying shrinkage is always larger at the ing will cause larger deflections.
exposed surface, the interior portion of the member
restrains the shrinkage of the surface concrete, thus
developing tensile stresses. This may cause surface 3.3 - Drying shrinkage
cracking, which are cracks that do not penetrate When concrete dries, it contracts or shrinks, and
deep into the concrete. These surface cracks may when it is wetted again, it expands. These volume
with time penetrate deeper into the concrete mem- changes, with changes in moisture content, are an
ber as the interior portion of the concrete is subject inherent characteristic of hydraulic cement con-
to additional drying. cretes. It is the change in moisture content of the ce-
ment paste that causes the shrinkage or swelling of
concrete, while the aggregate provides an internal
restraint which significantly reduces the magnitude
of these volume changes.
When cement is mixed with water, several chem-
ical reactions take place. These reactions, commonly
ORIGINAL LENGTH called hydration, produce a hydration product con-
sisting essentially of some crystalline materials (prin-
cipally calcium hydroxide) and a large amount of
hardened calcium silicate gel called tobermorite
gel. This rigid gel consists of colloidal size particles
and has an extremely high surface area. In a hard-
I I ened cement paste, some of the water is in the capil-
lary pores of the paste, but a significant amount is in
UNRESTRAINED the tobermorite gel. Shrinkage is due to the loss of
SHRINKAGE t-
adsorbed water from the gel. On drying the first wa-
ter lost is that which occupies the relatively large
size capillaries in the cement paste. This loss of wa-
ter causes very little, if any, shrinkage. It is the loss
of the adsorbed and inter-layer water from the hy-
drated gel that causes the shrinkage of the paste.
When a concrete is exposed to drying conditions,
RESTRAINED SHRINKAGE moisture slowly diffuses from the interior mass of
DEVELOPS TENSILE STRESS the concrete to the surface where it is lost by evapo-
ration. On wetting this process is reversed, causing
an expansion of the concrete.
In addition to drying shrinkage, the cement paste
is also subject to carbonation shrinkage. The action
of carbon dioxide, CO2, present in the atmosphere on
the hydration products of the cement, principally cal-
IF TENSILE STRESS IS cium hydroxide, Ca(OH)2, results in the formation of
GREATER THAN TENSILE calcium carbonate, CaCO,, which is accompanied by
STRENGTH, CONCRETE CRACKS a decrease in volume. Since carbon dioxide does not
penetrate deep into the mass of concrete, shrinkage
Fig. 3.1 - Cracking of concrete due to drying due to carbonation is of minor importance in the
shrinkage. overall shrinkage of a concrete structure. However,
CONTROL OF CRACKING 224R-11

carbonation does play an important role in the TABLE 3.1 - Effect of type of aggregate on
shrinkage of small laboratory test specimens, partic- shrinkage of concrete3.6
ularly when subjected to long-term exposure to
l-year
drying. Thus, the amount of shrinkage observed on a Specific Absorption, shrinkage,
small laboratory specimen will be greater than the Aggregate gravity percent percent
t
shrinkage of the concrete in the structure. The sub- Sandstone 2.47 5.0 0.116
ject of shrinkage due to carbonation is discussed in Slate 2.75 1.3 0.068
detail by Verbeck.3.1 Granite 2.67 0 .8 0.047
Limestone 2.74 0.2 0.041
Quartz 2.66 0.3 0.032
3.4 - Factors influencing drying shrinkage
The major factors influencing shrinkage include
the composition of cement, type of aggregate, water
content, and mix proportions. The rate of moisture
loss or the shrinkage of a given concrete is greatly 3.4.2 Influence of type of aggregate - Coarse and
influenced by the size and shape of the concrete fine aggregates, which occupy between 65 and 75
member, the environment, and the time of drying percent of the total concrete volume, have a major
exposure. These and other factors influencing magni- influence on shrinkage. Concrete may be considered
tude and rate of shrinkage are herein discussed. to consist of a framework of cement paste whose
large potential shrinkage is being restrained by the
3.4.1 Effect of cement - Results of an extensive aggregate. The drying shrinkage of a concrete will
study made by Blaine, Arni, and Evans,3.2 of the Na- be only a fraction (about l/4 to l/6) of that of the ce-
tional Bureau of Standards on a large number of ment paste. The factors which influence the ability
portland cements indicate that it is not possible to of the aggregate particles to restrain shrinkage in-
say that a cement, because it conforms to the re- clude (a) the compressibility of aggregate and the ex-
quirements of one of the standard types of cements, tensibility of paste, (b) the bond between paste and
will have greater or less shrinkage than a cement aggregate, (c) the degree of cracking of cement
meeting requirements for some other type of ce- paste, and (d) the contraction of the aggregate par-
ment. Their results on neat cement pastes showed a ticles due to drying. Of these several factors, com-
wide distribution of shrinkage values especially for pressibility of the aggregate has the greatest in-
the Type I cements. The 6 month drying shrinkage fluence on the magnitude of drying shrinkage of
strain of the neat pastes ranged from about 0.0015 concrete.
to more than 0.0060 with an average for the 182 ce- The higher the stiffness or modulus of elasticity of
ments tested of about 0.0030. They found that lower an aggregate, the more effective it is in reducing the
shrinkage of pastes was associated with: 1. lower shrinkage of concrete. The absorption of an aggre-
C3A/SO3 ratios, 2. lower Na2O and K2O contents, gate, which is a measure of porosity, influences its
and 3. higher C4AF contents of the cement. Tests by modulus or compressibility. A low modulus is usually
Brunauer. Skalny, and Yudenfreund3.3 show that for associated with high absorption.
short curing periods Type II cement pastes exhib- The large influence of type of aggregate on drying
ited considerably less shrinkage than Type I pastes. shrinkage of concrete was shown by Carlson.3.6 As an
However, the shrinkage of pastes cured for 28 days example some of his shrinkage data for concretes
was about the same for the two types of cements. with identical cements and identical water-cement
ratios are given in Table 3.1.
Tests made by the California Division of High-
Quartz, limestone, dolomite, granite, feldspar, and
ways 3.4 on mortar or paste as a measure of behavior
some basalts can be generally classified as low-
in concrete indicate that Type II cements generally
shrinkage producing types of aggregates. High-
produce lower shrinkage than Type I cements, and
shrinkage concretes often contain sandstone, slate,
much lower than Type III cements. Tests by Lerch1.5
hornblende and some types of basalts. Since the ri-
show that the proportion of gypsum in the cement
gidity of certain aggregates, such as granite, lime-
has a major effect on shrinkage. Cement producers
stone or dolomite, can vary over a wide range, their
moderate the differences in shrinkage due to cement
effectiveness in restraining drying shrinkage will
composition by optimizing its gypsum content.
vary accordingly.
The fineness of a cement can have some influence Although the compressibility is the most impor-
on drying shrinkage. Tests by Carlson3.6 showed that tant single property of aggregate governing concrete
finer cements generally result in greater concrete shrinkage, the aggregate itself may contract an ap-
shrinkage, but the increase in shrinkage with in- preciable amount upon drying. This is true for sand-
creasing fineness is not large. His results show that stone and other aggregates of high absorption capac-
the composition of the cement is a factor and thus ity. Thus, in general, aggregate of high modulus of
for some cements an increase in fineness may show elasticity and low absorption will produce a low-
little change and in some cases even a lower con- shrinkage concrete. However, some structural grade
crete shrinkage. lightweight aggregates, such as expanded shales,
224R-12 ACI COMMITTEE REPORT

crete can be minimized by keeping the water con-


+ 119 142 166 190 kg/m3
5 0.060 tent of the paste as low as possible and the total ag-
u gregate content of the concrete as high as possible.
% 0.050 This will result in a lower water content per unit
volume of concrete and thus lower shrinkage.
The total volume of coarse aggregate is a signifi-
cant factor in drying shrinkage. Concrete propor-
tioned for pump placement with excessively high
I sand contents will exhibit significantly greater
," 0.020 shrinkage than will similar mixes with normal sand
z contents.
zis 0.010
200 240 280 320 Ib/yd3
Tests reported by Tremper and Spellman3.4 show
that the cement factor has little effect on shrinkage
WATER CONTENT OF CONCRETE of concrete. Their data show that as the cement fac-
Fig. 3.2 - Typical effect of water content of con- tor was increased from 470 to 752 lb/yd 3 (279 to 446
crete on drying shrinkage (Reference 3.8). kg/m3) the water content remained nearly constant,
while percentage of fine aggregate was reduced.
clays, and slates which have high absorptions, pro- The amount of mixing water required for concrete
duced concretes exhibiting low shrinkage character- of a given slump is greatly dependent on the max-
istics.3.7 imum size of aggregate. The surface area of aggre-
Maximum size of aggregate has a significant effect gate, which must be coated by cement paste, de-
on drying shrinkage. Not only does a large aggre- creases with increase in size of aggregate. The large
gate size permit a lower water content of the con- effect that the maximum size of aggregate has on
crete, but it is more effective in resisting the shrink- the water requirement of concrete is shown in Fig.
age of the cement paste. Aggregate gradation also 3.3. The data plotted in this figure, taken from ACI
has some effect on shrinkage. The use of a poorly 211.1 shows, for example, that for a 3 to 4 in. (75 to
graded fine or coarse aggregate may result in an 100 mm) slump concrete, increasing the aggregate
oversanded mix, in order to obtain desired work- size from 3/4 in. (19 mm) to 11/2 in. (38 mm) decreases
ability, and thus prevent the use of the maximum the water requirement from 340 to 300 lb/yd3 (202 to
amount of coarse aggregate resulting in increased 178 kg/m3). This 40 lb (24 kg) reduction in water
shrinkage. content would reduce the 1 year drying shrinkage by
3.4.3 Effect of water content and mix proportions - about 15 percent.
The water content of a concrete mix is another very Also shown in Fig. 3.3 is the effect of slump on
important factor influencing drying shrinkage. The water requirement. For example, the water require-
large increase in shrinkage with increase in water ment of a concrete made with 3/4 in. (19 mm) size ag-
content was demonstrated in tests made by the U.S. gregate is 340 lb/yd3 (202 kg/m3) for a 3 to 4 in.
Bureau of Reclamation.3.8 A typical relationship be- slump, but only 310 lb/yd3 (184 kg/m31 for a 1 to 2
tween water content anddrying shrinkage is shown in. slump (25 to 50 mm). This substantial reduction
in Fig. 3.2. An increase in water content also re- in water content would result in a lower drying
duces the volume of restraining aggregate and thus shrinkage.
results in higher shrinkage. The shrinkage of a con- Another important factor which influences the wa-
ter requirement of a concrete, and thus its shrink-
age, is the temperature of the fresh concrete. This
37.5 75 effect of temperature on water requirement as given
400 2.5
(237)
19.0 150 m m
by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation 3. is shown in
Fig. 3.4. For example, if the temperature of fresh
350 concrete were reduced from 100 to 50 F (38 to 10 C),
(208) it would permit a reduction of the water content by
300 33 Ib/yd 3 (20 kg/m 3) and still maintain the same
(178) slump. This substantial reduction in water content
would significantly reduce the drying shrinkage.
250
(148) From the above discussion it must be concluded
200 that, to minimize the drying shrinkage of concrete,
3/8
(119) 3/4 1 1/2 3 6 in. the water content of a mix should be kept to a min-
MAXIMUM SIZE OF AGGREGATE
imum. Any practice that increases the water re-
quirement, such as the use of high slumps, high tem-
peratures of the fresh concrete or the use of smaller
Fig. 3.3 - Effect of aggregate size on water require- size coarse aggregate, will substantially increase
ment of non-air-entrained concrete (ACI 211.1). shrinkage and thus cracking of the concrete.
CONTROL OF CRACilNG 224R-13

4.4 10.0 15.6 21.1 26.7 32.2 378 OC


310
084)

300
(I 78)
290
(I 72)
280
(166)
w
0 270
0 (160) iii
a
260 a
(154140 50 60 70 80 90 100 OF -0 4 8 I2 16 20 24 28 in.
TEMPERATURE OF FRESH CONCRETE w DEPTH BELOW CONCRETE SURFACE

Fig. 3.4 - Effect of temperature of fresh concrete Fig. 3.5 - Rates of drying of concrete exposed to 50
on its water requirement (Reference 3.8). percent relative humidity (Reference 3.9).

3.4.4 Effect of chemical admixtures - Chemical ad- mand as well as the drying shrinkage of the con-
mixtures are used to impart certain desirable prop- crete. Also, it was observed that the use of some of
erties to the concrete. Those most commonly used these pozzolans increased drying shrinkage although
include air-entraining admixtures, water-reducing they had little effect on the water content of the
admixtures, set-retarding admixtures, and accelera- concrete. Some fly ashes have little effect on drying
tors. shrinkage, while others may increase the shrinkage
It would be expected that when using an air-en- of the concrete. All of these observations are based
training admixture, the increase in the amount of air on results of tests made on laboratory size speci-
voids would increase drying shrinkage. However, be- mens. However, as noted in Section 3.4.7 and Fig.
cause entrainment of air permits a reduction in wa- 3.6, the larger the concrete member, the lower the
ter content with no reduction in slump, the shrink- shrinkage. This may explain the negligible difference
age is not appreciably affected by air contents up to in shrinkage cracking of field structures, with and
about 5 percent.3.8 Some air-entraining agents are without pozzolan, despite clearly greater shrinkage
strong retarders and contain accelerators which may of the concretes with pozzolans in laboratory tests
increase drying shrinkage by 5 to 10 percent. on small size specimens.
Although the use of water-reducing and set-re- 3.4.6 Effect of duration of moist curing - Car1son3.6
tarding admixtures will permit a reduction in the reported that the duration of moist curing of con-
water content of a concrete mix, it will usually not crete does not have much effect on drying shrink-
result in a decrease in drying shrinkage. Actually age. This is substantiated by the test results of the
some of these admixtures may even increase the California Department of Transportation3. which
shrinkage at early ages of drying, although the later show substantially the same shrinkage in concrete
age shrinkage of these concretes will be about the that was moist cured for 7, 14, and 28 days before
same as that of corresponding mixes with no admix- drying was started. As far as the cracking tendency
tures. of the concrete is concerned, prolonged moist curing
The use of calcium chloride, a common accelerator, may not necessarily be beneficial. Although the
will result in a substantial increase in drying shrink- strength increases with age, the modulus of elastic-
age, especially at the early ages of drying. Tests ity also increases by almost as large a percentage,
made by the California Department of Transporta- and the net result is only a slight increase in the
tion 3.44showed that the 7 day shrinkage of a concrete tensile strain which the concrete can withstand.
containing 1.0 percent of calcium chloride was about Steam curing at atmospheric pressure, which is
double that obtained for the control mix without ad- commonly used in the manufacture of precast struc-
mixture. However, after 28 days of drying, the tural elements, will reduce drying shrinkage (AC1
shrinkage of the concrete containing calcium chloride 517). Also, because stream curing will produce a
was only about 40 percent greater than that of the high early-age strength of the concrete, it will re-
control mix. duce its tendency to crack, since the precast mem-
3.4.5 Effect of pozzolans - Fly ash and a number of bers are unrestrained.
natural materials such as opaline cherts and shales, 3.4.7 Influence of size of member - The size of a
diatomaceous earth, tuffs and pumicites are pozzo- concrete member will influence the rate at which
lans used in portland cement concrete. The use of moisture moves from the concrete and thus in-
some natural pozzolans can increase the water de- fluence the rate of shrinkage. Carlson3* has shown
224R-14 ACI COMMITTEE REPORT

that for a concrete exposed to a relative humidity of crete from contracting freely, the possibility of
50 percent, drying will penetrate only about 3 in. cracking must be expected unless the ambient rela-
(75 mm) in 1 month and about 2 ft (0.6 m) in 10 tive humidity is kept at 100 percent or the concrete
years. Fig. 3.5 shows his theoretical curves for the surfaces are sealed to prevent loss of moisture. The
drying of slabs. Hansen and Mattock3.10 made an control of cracking consists of reducing the cracking
extensive investigation of the influence of size and tendency to a minimum, using adequate and prop-
shape of member on the shrinkage and creep of con- erly positioned reinforcement, and using control
crete. They found that both the rate and the final joints. The CEB-FIP Code give quantitative recom-
values of shrinkage and creep decrease as the mem- mendations on the control of cracking due to shrink-
ber becomes larger. age, listing various coefficients to determine the
This significant effect of size of member on drying shrinkage levels that can be expected. Control of
shrinkage of concrete must be considered when eval- cracking by correct construction practices is covered
uating the potential shrinkage of concrete in struc- in Chapter 8 of this report, which includes specifica-
tures based on the shrinkage of concrete specimens tions to minimize drying shrinkage (Section 8.6).
in the laboratory. The rate and magnitude of shrink- Cracking can also be minimized by the use of ex-
age of a small laboratory specimen will be much pansive cements to produce shrinkage-compensating
greater than that of the concrete in the structures. concretes. Shrinkage-compensating concretes are dis-
Test results of several studies carried out to com- cussed in Section 3.6.
pare the shrinkage of concrete in walls and slabs in 3.5.1 Reduction of cracking tendency - As men-
the field with the shrinkage of small laboratory tioned previously, the cracking tendency is due not
specimens have shown, as expected, that the shrink- only to the amount of shrinkage, but also to the de-
age of the concrete in a field structure is only a frac- gree of restraint, the modulus of elasticity, and the
tion of that obtained on the laboratory specimens. creep or relaxation of the concrete. Some factors
Even in laboratory tests the size of the specimen which reduce the shrinkage at the same time de-
used has a significant influence on shrinkage. As an crease the creep or relaxation and increase the mod-
example of the effect of specimen size on shrinkage ulus of elasticity, thus offering little or no help to
is the data presented in Fig. 3.6, giving the results the cracking tendency. Emphasis should be placed,
of shrinkage tests obtained on four different size therefore, on modifying those factors which produce
concrete prisms. It will be noted that the shrinkage a net reduction in the cracking tendency.
of the prisms having a cross section of 3 x 3 in. (7.5 Any measure that can be taken to reduce the
x 7.5 cm) was more than 50 percent greater than
shrinkage of the concrete will also reduce the crack-
that of the concrete prism having a cross section of 5
ing tendency. Drying shrinkage can be reduced by
x 6 in. (12.5 x 15 cm). using less water in the mix and larger aggregate
size. A lower water content can be achieved by us-
3.5 - Control of shrinkage cracking ing a well-graded aggregate, stiffer consistency, and
Concrete tends to shrink due to drying whenever lower initial temperature of the concrete. As dis-
its surfaces are exposed to air of low relative humid- cussed in Section 3.4.4, however, the reduction of
ity. Since various kinds of restraint prevent the con-
water content by the use of water-reducing admix-
tures will not usually reduce shrinkage.
7.5x7.5 10 x 10 10x12 5 12.5x 15 cm Another way to reduce the cracking tendency is to
use a larger aggregate size. A larger aggregate
size allows an increase in aggregate volume and a
reduction in the total water required to obtain a
given slump. The larger aggregate also tends to re-
strain the concrete more, and although this may re-
sult in internal microcracking, such internal cracking
is not necessarily harmful.
A third way to reduce the cracking tendency is to
apply a surface coating to the concrete, which will
prevent the rapid loss of moisture from within. This
means of controlling cracking has not been used to
its full potential and should be given better consider-
ation. However, many surface coatings such as all-
I I
I

I purpose paints are ineffective, because they permit


3x3 4x4 4x5 5x6 in
the moisture to escape almost as fast as it reaches
AVERAGE END AREA DIMENSION OF CONCRETE PRISM
( LOG SCALE ) the surface. Chlorinated rubber and waxy or resin-
ous materials are effective coatings, but there are
Fig. 3.6 - Effect of specimen size on drying shrink- probably many other materials which will slow the
age of concrete (Principal authors data). evaporation enough to be beneficial. Any slowing of
CONTROL OF CRACKING 224R-15

the rate of shrinkage will be beneficial, because con-


crete has a remarkable quality of relaxing under sus- STEEL\ _----
tained stress. Thus, concrete may be able to with- _B---
stand two or three times as much slowly applied
shrinkage as it can rapid shrinkage. ORIGINAL LENGTH
3.5.2 R e i n f o r c e m e n t - Properly placed re-
inforcement, used in adequate amounts, will not only
reduce the amount of cracking but prevent unsightly
cracking. By distributing the shrinkage strains along T A b T
___++IC~*___
the reinforcement through bond stresses, the cracks t
are distributed in such a way that a larger number
of very fine cracks will occur instead of a few wide EXPANSION PUTS STEEL IN
cracks. Although the use of such reinforcement to TENSION AND CONCRETE IN
control cracking in a relatively thin concrete section COMPRESSION M
is practical, it is not needed in massive structures
such as dams due to the low drying shrinkage of
these mass concrete structures. The minimum
amount and spacing of reinforcement to be used in
floors, roof slabs, and walls is given in AC1 318.
3.6.3 Joints - The use of joints is the most effective STRESS LOSS DUE TO
method of preventing formation of unsightly crack- SHRINKAGE AND CREEP
ing. If a sizable length or expanse of concrete, such
as walls, slabs or pavements, is not provided with RESIDUAL EXPANSION OR, -+j
adequate joints to accommodate shrinkage, it will SMALL CONTRACTION
make its own joints by cracking. .
Contraction joints in walls are made, for example, Qr 3. 7 - Basic concept of shrinkage-compensating
l

concretes.
by fastening to the forms wood or rubber strips
which leave narrow vertical grooves in the concrete
on the inside and outside of the wall. Cracking of the
wall due to shrinkage should occur at the grooves,
r/ .
p-
CURING

DRYING

relieving the stress in the wall and thus preventing


formation of unsightly cracks. These grooves should SHRINKAGE- COMPENSATING
CONCRETE, p = 0.16Ym
be sealed on the outside of the wall to prevent pene-
tration of moisture. Sawed joints are commonly used
in pavements, slabs and floors.
Joint location depends on the particulars of place-
ment. Each job must be studied individually to de- PORTLAND CEMENT
termine where joints should be placed.* CONCRETE
;
, I I I I
3.6 - Shrinkage-compensating concretes 0 50 100 150 2oc
Shrinkage-compensating concretes made with ex- AGE OF CONCRETE, DAYS
pansive cements can be used to minimize or elimi-
nate shrinkage cracking. The properties and use of Fig. 3.8 - Length change characteristics of shrink-
expansive cement concretes is published in numer- age-compensating and portland cement concretes
ous papers and reports.3-11* 3*12 Of the several types (Relative humidity = 50 percent).
of expansive cements produced, the Type K concrete minimizes the magnitude of any tensile
shrinkage-compensating expansive cement is most stress that may ultimately develop due to shrinkage,
commonly used in the United States. and thus reduce or eliminate the tendency to crack-
In a reinforced concrete, the expansion of the ce- ing. This basic concept of the use of expansive ce-
ment paste during the first few days of curing will ment to produce a shrinkage-compensating concrete
develop a low level of prestress inducing com- is illustrated in Fig. 3.7.
pressive stresses in the concrete and tensile stresses A typical length change history of a shrinkage-
in the steel. The level of compressive stresses devel- compensating concrete is compared to that of a port-
oped in the shrinkage-compensating concretes land cement concrete in Fig. 3.8. The amount of re-
ranges from 25 to 100 psi (0.2 to 0.7 MPal. When inforcing steel normally used in reinforced concrete
subjected to drying shrinkage, the contraction of the
concrete will result in a reduction or elimination of *Guidance on joint sealants and control joint location in slabs is avail-
its precompression. The initial precompression of the able in ACI 504 and in ACI 302, respectively.
224R-16 ACI COMMITTEE REPORT

made with portland cements is usually more than ad- Chapter 4 - Control of cracking in flexural
equate to provide the elastic restraint needed for members*
shrinkage-compensating concrete. To take full advan- 4.1 - Introduction
tage of the expansive potential of shrinkage-com- With the regular use of high strength reinforcing
pensating concrete in minimizing or preventing steel and the strength design approach for re-
shrinkage cracking of unformed concrete surfaces, it inforced concrete, and higher allowable stresses in
is important that positive and uninterrupted water prestressed concrete design, the control of cracking
curing (wet covering or ponding) be started immedi- may be as important as the control of deflection in
ately after final finishing. For slabs on well satu- flexural members. Internal cracking in concrete can
rated subgrades, curing by sprayed-on membranes start at stress levels as low as 3000 psi (20.7 MPa) in
or moisture-proof covers have been successfully uti- the reinforcement. Crack control is important to pro-
lized. Inadequate curing of shrinkage-compensating mote the aesthetic appearance of structures, and for
concrete may result in an insufficient expansion to many structures, crack control plays an important
elongate the steel and thus subsequent cracking dur- role in the control of corrosion by limiting the possi-
ing drying shrinkage. Specific recommendations and bilities for entry of moisture and salts which, to-
information on the use of shrinkage-compensating gether with oxygen, can set the stage for corrosion.
concrete are contained in ACI 223. This chapter is concerned primarily with cracks
caused by flexural and tensile stresses, but temper-
ature, shrinkage, shear and torsion may also lead to
References
3.1. Verbeck, George J., Carbonation of Hydrated Port- cracking.4.1 Cracking in certain specialized struc-
land Cement, Cement and Concrete, STP-205, American tures, such as reinforced concrete tanks, bins and
Society for Testing and Materials, Philadelphia, 1958, pp. silos, is not covered in this report. For information
17-36. on cracking concrete in these structures, see Refer-
3.2. Blaine, R. L.; Arni, H. T.; and Evans, D. N., Inter- ence 4.2 and ACI 313.
relations Between Cement and Concrete Properties: Part 4 Extensive research studies on the cracking be-
- Shrinkage of Hardened Portland Cement Pastes and havior of beams have been conducted over the last
Concrete, Building Science Series No. 15, National Bu- 5 0 y e a r s . M o s t o f t h e m a r e r e p o r t e d i n ACI
reau of Standards, Washington, D.C., Mar. 1969, 77 pp. Bibliography No. 9 on crack control.4.3 Others are
3.3. Brunauer, S.; Skalny, J.: and Yudenfreund, H., referenced in this chapter. Reference 4.1 contains an
Hardened Cement Pastes of Low Porosity: Dimensional
extensive review of cracking in reinforced concrete
Changes, Research Report No. 69-8, Engineering Re-
structures. Several of the most important crack pre-
search and Development Bureau, New York State Depart-
ment of Transportation, Albany, Nov. 1969, 12 pp.
diction equations are reviewed in the previous com-
3.4. Tremper, Bailey, and Spellman, Donald L., Shrink- mittee report. 1.1 Additional work presented in the
age of Concrete - Comparison of Laboratory and Field CEB-FIP Model Code for Concrete Structure gives
Performance, Highway Research Record. Highway Re- the European approach to crack width evaluation
search Board, No. 3, 1963, pp. 30-61. and permissible crack widths.
3.5. Lerch, William, The Influence of Gypsum on the Recently, fiber glass rods have been used as a
Hydration and Properties of Portland Cement Pastes, reinforcing material.4.4To date, experience is lim-
Proceedings, ASTM, V. 46, 1946, pp. 1252-1297. ited, and crack control in structures reinforced with
3.6. Carlson, Roy W., Drying Shrinkage of Concrete as fiber glass rods is not addressed in this report. It is
Affected by Many Factors, Proceedings, ASTM, V. 38, expected, however, that future committee docu-
Part II, 1938, pp. 419-437. ments will address crack control in structures using
3.7. Reichard, T. W., Creep and Drying Shrinkage of
this and other new systems as they come into use.
Lightweight and Normal Weight Concrete, M o n o g r a p h
74, National Bureau of Standards, Washington, D.C., 1964,
30 pp. 4.2 - Crack control equations for reinforced con-
3.8. Concrete Manual, 8th Edition, U.S. Bureau of Re- crete beams
clamation, Denver, 1975, 627 pp. A number of equations have been proposed for the
3.9. Carlson, Roy W., Drying Shrinkage of Large Con- prediction of crack widths in flexural members; most
crete Members, ACI JOURNAL , Proceedings V. 33, No. 3, of them are reviewed in the previous committee re-
Jan.-Feb. 1937, pp. 327-336.
3.10. Hansen, Torben C., and Mattock, Alan H., In-
port 1.1Pand in key publications listed in the refer-
fluence of Size and Shape of Member on the Shrinkage and ences. Most equations predict the probable max-
Creep of Concrete, ACI JOURNAL, Proceedings V. 63, No. imum crack width, which usually means that about
2, Feb. 1966, pp. 267-290. 90 percent of the crack widths in the member are
3 . 1 1 . ACI C o m m i t t e e 2 2 3 , E x p a n s i v e C e m e n t below the calculated value. However, research has
Concretes-Present State of Knowledge, ACI J O U R N A L , shown that isolated cracks in beams in excess of
Proceedings V. 67, No. 8, Aug. 1970, pp. 583-610. twice the width of the computed maximum can
3.12. Klein Symposium on Expansive Cement Concretes,
SP-38, American Concrete Institute, Detroit, 1973,
491 pp. *Principal authors: Edward G. Nawy and Peter Gergely.
CONTROL OF CRACKING 224R-17

sometimes occur,*-4 though generally the coefficient where


of variation of crack width is about 40 percent.4-1 w = most probable maximum crack width, in.
Evidence also exists indicating that this range in d c = thickness of cover from tension fiber to
crack width randomness may increase with the size center of bar closest thereto, in.
of the member. 1.1 Besides limiting the computed
maximum crack width to a given value, the designer When the strain, Ed, in the steel reinforcement is
should estimate the percentage of cracks above this used instead of stress, f,, Eq. (4.2) becomes
value which can be tolerated. w = 2.2 p L, V-JX (4.3)
Crack control equations recommended by ACI
Committee 224 and the Comite Euro-International E, = strain in the reinforcement
du Beton (CEB) are presented below. Eq. (4.3) is valid in any system of measurement.
4.2.1 ACI Committee 224 recommendations - Re- The cracking behavior in thick one-way slabs is
quirements for crack control in beams and thick one- similar to that in shallow beams. For one-way slabs
way slabs in the ACI Building Code (ACI 318) are having a clear concrete cover in excess of 1 in. (25.4
based on the statistical analysis4-6 of maximum mm), Eq. (4.2) can be adequately applied if p = 1.25
crack width data from a number of sources. Based on to 1.35 is used.
the analysis, the following general conclusions were AC1 318 Section 10.6 uses Eq. (4.2) with p = 1.2 in
reached: the following form
1. The steel stress is the most important variable.
2. The thickness of the concrete cover is an impor- 2 = f,cQi- (4.2a)
tant variable, but not the only geometric considera- Using the specified cover in AC1 318, maximium
tion. allowable z = 175 kips per in. for interior exposure
3. The area of concrete surrounding each re- corresponds to a limiting crack width of 0.016 in.
inforcing bar is also an important geometric vari- (0.41 mm).
able. The Code allows a value of z = 145 kips per in.
4. The bar diameter is not a major variable. for exterior exposure based on a crack width value
5. The size of the bottom crack width is influenced of 0.013 in., (0.33 mm), which may be excessive based
by the amount of strain gradient from the level of on Table 4.1. While application of Eq.
the steel to the tension face of the beam. (10.4) of AC1 318-771 to beams gives adequate crack
The equations that were considered to best pre- control values, its application to one-way slabs with
diet the most probable maximum bottom and side standard 3/4 in. (19 mm) cover and reinforced with
crack widths are: steel of 60 ksi (414 MPa) or lower yield strength
results in large reinforcement spacings. However,
W* = 0 . 0 9 1 v-a p (f, - 5) x 10-3 (4.la)
the provisions of Code Section 7.6.5 indirectly limit
the spacing of such reinforcement in one-way slabs.
0.091 rt,, A
w, = . (f, - 5) x 1 0 - 3 l (4.lb) AC1 340.1R contains design aids for the applica-
-1-G. t,l& tion of Eq. (4.2a).

where 4.2.2 CEB recommendations -Crack control recom-


W* = most probable maximum crack width at bot- mendations proposed in the European Model Code
tom of beam, in. for Concrete Structures apply to prestressed as well
w, = most probable maximum crack width at level as reinforced concrete and can be summarized as
of reinforcement, in. follows:
fJ = reinforcing steel stress, ksi The mean crack width, wm in beams is expressed
A = area of concrete symmetric with reinforcing in terms of the mean crack spacing, srm such that
steel divided by number of bars, in.2
Kn = L&n (4.4)
tb = bottom cover to center of bar, in.
t, = side cover to center of bar, in. where
P = ratio of distance between neutral axis and
tension face to distance between neutral axis
and centroid of reinforcing steel = 1.20 in (4.5)
beams
h1 = distance from neutral axis to the reinforcing
steel, in. and represents the average strain in the steel.
fs steel stress at the crack
f II = steel stress at the crack due to forces causing
Simplification of Eq. (4.la) yielded the following
equation cracking at the tensile strength of concrete
K = bond coefficient, 1.0 for ribbed bars, reflecting
w = 0.076~fs ~AX D3 (4.2) influence of load repetitions and load duration
224~018 ACI COMMITTEE REPORT

The mean crack spacing is action square slabs and plates. For concen-
trated loads or reactions, or when the ratio
of short to long span is less than 0.75 but
S rm
(4.6) larger than 0.5, a value of k = 2.1 x 1O-5 is
applicable. For span aspect ratios 0.5, k =
1.6 x 1O-s
where P = (as defined in Section 4.2.1) 1.25 (chosen to
c = clear concrete cover simplify calculations though varies between
S bar spacing, limited to 15d, 1.20 and 1.35)
x2 = 0.4 for ribbed bars fs = actual average service load stress level, or
x3 = depends on the shape of the stress diagram, 40 percent of the design yield strength fy,
0.125 for bending ksi
QR = A, /A, d b1 = diameter of the reinforcement in direction
A t = effective area in tension, depending on ar- 1 closest to the concrete outer fibers, in.
rangement of bars and type of external s1 = spacing of the reinforcement in direction l,
forces; it is limited by a line c + 7d, from the in.
tension face for beams; in the case of slabs, s2 = spacing of the reinforcement in per-
not more than halfway to the neutral axis pendicular direction 2, in.
46
1" = direction of reinforcement closest to the
A simplified formula canbe derived for the mean outer concrete fibers; this is the direction for
crack width in beams with ribbed bars, which crack control check is to be made
Qrl = active steel ratio
f
w, = 0.7 _- 3c + 0.05 -!
d
(4.7) = _
Area of steel A, per ft width
E S QR 12 (dbt + 2CJ
where Cl is clear concrete cover measured
A characteristic value of the crack width, from the tensile face of concrete to the near-
presumably equivalent to the probable maximum est edge of the reinforcing bar in direction
value, is given as 1.7~~. b& 1VW
w = crack width at face of concrete, in., caused
4.3 - Crack control in two-way slabs and plates by flexural load
Crack control equations for beams underestimate Subscripts 1 and 2 pertain to the directions of re-
the crack widths developed in two-way slabs and inforcement.
plates4.7 and do not tell the designer how to space For simply supported slabs, the value of k should
the reinforcement. The cracking mechanism in two- be multiplied by 1.5. Interpolated k values apply for
way slabs and plates is controlled primarily by the partial restraint at the boundaries. For zones of flat
steel stress level and the spacing of the re- plates where transverse steel is not used or when its
inforcement in the two perpendicular directions. In spacing s2 exceeds 12 in., use s2 = 12 in. in the
addition, the clear concrete cover in two-way slabs equation.
and plates is nearly constant [3/4 in. (19 mm) for inte- If strain is used instead of stress, Eq. (4.8)
rior exposure], whereas it is a major variable in the becomes
crack control equations for beams.
Analysis of data in the only major work on crack-
ing in two-way slabs and plates4s7 has provided the (4.9)
following equation for predicting the maximum
crack width:
where values of the kl = 29 x 100~ times the k
&,sI: values previously listed.
w= w s
n
(4.8) References 4.8 and 340.1R contain design aids for
the application of these recommendations.
where the radical rl = db,s21et, is termed the grid
index, and can be transformed into 4.4 - Tolerable crack widths versus exposure condi-
tions in reinforced concrete

]
Table 4.1 is a general guide for tolerable crack
widths at the tensile face of reinforced concrete
structures for typical conditions and is presented as
an aid to be used during the design process. The
k = fracture coefficient, having a value k = 2.8 x table is based primarily on Reference 4.9. It is im-
lO-5 for uniformly loaded restrained two-way portant to note that these values of crack width are
CONTROL OF CRACKING 224R-19

TABLE 4.1 - Tolerable crack widths, prestressed member to account for the differences in
reinforced concrete bond properties.
The difficulty with this approach is the complexity
Tolerable
Exposure condition crack width, in. (mm) of calculations. The determination of the decompres-
sion moment and, especially, the stress in the steel
Dry air or protective membrane 0.016 (0.41)
0.012 (0.30)
is complicated and unreliable unless elaborate meth-
Humidity, moist air, soil
Deicing chemicals 0.007 (0.18) ods are used.4.10 For this reason, approximate meth-
Seawater and seawater spray: ods for crack width prediction are attractive. These
wetting and drying 0.006 (0.15) are not much less accurate than the more com-
Water retaining structures* 0.004 (0.10) plicated methods, and the lack of sufficient data, cov-
ering large variations in the variables, precludes
*Excluding nonpressure pipes
further refinements at this date.
The CEB Model Code has the same equation for
the prediction of the crack width in prestressed
members as in nonprestressed members (see Section
not always a reliable indication of the corrosion and
4.2.2). The increase in steel strain is calculated from
deterioration to be expected. In particular, a larger
the decompression stage. Several other equations
cover, even if it leads to a larger surface crack
have been proposed.4.11-4.0
width, may sometimes b e preferable for corrosion
Limited evidence seems to indicate that unbonded
control in certain environments. Thus, the designer
members develop larger cracks than bonded mem-
must exercise engineering judgment on the extent of
bers. Nonprestressed deformed bars may be used to
crack control to be used. When used in conjunction
reduce the width of the cracks to acceptable levels.
with the recommendations presented in Sections
The cracks in bonded post-tensioned members are
4.2.1 and 4.2.3 to limit crack width, it should be ex-
not much different from cracks in pretensioned
pected that a portion of the cracks in the structure
beams.
will exceed these values by a significant amount.
4.5.2 Allowable crack widths - Some authors state
that corrosion is a greater problem in prestressed
4.5 - Flexural cracking in prestressed concrete
concrete members because of the smaller area of
Partially prestressed members, in which cracks
steel used. However, recent research results4. indi-
may appear under working loads, are used exten-
cate that there is no general relationship between
sively. Cracks form in these members when the ten-
cracking and corrosion in most circumstances. Fur-
sile stress exceeds the modulus of rupture of the
t h e r m o r e cracks close upon removal of the load, and
concrete (Sfl to 90 under short-term conditions).
the use of crack width limits should depend on the
The control of these cracks is necessary mainly for
fluctuation and magnitude of the live load.
esthetic reasons. The residual crack width, after re-
moval of the major portion of the live load, is small
[about 0.001 in. to 0.003 in. (0.03 to 0.08 mm)] and
therefore, crack control is usually not necessary if 4.6 - Anchorage zone cracking in prestressed con-
the live load is transitory. crete
The prediction of crack widths in prestressed con- Longitudinal cracks frequently occur in the ancho-
crete members has received far less attention than rage zones of prestressed concrete members due to
in reinforced concrete members. The available ex- transverse tensile stresses set up by the concen-
perimental data are limited and, at the same time, trated forces.4.22T 4.23 Such cracks may lead to (or in
the number of variables is greater in prestressed certain cases are equivalent to) the failure of the
members. member. Transverse reinforcement (stirrups) must
be designed to restrict these cracks.
4.5.1 Crack prediction equations - One approach to Two types of cracks may develop: spalling cracks
crack prediction, w h i c h r e l a t e s i t t o t h e non- which begin at the end face (loaded surface) and
prestressed case, has two steps. First the decom- propagate parallel to the prestressing force, and
pression moment is calculated, at which the stress at bursting cracks which develop along the line of the
the tension face is zero. Then the member is treated force or forces, but away from the end face.
as a reinforced concrete member and the increase in For many years stirrups were designed to take
stress in the steel is calculated for the additional the entire calculated tensile force based on the anal-
loading. The expressions given for crack prediction ysis of the uncracked section. Classical and finite-ele-
in nonprestressed beams may be used to estimate ment analyses show similar stress distributions for
the cracks for the load increase above the decom- which the stirrups are to be provided. However,
pression moment. A multiplication factor of about since experimental evidence shows that higher
1.5 is needed when strands, rather than deformed stresses can result.4.23 than indicated by these an-
bars, are used nearest to the beam surface in the alyses, and the consequences of under-reinforcement
224R-20 ACI COMMITTEE REPORT

can be serious, it is advisable to provide more steel Causes, Mechanism, and Control of Cracking in Concrete,
than required by this type of analysis. SP-20, American Concrete Institute, Detroit, 1968, pp.
More recently, designs have been based on 87-117.
cracked section analyses. A design procedure for 4.7. Nawy, Edward G., and Blair, Kenneth W.,
Further Studies on Flexural Crack Control in Structural
post-tensioned members using a cracked section an-
Slab Systems, Cracking, Deflection, and Ultimate Load of
alysis4.24 has found acceptance with many design-
Concrete Slab Systems, SP-30, American Concrete
ers. For pretensioned members, an empirical equa- Institute, Detroit, 1971, pp. 1-41.
tion has proven to be quite usefu1.4.25 4.8. Nawy, Edward G., Crack Control Through
Spalling cracks form between anchorages and Reinforcement Distribution in Two-Way Acting Slabs and
propagate parallel to the prestressing forces and Plates, ACI JO U R N A L, Proceedings V. 69, No. 4, Apr.
may cause gradual failure, especially when the force 1972, pp. 217-219.
acts near and parallel to a free edge. Since analyses 4.9. Nawy, Edward G., Crack Control in Reinforced
show that the spalling stresses in an uncracked Concrete Structures, ACI JOURNAL , Proceedings V. 65,
member are confined to near the end face, it is im- No. 10, Oct. 1968, pp. 825-836.
4.10. Nilson, Arthur H., Design of Prestressed Concrete,
portant to place the first stirrup near the end sur-
John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1978, 526 pp.
face, and to distribute the stirrups over a distance 4.11. Abeles, Paul W., Cracks in Prestressed Concrete
equal to at least the depth of the member to fully ac- Beams, Proceedings, Fifth IABSE Congress (Lisbon,
count for both spalling and bursting stresses. Pre- 1956), International Association for Bridge and Structural
cast blocks with helical reinforcement may be used Engineering, Zurich, 1956, pp. 707-720.
when the prestressing forces are large. 4.12. Bennett, E. W., and Dave, N. J., Test Perfor-
mances and Design of Concrete Beams with Limited
Prestress, The Structural Engineer (London), V. 47, No.
12, Dec. 1969, pp. 487-496.
4.7 - Tension cracking 4.13. Holmberg, Ake, and Lindgren, Sten, Crack
The cracking behavior of reinforced concrete mem- Spacing and Crack Widths Due to Normal Force and
bers in tension is similar to that of flexural mem- Bending Moment, Document D2:1970, National Swedish
bers, except that the maximum crack width is larger Council for Building Research, Stockholm, 1970, 57 pp.
than that predicted by the expressions for flexural 4.14. Rao, A.S.P.; Gandotra, K.; and Ramaswamy, G.
members.4.26T 4.27 The lack of strain gradient, a n d S., Flexural Tests on Beams Prestressed to Different
resultant restraint imposed by the compression zone Degrees of Prestress, Journal, Institution of Engineers
(Calcutta), V. 56, May 1976.
of flexural members, is probably the reason for the
4.15. Bate, Stephen C. C., Relative Merits of Plain and
larger tensile crack width.
Deformed Wires in Prestressed Concrete Beams Under
Data are limited but it appears that the maximum Static and Repeated Loading, Proceedings, Institution of
tensile crack width may be expressed approximately Civil Engineers (London), V. 10, Aug. 1958, pp. 473-502.
in a form similar to that used for flexural crack 4.16. Bennett, E. W., and Chandrasekhar, C. S., Cal-
width. culation of the Width of Cracks in Class 3 Prestressed
Beams, Proceedings, Institution of Civil Engineers
(London), V. 49, July 1971, pp. 333-346.
w = O.lOf,&tA x 10-3 (4.10) 4.17. Hutton, S. G., and Loov, R. E., Flexural Behavior
of Prestressed, Partially Prestressed, and Reinforced
Concrete Beams, ACI JO U R N A L , Proceedings, V. 63,
References No. 12, Dec. 1966, pp. 1401-1410.
4.1. Leonhardt, Fritz, Crack Control in Concrete Struc- 4.18. Krishna, Raju N.; Basavarajuiah, B. S.; and
tures, IABSE Surveys No. S4/77, International Associa- Ahamed Kurty, U. C., Flexural Behavior of Pretensioned
tion for Bridge and Structural Engineering, Zurich, 1977, Concrete Beams with Limited Prestress, Building
26 pp . Science, V. 8, No. 2, June 1973, pp. 179-185.
4.2. Yerlici, V. A., Minimum Wall Thickness of Circular 4.19. Stevens, R. F., Tests on Prestressed Reinforced
Concrete Tanks, Publication No. 35-11, International Asso- Concrete Beams, Concrete (London), V. 3, No. 11, Nov.
ciation for Bridge & Structural Engineering, Zurich, 1975, 1969, pp. 457-462.
p. 237. 4.20. Nawy, E. G., and Huang, P. T., Crack and
4.3. ACI Committee 224, Causes, Mechanism, and Deflection Control of Pretensioned Prestressed Beams,
Control of Cracking in Concrete, ACI Bibliography No. 9, Journal, Prestressed Concrete Institute, V. 22, No. 3,
American Concrete Institute, Detroit, 1971, 9.2 pp. May-June 1977, pp. 30-47.
4.4. Nawy, Edward G., and Neuwerth, G. E., Behavior 4.21. Beeby, A. W., Corrosion of Reinforcing Steel in
of Concrete Slabs, Plates and Beams with Fiber Glass as Concrete and Its Relation to Cracking, The Structural
Main Reinforcement, Proceedings, ASCE, V. 103, ST2, Engineer (London), V. 56A, No. 3, Mar. 1978, pp. 77-81.
Feb. 1977, pp. 421-440. 4.22. Gergely, Peter, Anchorage Systems in Pre-
4.5. Clark, Arthur P., Cracking in Reinforced stressed Concrete Pressure Vessels; Anchorage Zone
Concrete Flexural Members, ACI JOURNAL , Proceedings Problems, ORNL-TM-2378, Oak Ridge National
V. 52, No. 8, Apr. 1956, pp. 851-862. Laboratory, U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, Oak Ridge,
4.6. Gergely, Peter, and Lutz, Leroy A., Maximum Tenn., 1969, pp. l-49.
Crack Width in Reinforced Concrete Flexural Members, 4.23. Zielinski, J. L., and Rowe, R. E., An
CONTROL OF CRACKING 224-21

Investigation of the Stress Distribution in the Anchorage tion to this occurs at low loads or in beams with
Zones of Post-Tensioned Concrete Members, Technical high percentages of reinforcement, in which case the
Report No. 9, Cement and Concrete Association, London, total number and width of cracks increase sub-
Sept. 1960, 32 pp. stantially after the loading has begun.5.2,5.4,5.8 The
4.24. Gergely, P., and Sozen, M. A., Design of Anchor- largest percentage increase in crack width is then
age Zone Reinforcement in Prestressed Concrete Beams,
Journal, Prestressed Concrete Institute, V. 12, No. 2,
expected in flexural members subject to low levels
Mar.-Apr. 1967, pp. 63-75.
of load, since the cracks take more time to develop.
4.25. Marshall, W. T., and Mattock, A. H., Control of For both prestressed and reinforced concrete flex-
Horizontal Cracking in the Ends of Pretensioned Concrete ural members, long-term loading and repetitive load-
Girders, Journal, Prestressed Concrete Institute, V. 7, ing seem to give about the same crack widths and
No. 5, Aug.-Oct. 1962, pp. 56-74. spacing.5.9 The rate of crack development, however,
4.26. Broms, Bengt B., Crack Width and Crack is considerably faster under repetitive loading. 5.5,5.8-5.10
Spacing in Reinforced Concrete Members, ACI JOURNAL ,
Proceedings, V. 62, No. 10, Oct. 1965, pp. 1237-1256. As discussed in Chapter 4, crack width is a func-
4.27. Broms, Bengt B., and Lutz, Leroy A., Effects of tion of cover. For short-term static and fatigue load-
Arrangement of Reinforcement on Crack Width and
ing, surface crack width is approximately propor-
Spacing of Reinforced Concrete Members, ACI JOURNAL,
Proceedings V. 62, No. 11, Nov. 1965, pp. 1395-1410.
tional to the steel s t r a i n 5 . 7 , 5 . 8 , 5 . 1 0 Cracks grow in
width under sustained loading at a decreasing rate.
However, the rate of growth is faster than the aver-
age observed surface strain at the level of the steel.
Chapter 5 - Long-term effects on cracking* For long term loading, crack width is proportional to
5.1- Introduction the steel strain (including the effects of creep), plus
Cracking in concrete is affected by the long-term the strain induced in the concrete due to shrink-
conditions to which the concrete element is sub- age.5.7
jected. In most cases, long-term exposure and long-
term loading extend the magnitude of cracks in both Under initial loads, cracks adjacent to re-
reinforced and plain concrete. The discussion in this inforcement are restricted by the bond between the
chapter summarizes the major long-term factors steel and the concrete,5.7-5.11 and thus the width of
which affect the crack control performance of con- surface cracks do not provide a good indication of
crete. the exposure of the reinforcing steel to corrosive
conditions. Over a period of time, however, the ad-
5.2 - Effects of long-term loading hesion bond between the steel and the concrete un-
As discussed in Chapter 2, both sustained and dergoes breakdown. After about 2 years, the crack
cyclic loading increase the amount of microcracking width at the reinforcement is approximately equal to
in concrete. The total amount of microcracking ap- the crack width at the surface.5.7 At this stage,
pears to be a function of the total strain and is cracks in flexural members are triangular in shape
largely independent of the method by which the increasing in width from the neutral axis to the sof-
strain is induced. Microcracking due to long-term fit, and are approximately uniform across the width
loading may well be an effect, rather than a major of the beam. Therefore, after a few years, the width
cause, of creep, and microcracks formed at service of a surface crack provides a good estimate of the
load levels do not seem to have a great affect on the crack width at the level of the reinforcing steel.
strength or serviceability of concrete. Many questions remain as to the importance of
The effect of sustained or repetitive loading on crack width on the serviceability of reinforced and
macroscopic cracking, however, may be an important prestressed concrete members. 5.12-5.14 Added
consideration in the serviceability of reinforced con- cover is generally acknowledged as a method of im-
crete members, especially in terms of corrosion of proving the corrosion protection for reinforcing
reinforcing steel and appearance. steel. Since additional cover also results in added
The increase in crack width due to long-term or surface crack width, and since this surface crack
repetitive loading can vary between 10 percent and width appears to provide a good estimate of the
1,000 percent over the span of several years. 5.1-5.8 crack width at the level of the steel, the entire ques-
While there is a large scatter in the data, informa- tion of the importance of crack width on corrosion
tion obtained from sustained loading tests of up to 2 protection remains open. It does seem clear that
.7,5.8
and fatigue tests with up to one million crack widths predicted on the basis of short term
cycles5.4, 5.5,5.8,5.9
indicate that a doubling of crack static tests do not provide a precise guide to crack
width with time can be expected. Under most condi- widths in structures actually in service.
tions, the spacing of cracks does not change with
time at constant levels of stress. 5.4,5.7,5.8 An excep- 5.3 - Environmental effects
The long-term effects of an adverse environment
in both producing and in enlarging concrete
*Principal authors: David Darwin and Ernest K. Schrader. cracks 5.15,5.16 can be damaging to both concrete and
224R-22 ACI COMMll-i=EE REPORT

reinforcement. If concrete is not resistant to freezing 212 9 5.15.5.16 the possible hazard of using calcium chlo-
and thawing when critically saturated, it will de- ride in a water-soluble salt environment warrants a
velop cracks when frozen. The lack of such resis- recommendation against its use under such circum-
tance may be due to either the use of non-frost-resis- stances. Also, the use of calcium chloride in re-
tant coarse aggregate or the failure to produce a inforced structures exposed to unusually moist envi-
satisfactory air-void system or failure to protect the ronments is to be avoided regardless of the presence
concrete from freezing prior to the reduction of the or absence of water-soluble salts in adjacent waters
freezable water content by maturity to a tolerable and soils.
range. The achievement of critical saturation in non-
Detrimental conditions may also result from the
frost-resistant concrete may be facilitated by the
presence of preexisting cracks which allow entry of application of deicing salts to the surface of hard-
ened concrete. When such applications are neces-
water more readily than would be the case other-
sary, calcium chloride or sodium chloride should be
wise. The initiation of D-cracking near joints or
used and only within recommended application rates.
other cracks in pavements is a good example. In
Concrete subjected to water soluble salts should be
more extreme cases, it is not uncommon for cracks
in the roadway deck of dams and navigation locks air entrained [6.5 to 7.5 percent for normal 3L4 in. (19
(caused either by thermal stress or shrinkage of the mm) MSA concrete and 4.5 to 5.5 percent for F/2 in.
richer topping mix) to spall due to water which (38 mm) MSA concrete], should have adequate cover
freezes in the cracks themselves (independent of the (about 2 in.), and should be made with a high-quality
frost resistance of the concrete). On the otherhand, mix yielding low permeability.
preexisting cracks may also function to allow con-
5.5 - Use of polymers in improving cracking c h a r -
crete to dry below critical saturation before freezing,
acterisitics
when this might not occur in the absence of such
Extensive work is available on the use of polymers
cracks. Hence, the role of cracks as they effect the
in modifying the characteristics of concrete.5*1gy 5.20p
deficiencies in frost resistance will vary with the en-
5.21 Polymer-portland cement concretes have a large
vironmental conditions (e.g., typical time of drying
deformation capacity, high tensile and compressive
after wetting before freezing), crack width, ability of
strengths and negligible permeability. The tensile
cracks to drain, etc.
splitting strength can be as high as 1550 psi
If the aggregate used in the concrete is durable (10.7 MPa).5-22 Polymer impregnation is another
under freeze-thaw conditions and the, strength of the method of introducing beneficial polymer systems
concrete is high, the concrete durability will bet- into concrete. This procedure creates a layer of high
ter. (AC1 201.2R). Field exposure tests of reinforced quality material to the depth that has been im-
concrete beams5*17 (subjected to freezing and thaw- pregnated. These materials are discussed in greater
ing and an ocean side environment) indicate that detail in Chapter 6.
the use of air-entrained concrete made the beams Because of these desirable characteristics, it is ex-
more resistant to weathering than the use of non- pected that structural elements made with polymer
air-entrained concrete. Beams with modern de- modified concrete will exhibit superior serviceability
formed bars were found to be more durable than in cracking, deflection, creep, shrinkage, and per-
those using old-style deformations. Maximum crack meability.
widths did not increase with time when the steel
stress was less than 30 ksi, (210 MPa) but did in-
crease substantially (50 to 100 percent) over a 9 year References
period when the steel was 30 ksi (210 MPa) or more. 5.1. Bate, Stephen C. C., A Comparison Between Pre-
stressed Concrete and Reinforced Concrete Beams Under
Repeated Loading, Proceedings Institution of Civil Engi-
5.4 - Aggregate and other effects neers (London), V. 24, Mar. 1963, pp. 331-358.
Concrete may crack as the result of expansive re- 5.2. Brendel, G., and Ruhle, H., Tests on Reinforced
actions between aggregate and alkalis derived from Concrete Beams Under Long-Term Loads (Dauerstandver-
cement hydration, admixtures or external sources suche mit Stahlbetonbalken), Proceedings, Seventh
(e.g., curing water, ground water, alkaline solutions IABSE Congress (Rio de Janeiro, 1964), International As-
stored or used in the finished structure). sociation of Bridge and Structural Engineering, Zurich,
Possible solutions to these problems include limita- 1964, pp. 916-922.
tions on reactive constituents in the aggregate, limi- 5.3. Lutz, LeRoy A.; Sharma, Nand K.; and Gergely, Pe-
tations on the alkali content of cement, or addition of ter, Increase in Crack Width in Reinforced Concrete
Beams Under Sustained Loading, ACI JOURNAL , Pro-
a satisfactory pozzolanic material. The potential for
ceedings, V. 64, No. 9, Sept. 1968, pp. 538-546.
some expansive reactions, e.g., alkali-carbonate, is 5.4. Abeles, Paul W.: Brown, Earl L. II; and Morrow,
not reduced by pozzolanic admixtures. AC1 201.2R Joe W., Development and Distribution of Cracks in Rect-
and Reference 5.18 give details on identification and angular Prestressed Beams During Static and Fatigue
evaluation of aggregate reactivity. Loading, Journal, Prestressed Concrete Institute, V. 13,
Based on reports of AC1 Committees 201 and No. 5, Oct. 1968, pp. 36-51.
CONTROL OF CRACKING 224R-23

5.5. Bennett, E. W., and Dave, N. J., Test Perfor- Chapter 6 - Control of cracking in concrete
mances and Design of Concrete Beams with Limited Pre- layered systems*
stress, The Structural Engineer (London), V. 47 No. 12, 6.1 - Introduction
Dec. 1969, pp. 487-496.
5.6. Holmberg, A., and Lindgren, S., Crack Spacing and
A layered concrete system can be created by a
Crack Width Due to Normal Force or Bending Moment, mortar or concrete overlay (topping) placed on an
Document D2, National Swedish Council for Building Re- existing concrete surface. The use of layered con-
search, Stockholm, 1970, 57 pp. crete systems has been increasing during the last
5.7. Illston, J. M., and Stevens, R. F., Long-term Crack- 10 years in the renovation of deteriorating bridge
ing in Reinforced Concrete Beams, Proceedings, In- decks, strengthening and/or renovation of concrete
stitution of Civil Engineers (London), Part 2, V. 53, Dec. pavements, warehouse floors, walkways, etc., and in
1972, pp. 445-459. new two-course construction of decks and pave-
5.8. Holmberg, Ake, Crack Width Prediction and Min- ments. The overlay can be portland cement low
imum Reinforcement for Crack Control, Dansk Selskab slump dense concrete (LSDC), polymer-portland ce-
for Byaningsstatik (Copenhagen), V. 44, No. 2, June 1973,
pp. 41-50.
ment concrete (PPCC), more commonly referred to
5.9. Rehm, Gallus, and Eligehausen, Rolf, Lapped as latex modified concrete (LMC), fiber reinforced
Splices of Deformed Bars Under Repeated Loadings concrete (FRC), or internally sealed concrete. A lay-
(Ubergreifungsstosse von Rippenstahlen unter nicht ruhen- ered system can also be created by impregnating
der Belastung), Beton und Stahlbetonbau (Berlin), No. 7, the upper portion [l/z to 3 in. (10 to 80 mm1 ] of exist-
1977, pp. 170-174. ing concrete with a monomer system that requires
5.10. Stevens, R. F., Tests on Prestressed Reinforced polymerization after soaking.
Concrete Beams, Concrete (London), V. 3, No. 11, Nov. The major sources and types of cracking in these
1969, pp. 457-462. layered concrete systems are:
5.11. Broms, Bengt B., Technique for Investigation of 1. Differential shrinkage cracking
Internal Cracks in Reinforced Concrete Members, ACI 2. Reflective cracking (stress cracking)
JOURNAL, Proceedings, V. 62, No. 1, Jan. 1965, pp. 35-44.
5.12. Atimtay, Ergin, and Ferguson, Phil M., Early
3. Differential temperature cracking
Chloride Corrosion of Reinforced Concrete - A Test Re- 4. Edge curling and delamination
port, ACI JOURNAL , Proceedings V. 70, No. 9, Sept. 1973, 5. Incorrect construction practices
pp. 606-611. Long term observations 6.1-6.3 of many layered
5.13. Beeby, A. W., Concrete in the Oceans - Cracking concrete systems have shown that differential
and Corrosion, Technical Report No. 1, Cement and shrinkage cracks are by far the most common and
Concrete Association (London), 1978. most likely to increase and widen with time.
5.14. Beeby, A. W., Corrosion of Reinforcing Steel in
Concrete and Its Relation to Cracking, The Structural
Engineer (London), V. 56A, No. 3, Mar. 1978, pp. 77-81. 6.2 - Fiber reinforced concrete (FRC) overlays
5.15. Mather, Bryant, Cracking Induced by Environ- When properly proportioned, mixed, and placed, a
mental Effects, Causes, Mechanism, and Control of Crack-
crack resistant topping layer of FRC can be the solu-
ing in Concrete, SP-20, American Concrete Institute, De-
troit, 1968, pp. 67-72.
tion to certain field problems. Fibrous concrete over-
5.16. Mather, Bryant, Factors Affecting Durability of lays of highways, airfields, warehouse floors, walk-
Concrete in Coastal Structures, Technical Memorandum ways, etc., have been used since the early 1970s.
. No. 96, Beach Erosion Board, Washington, D.C., June Fibers are usually steel with lengths between 10
1957. and 60 mm (l/2 to 2l/2 in.). The effects of fibrous
5.17. Roshore, Edwin C., Field Exposure Tests of Rein- concrete on cracking in a layered system depend
forced Concrete Beams, ACI JOURNAL , Proceedings V. 64, largely on the field conditions of each situation.
No. 5, May 1967, pp. 253-257. Some typical observations for similar field or labo-
5.18. Woods, Hubert, Durability of Concrete Construc- ratory conditions are discussed below.6*2-6*7
tion, Monograph No. 4, American Concrete Institute/Iowa
6.2.1 Bond to underlying concrete - During early fi-
State University, Detroit, 1968, 187 pp.
5.19. Brookhaven National Laboratory, Concrete Pol- brous concrete overlay work, it was thought that a
ymer Materials, BNL Report 50134 (T-5091, 1968. partially bonded layer was the ideal system. The
5.20. Polymers in Concrete, SP-40, American Concrete term partially bonded means that no deliberate at-
Institute, Detroit, 1973, 362 pp. tempt is made to bond or to debond the topping
5.21. Polymers in Concrete, SP-58, American Concrete layer to the underlying material through agents, fas-
Institute, Detroit, 1978, 420 pp. teners, polyethylene sheet, etc. The surface to be
5.22. Nawy, Edward G.; Ukadike, Maurice M.; and overlaid is cleaned of all loose material, usually by
Sauer, John A., High Strength Field Polymer Modified hosing, and generally left in damp condition. After
Concretes, Proceedings, ASCE, V. 103, ST12, Dec. 1977, the evaluation of partially bonded projects, this pro-
pp. 2307-2322.
cedure has become the least desirable technique to

*Principal authors: Alfred G. Bishara and Ernest K. Schrader.


224R-24 ACI COMMITTEE REPORT

use. Over a period of several years many partially The basic crack theory is applicable to both glass
bonded FRC overlays have shown noticeable and metallic fibers, but the two types do exhibit
amounts of reflective cracking and edge curling. The some difference in physical crack behavior. Test+*
curled edges are typical in thin overlays [less than have shown that glass FRC has less ability to store
about 3 in. (76 mm)] and can result in cracks if sub- energy after its failure in flexure than steel FRC.
jected to long-term dynamic loading. Also, microcracking in the general vicinity of a ma-
If the base slab is relatively crack free, or if the jor crack is typically more prominent with steel than
overlay is of sufficient thickness and strength to re- glass. The failure (crack) zone for glass is more local-
sist the extension of cracks in the original slab, a ized.
bonded layer with matched joints is generally the 6.2.4 Fibers in open cracks - There has been con-
best approach. If the FRC layer is of sufficient thick- siderable discussion about the condition and effec-
ness, a totally unbonded overlay is generally best tiveness of steel fibers that bridge over or through a
where severe cracking is present or may develop in crack. At the time of cracking, the fibers lose their
the base slab. Essentially unbonded systems have bond to the concrete but continue to provide a me-
been constructed satisfactorily where FRC is placed chanical resistance to pullout. This post-cracking
over an asphalt layer. The asphalt itself will act as a strength is one of the most important characteristics
debonding layer if it has a reasonably smooth sur- of FRC. The obvious problem is that after cracking,
face without potholes. This type of construction steel fibers will oxidize and provide no long-term
lends itself particularly well to deteriorated airfield benefit. However, the majority of investigations
slabs which have been resurfaced with asphaltic con- 6.3,6.5,6.6
have shown, that if the cracks are tight
crete but require additional rigid pavement to take (0.001 - 0.003 in. (0.03-0.08 mm)], the fibers will not
increased loads imposed by heavy aircraft. Another oxidize, even after several years of exposure. Long-
technique, which has been used when the base mate- term evaluations are currently underway.6.3
rial to be overlaid is reasonably smooth, consists of 6.2.5 Mix proportion conditions-ACI 544.3R
placing the FRC over a layer of polyethylene sheet. provides detailed information on suitable mixture
On irregular, spalled, or potholed surfaces a thin lev- proportions for steel fiber reinforced concrete. The
eling and debonding layer of sand or asphalt is desir- water requirement for fibrous concretes is higher
able. than that of normal concrete due to the high surface
6.2.2 Fiber size and volume - The crack arresting area of the fibers. The high water content provides
mechanism on which the basic theory of FRC is the basic ingredient for shrinkage cracks. Through
founded depends on fiber spacing.6.8 Although fiber the use of water reducing admixtures, the mix water
size and volume have little effect on the formation of can be held to reasonable levels.6-gp JO If possible,
the first crack they are major factors influencing these admixtures should be used to adjust the mix
subsequent crack development. As fiber diameter in- proportioning for a bonded overlay so that the wa-
creases for any given volume percentage, the num- ter/cement ratio and cement factor approach the
ber of fibers decreases and the spacing between fi- same values as used in the underlying material, If
bers increases. Also, as the volume percentage possible, the overlay should have aggregates of
decreases, the spacing increases. If the fiber spacing similar physical properties unless the original ag-
becomes relatively large [more than about 5 mm (0.2 gregates are unsuitable.
in.)], the crack arresting mechanism is limited. Re- 6.2.6 Joint overlays - Different methods of joint
gardless of the reason, as the fiber spacing in- overlaying have been tried; most have been unsuc-
creases, the number of small cracks decreases, but cessful.6.7 As with conventional concrete overlays, if
the number and width of larger cracks increase. For joints in a base slab are overlayed with FRC without
concrete with 20 mm t3/4 in.) aggregate, about 0.9 taking special design precautions to prevent reflec-
percent fibers by total volume will provide sub- tive cracking, the overlay will crack at joint loca-
stantial crack resistance. For concrete with 10 mm tions.
(3/8 in.) aggregate about 1.2 percent is normal, and
for mortar, 1.4 to 1.8 percent is adequate. If fiber 6.3 - Latex modified concrete (LMC) overlays
contents much greater than these are used, or if ag- Latex modified mortar and concrete bonded over-
gregate gradations are not suitable, high cement and lays [3/4 to 1 l/z in. (20 to 40 mm)] have been used in
water requirements result and the FRC layer is sus- the renovation of deteriorated bridge decks and in
ceptible to shrinkage cracks. new two-course construction to effectively resist the
penetration of chloride ions from deicing salts and
6.2.3 Fiber type and shape - Because of their in- prevent the subsequent corrosion of the reinforcing
creased resistance to pullout, deformed steel fibers steel and the spalling of the concrete deck.6.11,6.12
have an advantage over smooth ones with regard to Some of these decks have been in use for over 10
both pre- and post-cracking behavior. However, the years.
advantage is not always worth the additional ex- Inspections of a large number of bridge decks
pense. overlaid with LMC6.1 have indicated that there is a
CONTROL OF CRACKING 224R-25

high incidence of fine, random, shrinkage cracks in a 6.4 - Polymer impregnated concrete (PIC) systems
large portion of the renovation jobs. This type of Surface impregnation and polymerization of con-
cracking is not as extensive in new two-course con- crete in place is a relatively new process but has
struction. Transverse cracks, spaced 3 to 4 ft (0.9 to been used successfully in a number of field proj-
1.2 m) apart, also appear on many of the bridges in- ects.6.13,6.15 There has been considerable discussion
spected. However, there may be a relationship be- about this procedure due to observations of cracks
tween the degree of transverse cracking and the in- during or immediately after the drying step of these
tensity of heavy truck traffic during reconstruction. p r o j e c t s . I n t h e c a s e s t h a t h a v e b e e n eval-
To keep the bridges in service, traffic is normally uated, 6.14,6.15 the cracks were determined to either
diverted to one lane, while renovation and applica- have been in the concrete prior to the impregnation
tion of the overlay proceed on an adjacent traffic lane. or they were caused by improperly controlled drying
The quality of the overlay may be affected by the during initial stages of the impregnation procedure.
movement of the deck, although extensive data do Temperatures during drying are usually in the range
not exist linking the effect of traffic-induced vibra- of 120 C (240 F) to 150 C (310 F) for about 4 to 12 hr.
tions during reconstruction to deterioration or crack- To some extent, thermal expansion will offset drying
ing in bridge decks. If traffic must be maintained, shrinkage until the concrete cools. Ideally, during
consideration should be given to placing overlays the soak period and after cooling, the monomer will
when traffic is low and/or when vehicle speed is fill any cracks that have been created in the top sur-
restricted. face of the concrete due to drying. The cracks will
To reduce the incidence of cracking and sub be mended when the monomer is polymerized. If a
sequent loss of latex modified concrete overlays it is crack is open and can drain (as is the case with ver-
recommended 6 .1 that: tical surfaces and cracks through the full depth of a
slab), the monomer can run out of the crack before it
1. The surface of the underlying concrete should
is polymerized, and no mending will occur. If a more
be cleaned by sand blasting to assure adequate
viscous monomer is used, so that it does not drain
bonding with the overlay. To reduce air pollution,
from the crack, the depth of penetration into the
particularly in urban areas, high pressure water jet
concrete will be adversely affected. If there is a wa-
cleaning [5000 to 6000 psi (35-40 MPa) at the nozzle]
may be used just prior to placement of the overlay, ter source behind the material to be polymerized it
in lieu of sand blasting; is possible for moisture to re-enter the crack, after
drying has been completed, but before the monomer
2. The slump of latex modified concrete mixtures soak starts. In this case, the presence of moisture
should be between 3 to 4 in. (75 to 100 mm) to re- prevents the monomer from entering the concrete
duce differential shrinkage and the high incidence of adjacent to the crack, and the crack will not mend.
random cracking; The engineer should thoroughly evaluate all ef-
3. The finishing equipment should have been fects of the drying cycle in a PIC project and plan
proven to be effective for adequately placing the con- the drying temperatures and duration, the cooling
crete to the required density; cycle, and the monomer system to prevent the oc-
4. A thin coating of the overlay mixture should be currence of unmended cracks. The strain capacity,
thoroughly scrubbed into the surface of the under- thermal expansion, and specific heat of the material
lying clean concrete immediately before placing the should be considered. Restraints, preventing move-
overlay mix to increase the bonding between the ment at the perimeter of the concrete to be poly-
layers; coarser particles of the mixture which cannot merized, should be avoided.
be scrubbed into immediate contact with the surface The long-term influence of polymer impregnation
of the underlying concrete, should be removed; on the behavior of cracking in concrete is not known
at this time but will be established by the evaluation
5. In new two-course construction, the overlay
of currently completed field projects.
should be placed after removing the forms from the
base concrete, so that stresses caused by the weight
of the overlay are born by the underlying concrete. References
If placed before the forms are removed, the overlay 6.1. Bishara, A. G., Latex Modified Concrete Bridge
will have to carry a portion of its own weight and Deck Overlays - Field Performance Analysis, Report
may crack in negative moment regions; No. FHWA/OH/79/004, Federal Highway Administration,
Washington, D.C., Oct. 1979, 97 pp.
6. Overlays should be placed only when the am- 6.2. Gray, B. H., Fiber Reinforced Concrete - A Gen-
bient weather conditions are favorable, as defined in eral Discussion of Field Problems and Applications, Tech-
ACI 308 on curing, or when appropriate actions are nical Manuscript M-12, U.S. Army Construction Engineer-
taken for cold-weather concreting (ACI 306R) or hot- ing Research Laboratory, Champaign, Apr. 1972.
weather concreting (ACI 305R). 6.3. Schrader, Ernest K., and Munch, Anthony V. Deck
224R-26 ACI COMMITTEE REPORT

Slab Repaired by Fibrous Concrete Overlay, Proceedings, recently, thermal insulation has been used to protect
ASCE, V. 102, C01, Mar. 1976, pp. 179-196. exposed surfaces. The degree of temperature control
6.4. Gray, B. H.; Williamson, G. R.; and Batson, G. B., necessary to prevent cracking varies greatly with
Fibrous Concrete - Construction Material for the Seven- such factors as the location, the height and thickness
ties, Conference Proceedings M-28, U.S. Army Construc- of the structure, the character of the aggregate, the
tion Engineering Research Laboratory, Champaign, May properties of the concrete and the external re-
1972, 238 pp.
6.5. Hefner, S., Fibrous Concrete McCarran Inter-
straints. Although a large amount of the data for
national Airport, Las Vegas, Nevada, Dec. 1974. this chapter has been obtained by experience gained
6.6. Rice, John L., Fibrous Concrete Pavement Design from the use of mass concrete in dams, it applies
Summary, Technical Report No. M-134, U.S. Army Con- equally well in mass concrete used in other struc-
struction Engineering Research Laboratory, Champaign, tures such as steam power plants, powerhouses,
June 1975, 13 pp. bridge and building foundations, navigation locks,
6.7. Gray, B. H., and Rice, John L., Fibrous Concrete etc. Tremie concrete, a specialized type of mass con-
for Pavement Applications, Report No. M-13, U.S. Army crete, has been amply covered in Chapter 8 of ACI
Construction Engineering Research Laboratory, 304 and will not be discussed in this report.
Champaign, Apr. 1972, 9 pp. The location of the structure affects the degree of
6.8. Shah, S. P., and Naaman, A. E., Mechanical Prop-
erties of Glass and Steel Fiber Reinforced Mortar, De-
temperature control which will be required. Gener-
partment of Materials Engineering, University of Illinois, ally at high altitudes the daily variations in temper-
Chicago, Aug. 1975. ature are greater than at low altitudes. Often at
6.9. Utilization of Wirand Concrete in Bridge Decks, high altitudes, the ambient temperature variation
Report by General Analytics, Monroeville, Pa., for Battelle alone may be sufficient to cause cracks to form at
Memorial Institute, May 1971. exposed surfaces. These surface cracks continue in-
6.10. Walker, A. J., and Lankard, D. R., Bridge Deck ward with only approximately half the stress which
Rehabilitation with Steel Fibrous Concrete, Presented at is necessary to cause internal cracking. A similar
the Third International Exposition on Concrete Construc- condition is likely to be found when a structure is lo-
tion (New Orleans, Jan. 1977), Battelle Columbus Labora- cated at a high latitude; only in this case the temper-
tories, 1977. ature variations are seasonal, rather than daily.
6.11. Bishara, A. G., and Tantayanondkul, P., Use of
In the case of a dam, the height affects the need
Latex in Concrete Bridges Decks, Report No. EES 435
(ODOT-12-74) Ohio Department of Transportation, The
for crack control. If the dam is very high, the design
Ohio State University, 1974. stresses will be high and more cement must be used
6.12. Clear, K. C., Time to Corrosion of Reinforcing to provide the stipulated factor of safety. This
Steel in Concrete Slabs, Transportation Research Record, makes for more heat generation and a consequent
No. 500, Transportation Research Board, 1974, pp. 16-24. tendency toward higher internal temperatures. Also,
6.13. Schrader, Ernest K.; Fowler, David W.; Kaden, the higher dam will have greater horizontal dimen-
Richard A., and Stebbins, Rodney J., Polymer Impregna- sions which cause greater restraint and the need for
tion Used in Concrete Repairs on Cavitation/Erosion Dam- still closer temperature control.
age, Polymers in Concrete, SP-58, American Concrete In- The properties of the concrete affect the problem
stitute, Detroit, 1978, pp. 225-248. of crack control. Concretes differ widely in the
6.14. Depuy, G. W., Recent Developments in Concrete-
amount of tensile strain they can withstand before
Polymer Materials, Second International Symposium on
Concrete Technology (Monterrey, Mexico, Mar. 19751, U.S. cracking. For strain which is applied rapidly, the
Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, 1975. two factors which govern the strain capacity are the
6.15. Smoak, W. G., Polymer Impregnation of New modulus of elasticity and the tensile strength. For
Concrete Bridge Deck Surfaces, Interim Report No. strain which is applied slowly, the creep (or re-
FHWA-RD-75-72, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Denver, laxation) of the concrete is important. The factors af-
Prepared for Federal Highway Administration, Washing- fecting strain capacity and creep rate are discussed
ton, D.C., June 1975. more fully in Section 7.2.
Another important property of concrete is the
coefficient of thermal expansion. The amount of
Chapter 7 - Control of cracking in mass strain which a temperature change will produce is
concrete* directly proportional to the coefficient of thermal ex-
7.1 - Introduction pansion of the concrete. The average coefficient of
Temperature induced cracking in a large mass of thermal expansion of mass concrete is about 9 mil-
concrete can be prevented if proper measures are lionths per deg C (5 millionths/F), but with some ag-
taken to reduce the amount and rate of temperature gregates, the coefficient may be as high as 15 mil-
change. Measures commonly used include precooling, lionths or as low as 7 millionths (4 to 8 millionths/F).
post-cooling or a combination of the two, and more Thus, in the extreme case, where a concrete has a
low tensile strength, a high modulus o f elasticity, a
high coefficient of thermal expansion, and is fully re-
*Principal authors: Donald L. Houghton and Roy W. Carlson. strained, it may crack when there is a quick drop in
CONTROL OF CRACKING 224R-27

temperature of only 3 C (6 F). On the other hand, As stated above, the two factors governing the
some concretes can withstand a quick drop in tem- tensile strain which a concrete can withstand are the
perature of as much as 10 C (20 F), even when fully tensile strength and the modulus of elasticity. Many
restrained. More data on the thermal expansion of tests on very lean concretes, such as are used for
concrete may be found in the reports of ACI Com- the interior of large dams, have shown that tensile
mittee 207 (ACI 207.1R and ACI 207.2R). failure occurs without much plastic strain when
From these considerations, it is apparent that the loading is applied rapidly. For such concrete, the
degree of crack control necessary for the safe elimi- tensile strain which the concrete can withstand is
nation of joints may vary from nothing at all, for a approximately equal to the tensile strength divided
dam near the equator with favorable aggregates, to by the modulus of elasticity of the concrete. For
very costly measures, in a location where temper- many purposes, then, it is sufficiently accurate to as-
ature variations are great and where the only eco- sume that the tensile strain capacity is inversely
nomical aggregates have high elastic moduli and proportional to the modulus of elasticity of the con-
high thermal expansion. In the latter case, present crete. It follows that the modulus of elasticity of the
practice calls for both precooling and post-cooling, aggregate is important because of its large effect on
and for the application of thermal insulation to ex- the deformability of the concrete. Tensile strength is
posed surfaces during cold weather. The insulation is also important, and for this reason, crushed aggre-
left in place long enough to permit the concrete tem- gates are apt to be superior to natural aggregates
perature at the surfaces to slowly approach the am- for crack prevention.
bient, or until additional concrete is placed on or Strain capacity can be measured directly on
against the surface being protected. Additional re- cylindrical specimens loaded in tension, or it can be
search into the most effective use of thermal in- determined on concrete beams located at the third
sulation is needed particularly for regions having se- points.7.1
vere or sub-arctic climates. A high creep rate of concrete is helpful in pre-
There are two measures which can be taken to venting cracking when the tensile strain is applied
provide safety against cracking. The first is to mod- gradually. Since the tensile strength of concrete is
ify the materials and mix proportions to produce nearly independent of prior loading, creep tends to
concrete having the best cracking resistance, or the increase the strain capacity. In the case of Dworshak
greatest tensile strain capacity. This may require Dam, for example, the strain to failure was almost
careful aggregate selection, using the minimum ce- three times as great for strain applied over 2 months
ment content for interior concrete, restricting the as for quickly applied strain.7.1
maximum aggregate size, or using other specialized The creep of concrete under sustained stress is af-
procedures. The second measure to prevent cracking fected by the stiffness of the aggregate. When the
is to control the factors which produce tensile strain. modulus is high, the creep is low and vice versa. The
This may mean precooling, post-cooling, insulating importance of aggregate rigidity on creep of con-
(and possibly heating) the exposed surfaces of the crete may be illustrated by two examples. First, as-
concrete during cold weather and designing to min- sume that the aggregate and the cement paste have
imize strains around galleries and other openings. the same modulus of elasticity. When compressive
stress is applied, the stress and the corresponding
strain will be the same in the aggregate as in the ce-
7.2 - Crack resistance ment paste. The aggregate does not creep under
The tensile strain which concrete can withstand moderate stress but the paste does, and the paste
varies greatly with the composition of the concrete which is between aggregate particles relaxes and
and the strain rate. When strain is applied slowly, loses stress. The lost stress must be shifted to the
the strain capacity is far greater than when the ac- aggregate to maintain equilibrium. This imposes an
tion is rapid. Thus, concrete in the interior of a large elastic strain on the aggregate which accounts for a
mass which must cool slowly, can undergo a large large part of the creep of the concrete. The amount
strain before failure. If concrete contains rough tex- of this elastic strain is directly related to the modu-
tured aggregate of small maximum size, the strain lus of elasticity of the aggregate; the more rigid the
capacity will be high. However, there is an optimum aggregate, the lower the creep. Next, assume that
with respect to the aggregate size. Smaller aggre- the aggregate has a much higher modulus than the
gate requires more cement for a given strength cement paste. When compressive stress is applied,
which results in more heat, a higher maximum tem- the average stress in the aggregate will be higher
perature, and greater subsequent strain due to cool- than that in the cement paste and the paste will
ing. Thus, the gain through greater strain capacity creep less than it did when the moduli were equal.
of the richer concrete with smaller aggregate may The elastic strain in the aggregate due to the creep
be more than offset by the greater strain that must of the paste will then be less than it was when the
be withstood, if the size is reduced too much. moduli were equal. Thus, an increase in the rigidity
224-28 ACI COMMITTEE REPORT

of the aggregate acts in two ways to reduce the 1. Concrete with large tensile strain capacity.
creep of the concrete. 2. Small daily and seasonal temperature varia-
tions.
3. Low cement content (permitted by low design
7.3 - Determination of temperatures and tensile stresses).
strains 4. Cement of low heat generation.
Tensile strain in mass concrete results mainly 5. Short blocks.
from the restraint of thermal contraction, and to a 6. Slow rate of construction when no cooling is
lesser degree from autogenous shrinkage. Drying used.
shrinkage is important only because it may cause 7. Low degree of restraint, as with yielding foun-
shallow cracks to occur at surfaces. Thus, temper- dation, or in portions of structure well removed from
ature change is the main contributor to tensile strain restraining foundation.
in mass concrete. The prediction of probable strain 8. High yearly average temperature.
requires the prediction of the temperature to be ex- 9. Absence of stress raisers, such as galleries.
pected. This prediction can be made quite reliably if 10. Low casting temperature.
the adiabatic temperature curve for the concrete is
known, as well as the thermal diffusivity, boundary This list suggests many of the measures which can
temperatures and dimensions. The finite element be taken to prevent cracking. First, an attempt
method can be used for the prediction of temper- should be made to produce a concrete with large
ature distribution.7.3a 7.4 The main problem is that of tensile strain capacity. This may mean limiting the
choosing the correct boundary temperatures, which maximum aggregate size to a value somewhat below
often depend upon the ambient temperatures. It is that which might be the most economical otherwise.
often satisfactory to use air temperatures found in Where several sources of aggregate are available ec-
weather reports as the surface temperatures to be onomically, preference should be given to that which
used in the computations. For information on other yields best crack resistance; usually this will be a
methods of predicting temperatures in mass con- crushed material of low thermal expansion and low
crete, see the report ACI 207.lR. modulus of elasticity.
After the predicted temperature history is known, The heat producing characteristics of cement play
the determination of probable tensile strain is the an important role in the amount of temperature rise.
next step. This can be accomplished using finite ele- ASTM Type II (moderate heat) cement should be
ment computer programs.7.5a 7.6 Even with the finite used for mass concrete construction (Note: Type IV,
element method, a thorough analysis is laborious low heat cement is, also, recommended, but is not
because of the time-dependent variables. The analy- readily available). Pozzolans can be used to replace
sis must include many steps of time to properly a portion of the cement to reduce the peak temper-
account for the creep (or relaxation) and the differ- ature due to the heat of hydration (207.2R). In some
ent and changing properties of every lift of concrete. cases, up to 35 percent or more of the cement can be
On the other hand, strains near a boundary due to replaced by an equal volume of a suitable pozzolan
brief thermal shocks can be computed quite readily and still produce the same strength at 90 days or
because in such cases the concrete can be assumed to 1 year. Some of the more common pozzolans used in
be fully restrained. In this case, the strain is simply mass concrete include calcined clays, diatomaceous
the temperature drop multiplied by the coefficient of earth, volcanic tuffs and pumicites and fly ash. The
expansion. This is important, because in many actual type of pozzolan to be used and its appropriate
cases, the control of boundary strain is sufficient to replacement percentage are normally determined by
prevent cracking. Internal strains usually develop test, cost, and availability.
slowly enough to be tolerable, even if large. De-
scriptions of test methods suitable for measuring the The lowest practical cement content permitted by
physical properties necessary for the prediction of the strength and durability requirements should be
temperatures and strains are given in Section 7.5. used to reduce the heat of hydration and the con-
sequent thermal stresses and strains. More than the
necessary amount of cement is a detriment rather
7.4 - Control of cracking than an advantage.
Given the probable temperatures and strains, the In general, a reduction in the water content of
designer must determine what measures are most concrete permits a corresponding reduction in the
practicable to provide ample safety against cracking. cement content. The concrete with less water and
The preventative measures will vary from nothing cement is superior in two important ways: it under-
where weather and materials are favorable, to very goes less temperature change and less drying
expensive measures, where conditions are unfavor- shrinkage. Minimum water content can be achieved
able. Some of the conditions which facilitate crack by such measures as specifying powerful vibrators
prevention are: which permit low slump, by using a water-reducing
CONTROL OF CRACKING 224R-29

agent, and by placing the concrete at a low temper- face of the forms. Temporary anchors embedded in
ature. the newly placed lift of concrete retain the insulation
Precooling the concrete during its production and on the concrete surface when the forms are lifted.
post-cooling it with embedded pipe systems after it The insulation is easily removed from the surface
is placed are especially effective measures. Details when desired. Roll-on insulation is particularly appli-
on pipe cooling are given in Section 7.6. cable for use on horizontal lift joints. It is easy to in-
stall and remove and can be reused many times.
One measure which offers promise is that of plac- Spray-on insulation can be used on either horizontal
ing crack resistant concrete at boundaries (sides and or vertical surfaces. This type of insulation is partic-
top of lifts). Even though the more crack resistant ularly useful for increasing the thickness and effec-
concrete may be too costly to be used throughout tiveness of insulation already in place and for in-
the structure, it can be used to this limited extent sulating forms. Experience has shown that insulation
without serious effect on economy. But thin layers of which permits transmission of light rays should not
concrete next to the forms cannot be placed easily be used because a temperature rise occurs between
with present-day construction methods, which make the insulation and the concrete when the insulation
use of very large buckets. Therefore, it appears is subjected to direct sunlight. Spray-on insulation of
more promising to use precast concrete panels for timed longevity for frost protection of agricultural
forms and to leave these panels as a permanent part plants and trees, also, appears to have potential for
of the structure. These panels should be of good the insulation of concrete lift joints during the active
quality for durability, and preferably lightweight so construction season. This insulation can be formu-
as to provide good thermal insulation. Since most lated to disintegrate at a given time after appli-
cracks originate at boundaries, this partial measure cation. Thus, it can be timed to remain effective on
may make the whole structure crack free. More in- the lift joints for approximately the period of time
formation on the use of precast panels for protection between successive placements and be easily re-
of mass concrete can be found in ACI 347.1R. moved by a final washing prior to placement of the
Thermal insulation on exposed surfaces during new lift. Precast panels made of low conductance
cold weather can protect concrete from cracking, if lightweight concrete or regular weight concrete cast
enough insulation is used and it is left in place long with laminated or sandwich layers of low con-
enough. If the insulation is sufficient to allow slow ductance cellular concrete also are acceptable as a
cooling, the tensile strain need never exceed the means of insulating the interior concrete. The panels
dangerpoint. The concrete can relax as rapidly as would then serve as both forms and face concrete.
the tensile stress tends to develop, until finally,
stable temperatures are reached. However, if the
concrete has a very slow relaxation rate (or creep 7.5 - Testing methods and typical data
rate) the amount of insulation and the long protection
7.5.1 Adiabatic temperature rise - The temperature
time required may make this measure impractical.
rise which would occur if there were no heat loss is
In extreme environments, where large amounts of defined as adiabatic temperature rise. The reader is
insulation will be required during severely cold referred to ACI 207.1R for methods of test. That re-
months, it may be necessary to remove the in- port gives data on adiabatic temperature rise of con-
sulation in stages as the warmer months approach, cretes having a single cement content but having
Temperatures within the concrete just below the in- different types of portland cement. Fig. 7.1 gives
sulation should be allowed to slowly approach the typical adiabatic curves for Type II cement and var-
environmental temperature. This is to prevent the ious quantities of cement and pozzolan. Curves A
occurrence of thermal shock which could induce and B in Fig. 7.1 represent data from mixes contain-
cracking at the surface with possible, subsequent, ing equal volumes of cementitious materials (ce-
deeper propagation into the mass. Precautions must ment plus pozzolan) thereby showing the effect of
be taken against using too much insulation or leav- pozzolan replacement of cement on temperature
ing it in place too long, which could result in stop- reduction.
ping the desired cooling of the interior mass, and, in 7.5.2 Thermal properties of concrete - Thermal dif-
some cases, cause the interior temperature to begin fusivity and thermal expansion are important in the
to increase again. control of cracking due to temperature change, and
Insulation, as currently used for concrete, can be their determination is detailed in References ACI
obtained in a variety of forms and materials having 207.1R and 7.8 through 7.10. The approximate
practical installed conductances ranging from 3.6 to range of thermal properties is shown in Table 7.1.
0.5 kg cal/m/hr/C (0.75 to 0.10 BTU/hr/sq ft/F). It 7.5.3 Creep of concrete - Creep may be defined as
can be obtained in semirigid board type panels, roll- the continued deformation of concrete under sus-
on flexible rubber type material, and foamed spray- tained stress. A standard test for creep of concrete
on material which becomes semirigid in place. The in compression is detailed in ASTM C 512-76.7. l5
semirigid panels are usually installed on the inside Creep of concrete in tension is difficult to measure;
224R-30 ACI COMMITTEE REPORT

50 - A

40

c _,_ 20
1

0
D
I

LEGEND .
Curve A - Portland Cement - 306Ib/cu yd(l8l kg/~);Pozzolan-None
Curve B - Portland Cement - 214 Ib/cuyd (127 kg/m3);l%zzoIon-74lb/cuyd(44kg/m)
IO Curve C - Portland Cement I81 Ib/cu yd (107kg/m3);Pozzolan-63Ib/cuyd (37 kg/m) -5
Curve D - Portland Cement - 148 lb/w yd (88 kg/d); PDZroh-50 Ibhu yd(30 kg/m)

Type II Cement

0 -0
0 4 8 I2 I6 20 24 28

Age , Days

Fig. 7.1 - Typical adiabatic temperature curves for mass concrete (Reference 7.7)

TABLE 7.1 - Illustrative range of thermal and elastic


properties of mass concrete

Thermal properties
__-___-____~_-__~_--__-
Coefficient of linear
expansion, millionths Diffusivity
Conductivity _____--_- -__----- Specific heat
__ ppp
BTU/lb O F
_----__ ft or
Per O F Per O C _ --__ -_ ft x hr x O F m x hr x O C-_- - hr Cal/g O C
- -~-~
4 7.2 0.040
to to to 0.22
8 14.5 0.067 I__~--~-- - -
-_. _~____ _ _. _ ~_----_ ----- -- - - l----
____-------
Elastic~_~_____~---_~-----_
properties
- ____- -_- -_------
Static modulus of elasticity (E) for age _of__--__~-~-_--_
test indicated _----____-----p
,
1 day ---___-_--- -_- _- --_----_, 3 days 7 days 28 days
___--- 90 days
__YPW
__~---_.----~-
psi kg/cm2 psi kg/cm psi kg/cm psi kg/cm psi, kg/cm Poissons
Ratio
-6 -3
x 10 -6 -3 -6 -3 -6
x10 -3 x 10 - 6 x 10 -3
x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10 x 10
~-_.__--_.__---
-_----_L--_----_.~-___- --_-- - - - - - _,__---_
0.15
0.66 46.4 2.00 141 2.56 180 4.00 281 5.00 352 to
0.25
1
CONTROL OF CRACKING 224R-31

thus, creep as measured in compression is assumed


1
2.8
T o t a l Strain
to apply to tension as well. Such an assumption can
E=l481+00547~ (I+11 ---Icq
be considered as reasonable when the stress is low. 2.4
c =0.521+0 0 7 0 0 LOG. (1+1) -3Oayr
E =0384+0.0579 L O G . (1+1) -7Dg
When the stress exceeds about 60 percent of the ul- E =0.231+0.0500 Log (1+1) b -28asDays 30
2.0 E =0.209+0.0294 LOG. (1+1 ) -9OCOyS
timate and microcracking occurs, not only does the 1 Day E
instantaneous deformation increase, but the rate of Y
2
creep increases, also. However, since the measured 1 20 ;

strain in a beam which is gradually loaded from the 1.2

age of 1 month, to failure-at about 3 months, is only


about 10 percent more than that computed using
creep data as obtained from similar concrete in com-
pression, it appears permissible to apply com-
0
pression creep data to concrete stressed in tension
in cases where approximate results will suffice.
Creep of concrete is measured on carefully sealed I

specimens stored at a constant temperature and 0.6


loaded to a constant stress. The measurement is usu- 0.5
ally made by means of embedded strain meters, al- 0.4
though any reliable method of measuring strain can
be employed. Butyl rubber is satisfactory for sealing
the specimens, but neoprene should be avoided be-
cause it allows some moisture to escape. Specimens
should be loaded at the same ages as specified for
the modulus of elasticity tests, but loading at the Time,(t+l) Days

early age of 1 day is not always practical. Again, the Specific Creep Only

specimens should be large enough to permit concrete Fig. 7.2 - Typical concrete creep curves for mass
very nearly like that to be used in the structure. concrete.
Cylinders of 9 x 18 in. (28 x 56 cm) size and with 3
in. (76 mm) maximum sized aggregate or 6 x 16 in
(15 x 40 cm) cylinders with 11/2 in. (38 mm) maximum change is usually measured by strain meters
aggregate are frequently used. The symposium on embedded in concrete cylinders which are carefully
creep of concrete,7.1 gives useful coefficients for con- sealed (to insure that there is no loss in moisture) and
verting creep of smaller aggregate concrete to creep kept at constant temperature. Measurements are
for mass concrete. Fig. 7.2 shows typical creep data begun as soon as the specimens are hardened and
obtained from laboratory investigations.7.1 Table sealed, and continued periodically for months.
7.2 illustrates important computations that can be 7.5.6 Tensile strain capacity - The tensile strain ca-
made using the data in the Fig. 7.2. Shown in Table pacity tests are generally performed on unreinforced
7.2 are values for sustained modulus of elasticity E, concrete beams under third-point flexural loading.
which in turn are used to develop tensile stress Relatively large beams ranging from 12 x 12 in. (30
coefficients per degree temperature drop for the con- x 30 cm) to 24 x 24 in. (60 x 60 cm) in cross section
dition of full restraint. For example, concrete 2 days and 64 to 130 in. (160 to 325 cm) long are generally
of age loaded at age 1 day would have a sustained used.7.2 Strain capacity is determined from these
modulus of elasticity (E,) of l/1.5 = 0.66 psi x lo6 tests under rapid and slow loading to simulate both
(46.4 kg/cm2 x lo31 (see Fig. 7.2 and Table 7.2A), rapid and slow temperature changes in the concrete.
and if fully restrained would be stressed 0.66 x 5.5 The loading rates are generally 40 psi (0.28 MPa) fi-
psi per F = 3.6 psi/F (0.46 kg/cm2/C) for each degree ber stress per minute and 25 psi (0.17 MPa) fiber
drop in temperature (see Table 7.2B). stress per week for rapid and slow loading tests, re-
7.5.4 Modulus of elasticity - This subject is treated spectively. The strain for rapid loading can be mea-
in detail in ACI 304. Table 7.1 shows values of the sured using either surface or embedded strain gages
modulus of elasticity of a particular concrete after or meters.7.1, 7.7 For long-term tests, embedded me-
various ages of curing. ters are best. The strain can also be determined
from deflection measurements. The concrete test
7.5.5 Autogenous volume change - Autogenous beam used for determining the strain capacity
volume change7.7, 7.13 is the expansion or contraction should be protected during the test to prevent loss
of the concrete due to causes other than changes in of moisture by wrapping it with an impermeable ma-
temperature, moisture or stress. Thus, it is a self- terial. Testing should be conducted at a constant
induced expansion or contraction. Expansion can be temperature for maximum accuracy in measurement.
helpful in preventing cracks, but a contraction in- Detailed test procedures can be found in References
creases in tendency to crack. Autogenous volume 7.1 and 7.14 Fig. 7.3 shows the unit strain values
224R-32 ACI COMMITTEE REPORT

and using small ice particles as a replacement of


part of the mixing water. Post-cooling of concrete is
accomplished by circulating cool liquids (usually wa-
ter) through pipes embedded in the concrete.
Studies made during the design stage will estab-
lish such items as lift height, pipe spacing, water
temperature and rate of flow, acceptable rate of
temperature drop (for both rapid and slow drops),
and approximate duration of cooling.
In general, the duration of cooling and the heat re-
moved by the pipe cooling should be sufficient to in-
sure that a secondary internal temperature rise in
the mass does not exceed the primary rise. It is,
OF OUTER FIBERS I
BEAMSTRESS
however, important that steep cooling gradients,
Fig. 7.3 - Unit tensile strain versus beam stress which can result in cracking the mass, be avoided.
(References 7.1 and 7.7). This is particularly true in smaller masses where cir-
culation of cooling water should be stopped when the
versus beam stress at outer fibers for a typical labora- maximum temperature has been reached and just
tory investigation.7.1* 7.11 begins to drop. A vulnerable location in pipe cooling
In the preliminary studies of temperature and con- systems is centered at the cooling coils where sharp
struction control plans for mass concrete projects, gradients and cracking can be induced if termination
approximate methods for estimating tensile strain of cooling water circulation is not timely.
capacity under rapid and slow loadings given in Ref- Resistance thermometers should be used in suf-
erences 7.5 and 7.20 may be used. ficient numbers to permit adequate monitoring and
control of the internal concrete temperatures.
7.6 - Artificial cooling by embedded pipe systems Construction drawings should show basic pipe lay-
The overall program for cooling concrete, includ- out and spacing including minimum spacing, and the
ing important field control criteria, should be deter- layout at dam faces, transverse construction joints,
mined during the design stage. Precooling concrete interior openings and in sloping, partial, and isolated
prior to placement is accomplished by a variety of concrete lifts. A pipe layout for a typical concrete
methods, including cooling all ingredients of the mix lift is shown in Fig. 7.4.

TABLE 7.2 - Illustration of computation of sustained modulus


of elasticity (Es) and stress coefficients

A. Sustained modulus
Es at age of concrete at time of loading, days
1 day 3 days 7 days
2 2
Time after psi
-6
kg/cm psi
-6
kg /cm psi I
loading days x 10 - 10-3 x 10 x 10-3 x 10-6b t x 1 0 -3 x 10 -6 I x 10 -3
t t t-- ------

0.68 47.6 1.92 134 2.61 183 I 4.33 I 303


0.66 46.2 1.76 123 2.46 I 172 3.76 263
0.64 44.8 1.62 113 2.15 151 3.34 234
0.63 44.1 1.35 95 1.98 !1 139 I 2.99 I- 210
._~
(1) Sustained modulus of elasticity IE / values are based on data given in
Fig. 7.2

E,z ______ ______ ~._______-___.___


unit elastic strain/psi + Vz specific creep for time of loading

R. Tensile stress coefficients for condition of full restraint and decreasing temperature
Age of concrete at time of loading
1 day 3 days 7 days I
- --- -- -- -
lb/in./F kg/cm/C TGkg,em)C
m Ib/in./F 1 kglcmJ/C i lb/in.,,: i
~~g!~~/~
0 3.7 0.47 11.0 1.33 14 ; 1.81 24 I 3.00
1 3.6 0.46 9.7 1.22 14 i 1.70 21 2.60
3 3.5 0.45 8.9 , 1.12 12 I 1.50 / 18 I 2.31
7 3.5
I
0.44 7.4
j
0.94 I 11 1.38 16 ! 2.08
__
(2) Coefficient of lineal thermal expansion of concrete assumed to be 5.5 mil
lionths/F (9.9 millionths/C,
CONTROL OF CRACKING 224R-33

Multiply By To Obtain
8
s
W
4@2'-O" 3
w .
Inches
Feet
0 0254
0 3048
Meters
Meters
~_
8
W

PLAN ELEV. I I35


1" = 30'-0" +_FlDw 47
C O IL LIN FEET

r-- -&--- Elev. 1140

K-1 Elev 1135


Detail " B " Section A-A

Fig. 7.4 - Typical cooling coil layout (Reference 7.11).

Fig. 7.5 - Schematic of embedded pipe cooling embedment system in mass


concrete.

In most areas of the dam, a uniform spacing can galleries can extend from the downstream face of
be maintained for the cooling pipe, but isolated areas the dam or if a vertical riser must be used.
always exist in all dams which tend to result in a For ease of installation, the pipe used for post-
concentration of pipes. These concentrations tend to cooling should be thin wall tubing. Aluminum tubing
occur at the downstream face of the dam where in- is lightweight and easy to handle. However, break-
lets and outlets to cooling pipes are located, adjacent down from corrosion inducing elements of the con-
to openings in the dam, and at isolated and sloping crete is a potential problem for aluminum pipe if
lifts of concrete. Proper planning will alleviate many cooling activities must be carried on over a period of
of the undesirable conditions that can result from several months. In this case, steel tubing is pre-
these concentrations. For example, it must be deter- ferred.
mined to what extent the cost saving procedure of
concentrating cooling pipe inlets and outlets near Compression type couplings are used because thin
contraction joints can be permitted at the face of the wall tubing cannot be threaded satisfactorily.
dam. Also, it must be decided if cooling pipes to iso- Surface connections to the cooling pipe should be
lated areas in the foundation and at openings such as removable to a depth of 4 to 6 in. (102 to 152 mm) so
224R-34 ACI COMMITTEE REPORT

that holes can be reamed and dry packed when con- essary control prior to preparation of construction
nections are removed. controls and specifications cannot be over-
Forms should be designed and constructed so that emphasized.
shutdown of cooling activities is not necessary when 7.7.1 Safety
forms are raised. 7.7.1.1 Safety against crushing-concrete strength- A
strength should be specified which will provide an
Wire tiedowns embedded at the top of the con- adequate factor of safety against crushing of the con-
crete lift at about 10 ft (3 m) spacing satisfactorily crete. The nominal factor of safety is merely the
secure the pipe during concrete placing. compressive strength divided by the maximum
Coils must be pressure tested for leaks at the stress to be expected in the structure. However, nei-
maximum pressure they will receive from the cool- ther the strength nor the maximum stress can be ac-
ing system prior to placing concrete. Pressure must curately determined. The strength is usually derived
also be maintained during concrete placement to pre- from tests on cylindrical specimens which are not
vent crushing and permit early detection of damage, completely representative of the structure. The max-
should it occur. imum stress is usually taken as the design stress
After cooling is completed and the pipe is no which is based upon assumed concrete properties.
longer needed, it should be thoroughly flushed with For such reasons, it is considered good practice to
water at a high enough pressure to remove foreign use a safety factor as high as three or four, meaning
matter and grouted full with a grout mixture com- that the strength should be three or four times the
pensated for plastic shrinkage or settlement. The expected maximum stress. The 90-day strength is of-
grout should remain under pressure until final set is ten used and is derived from tests of job cylinders.
attained. Since the cylinders are made from wet screened con-
crete, the measured strength is corrected to a mass-
Fig. 7.5 shows the schematic layout of a typical concrete equivalent by applying a reduction factor of
pipe cooling system.
about 0.80 for typical conditions. For specific data on
Sight flow indicators should be installed at the end appropriate reduction factors, the reader should re-
of each embedded pipe coil to permit ready obser- fer to the U.S. Burau of Reclamation, Concrete Man-
vance of cooling water flow. In addition to regular ual, 8th Edition. 7.
observance of flows, water temperatures and pres- The factor of safety, as defined above, is subject
sures and concrete temperatures should be observed to a number of additional factors which, more or
and recorded at least once daily while the lift is less, balance one another. Since the average
being cooled. strength of the job cylinders is used, half of the
The refrigeration plant for cooling water may be tests will be weaker. The strength at 90 days is not
centrally located, or several smaller complete por- the ultimate strength. There can be a large gain af-
table plants may be used to permit moving the re- ter 90 days depending upon the composition of the
frigeration system as the dam progresses upward. cement. However, even a factor of safety of three
Sufficient standby components, equal in capacity to is far more than enough to cover any likely differ-
the largest individual refrigeration units should be ences between plus and minus corrections.
provided. For interior concrete, the lowest practical
strength should be specified so as to reduce the ce-
ment content. This, in turn, will reduce the heat of
7.7 - Summary - Basic considerations for construc- hydration and the consequent thermal stresses, thus
tion controls and specifications increasing the crack resistance of the concrete. More
The construction controls and specifications for than the necessary amount of cement is detrimental
mass concrete must be such that the structures will rather than advantageous.
be safe, economical, durable, and pleasing in appear-
ance. Each of these requirements in turn affects the 7.7.1.2 Safety against sliding- Sound, uncracked con-
crack resistance. Safety will be assured if the con- crete provides a very large factor of safety against
crete has sufficient strength and continuity (absence sliding. However, hardened horizontal lift joints may
of cracks). Economy will depend upon such features impair the safety. Therefore, the specifications
as the best choice of aggregates, adequate but not should require care in the preparation of lift surfaces
excessive temperature control, low cement content, and in the placement and compaction of concrete
etc. Durability will depend upon the quality of the thereon. Also, the lift surfaces should slope slightly
concrete, exposure conditions, and freedom from upward toward the downstream edge (in the case of
chemical reactions of a deteriorating nature. Pleas- a dam) such that the downstream edge is higher
ing appearance will come from good workmanship, than the upstream edge. It is not necessary to use a
freedom from cracks and stains, absence of leakage mortar layer on lift surfaces prior to the placement
and leaching, etc. The importance of a com- of the next lift.
prehensive materials test program to establish nec- 7.7.2 Economy - Many factors which affect the
CONTROL OF CRACKING 224R-35

economy also affect crack resistance. For example, mates, for example, there may be no deteriorating
the least expensive aggregate may have bad thermal influences acting on the concrete except that which
properties and thus require expensive temperature is subject to high-velocity water flow. For the main
control to prevent cracking. The aggregate which structure in such a case, any concrete which has the
makes concrete of highest tensile-strain capacity required strength can be expected to last in-
may increase the water requirement and, therefore, definitely, and the cement content should be kept
also the cement requirement, thus offsetting the low to minimize heat generation and resultant poten-
benefits of high strain capacity. Some of the factors tial cracking.
which affect economy are discussed below. Where the climate is severe, such that there is
7.7.2.1 Selection of aggregate- Aggregate should be much freezing and thawing in winter, the water-ce-
chosen that makes good concrete with the lowest ment ratio of surface concrete should be kept lower
overall cost. If natural aggregate near the site has than that necessary for strength alone. Air entrain-
unfavorable properties for crack prevention, crush- ment should be mandatory. For any concrete which
ing to increase crack resistance may be an economi- might be subject to both alternations of freezing and
cal expedient because of the consequent saving in water pressure, the water-cement ratio should be
temperature control. When crushing is either advan- less than 0.40 by weight. The effect of the rich
tageous or necessary, rock which has the most favor- boundary concrete on thermally induced cracking
able properties should be chosen. The rock should will be minimized by keeping the thickness of the
have a low coefficient of thermal expansion, a low boundary layer to a minimum, probably 2 ft (0.6 m)
modulus of elasticity, and it should produce particles or less.
of good shape and surface texture. All of these fac- 7.7.4 Control of cracking - A detailed discussion of
tors are important in increasing the resistance of the the control of cracking in massive structures has
concrete to cracking. been presented in this chapter. With proper plan-
7.7.2.2 Aggregate size- The largest maximum size of ning and execution, the procedures presented will
aggregate, up to approximately 6 in. (150 mm) in di- serve as useful tools in developing a crack control
ameter, should be specified as can be placed prop- program for mass concrete structures.
erly in the structure, except for concrete which must
resist high-velocity water flow. Larger aggregate References
permits the use of less water and cement per cubic 7.1. Houk, Ivan E., Jr.; Paxton, James A.; and Hough-
yard, resulting in savings in both the amount of ce- ton, Donald L., Prediction of Thermal Stress and Strain
Capacity of Concrete by Tests on Small Beams, ACI
ment and the amount of temperature control neces-
J O U R N A L , Proceedings V. 67, No. 3, Mar. 1970, p p .
sary for required crack resistance. 253-261.
7.7.2.3 Water content. A reduction in the water con- 7.2. Houghton, Donald L., Determining Tensile Strain
tent of concrete permits a corresponding reduction Capacity of Mass Concrete, ACI JO U R N A L, Proceedings V .
in the cement content. The concrete with less water 73, No. 12, Dec. 1976, pp. 691-700.
and cement is superior in many ways: it undergoes 7.3. Wilson, E. L., The Determination of Temperatures
less temperature change, less drying shrinkage, and within Mass Concrete Structures, Report No. 68-17,
Structural Engineering Laboratory, University of
as a result is more durable and crack resistant. As
California, Berkeley, Dec. 1968.
indicated in Section 7.4, minimum water content can 7.4. Polivka, R. M., and Wilson, E. L., Finite Element
be achieved by specifying adequately powerful vibra- Analysis of Nonlinear Heat Transfer Problems, Report
tors which permit the use of low slump concrete, by No. UC SESM 76-2, Department of Civil Engineering,
using a water-reducing agent when appropriate, and University of California, Berkeley, June 1976.
by producing and placing the concrete at low tem- 7.5. Sandhu, R. S.; Wilson, E. L.; and Raphael, J. M.,
perature. Two-Dimensional Stress Analysis with Incremental
Construction and Creep, Report No. 67-34, Structural
7.7.2.4 Use of pozzolan. In most locations, good poz-
Engineering Laboratory, University of California,
zolans such as fly ash are available, and they can be
Berkeley, Dec. 1967.
used to replace a portion of the cement. This can re- 7.6 Liu, Tony C.; Campbell, R. L.; and Bombich, A. A.,
sult in a considerable saving in cost, and possibly Verification of Temperature and Thermal Stress
more important, it can reduce the heat generation Analysis Computer Programs for Mass Concrete
and improve the resistance against cracking. An- Structures, Miscellaneous Paper No. SL-79-7, U.S. Army
other advantage of using pozzolan is that when used Engineer Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg,
in adequate amounts, it reduces the expansion due Apr. 1979.
to reactive aggregates when such are encountered. 7.7. Houghton, Donald L., Concrete Volume Change
The appropriate amount of pozzolan for a reactive for Dworshak Dam, Proceedings, ASCE, V. 95, P02, Oct.
aggregate should be based upon test data obtained 1969, pp. 153-166.
7.8. Method of Test for Thermal Diffusivity of Mass
with the pozzolan and cement being used.
Concrete, (CRD-C 37-73), Handbook for Concrete and
7.7.3 Durability - Durability of concrete is closely Cement, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg, Dec.
related to the exposure conditions. In tropical cli- 1973, 3 pp.
224R-36 ACI COMMITTEE REPORT

7.9. Method of Test for Coefficient of Linear Thermal early age but which might be sustained at greater
Expansion of Concrete, (CRD-C 39-55), Handbook for maturity. Preferably, concrete should have a high
Concrete and Cement, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, tensile strain-to-failure capacity. This is influenced
Vicksburg, 1939, 2 pp. greatly by the aggregate, and a low modulus of
7.10. Method of Test for Coefficient of Linear Thermal elasticity in tension is desirable.
Expansion of Coarse Aggregate, Strain Gage Method,
(CRD-C 125-63), Handbook for Concrete and Cement, U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg, June 1963, 5 pp.
8.2 - Restraint
7.11. Symposium on Creep of Concrete, SP-9, American Restraint exists in many circumstances under
Concrete Institute, Detroit, 1964, 160 pp. which the structure and its concrete elements must
7.12. McCoy, E. E., Jr.; Thorton, H. T.; and Allgood, perform. Typical examples will illustrate how re-
J. K., Concrete Laboratory Studies, Dworshak (Bruces straint will cause cracking, if the concrete is not
Eddy) Dam, North Fork Clearwater River Near Orofino, strong enough to withstand the tensile stresses de-
Idaho: Creek Tests, Miscellaneous Paper No. 6-613, veloped.
Report 2, U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment 8.2.1 - A wall or parapet anchored along its base to
Station, Vicksburg, Dec. 1964. the foundation or to lower structural elements less
7.13. Houk, Ivan E., Jr.; Borge, Orville E.; and
subject or responsive to volume change, will be re-
Houghton, Donald, Studies of Autogenous Volume
Change in Concrete for Dworshak Dam, ACI JOURNAL ,
strained from shrinking when its upper portions
Proceedings V. 66, No. 7, July 1969, pp. 560-568. shorten due to drying or cooling. Cracking is usually
7.14. McDonald, J. E.; Bombich, A. A.; and Sullivan, inevitable unless contraction joints (or at least
B. R., Ultimate Strain Capacity and Temperature Rise grooves of a depth not less than 10% of the wall
Studies, Trumbull Pond Dam, Miscellaneous Paper thickness on both sides, in which the cracks will oc-
C-72-20, U.S. Army Engineer Waterways Experiment cur and be hidden) are provided at intervals ranging
Station, Vicksburg, Aug. 1972. from one (for high walls) to three (for low walls)
7.15. Liu, Tony C., and McDonald, James E., times the height of the wall.
Prediction of Tensile Strain Capacity of Mass Concrete,
ACI JOURNAL , Proceedings V. 75, No. 5, May 1978, pp. 8.2.2 - Exterior and interior concrete, particularly
192-197. in heavier sections, will change temperature or mois-
7.16. Concrete Manual, 8th Edition, U.S. Bureau of ture content at different rates and to different de-
Reclamation, Denver, 1975, 627 pp. grees. When this happens, the interior concrete re-
strains the exterior concrete from shrinking, and
tensile strains develop which may cause the exterior
to crack. This occurs when the surface cools, while
the interior is still warm from the heat of hydration,
Chapter 8 - Control of cracking by correct or when the surface concrete dries faster than the
construction practices* interior concrete. As noted earlier, it is often fea-
8.1 - Introduction sible to protect the surface for a time at early ages
Construction practices, as used in this chapter, in- so that such stress-inducing differentials cannot de-
clude designs, specifications, materials, and mix con- velop before the concrete is strong enough to with-
siderations, as well as on-the-job construction perfor- stand the strain without cracking.
mance. Before discussing control of construction 8.2.3 - Acting similarly to the interior concrete in
practices which affect cracking, it is worthwhile to the foregoing example, temperature reinforcement
mention the basic cause of cracking. It is restraint. can restrain the shrinkage of surface concrete, but
If all parts of the concrete in a concrete structure more and narrower cracks may result.
are free to move as concrete expands or contracts, 8.2.4 - Restraint will occur at sharp changes in sec-
particularly the latter, there will be no cracking due
tion, since the effect of temperature change or
to volume change. drying shrinkage will be different in the two sec-
Obviously, however, all parts of concrete struc- tions. If feasible, a contraction joint can be used to
tures are not free, and inherently, cannot be free to relieve the restraint.
respond to the same degree to volume changes. Con-
sequently, differential strains develop and tensile 8.2.5 - Restraint of flat work results from anchor-
stresses are induced. When these differential re- age of slab reinforcement in perimeter slabs or foot-
sponses exceed the capability of the concrete to ings. When a slab is free to shrink from all sides to-
withstand them at that time, cracking occurs. This ward its center, there is a minimum of cracking.
points to the importance of protecting new concrete Contraction joints and perimeter supports should be
for as long as practicable from the loss of moisture designed accordingly (see Section 3.5.3).
or a drop in temperature. These considerations may 8.2.6 - Wall, slabs, and tunnel linings placed against
result in stresses capable of causing cracks at an the irregular surface of a rock excavation are re-
strained from moving when the surface expands or
*Principal author: Lewis H. Tuthill. contracts in response to changes in temperature or
CONTROL OF CRACKING 224R-37

moisture content. As discussed in Section 8.2.1, not cement content. Moreover, the reduction of the
closely spaced contraction joints or deep grooves amount of fine aggregate to compensate for the
must be provided to prevent or hide the cracks added cement, in accordance with correct principles
which often disfigure such surfaces. In tunnel lin- of concrete proportioning, will offset any tendency to
ings, the shrinkage in the first few weeks is primar- increase the water requirement.
ily thermal, and the use of cold concrete (50 F or 8.3.2 Surface drying - Surface drying will ulti-
10 C) has reduced cracking materially. By the time mately occur except when the surface is submerged
drying is significant, the concrete lining is much or backfilled. It will cause shrinkage strains of up to
stronger and better able to resist shrinkage crack- 600 millionths or more. The amount of shrinkage
ing. However, circumferential cracks in tunnel lin- cracking depends on 1. how dry the surface concrete
ings and other cast-in-place concrete conduits and becomes, 2. how much mixing water was in the con-
pipe lines can be greatly reduced in number and crete, 3. the character and degree of restraint in-
width. As shown in the Bureau of Reclamation Con- volved, and 4. the extensibility of the concrete. The
crete Manual,8.1 this can be done if a bulkhead is extensibility represents how much the concrete can
used to prevent air movement through the tunnel, be strained (stretched), without exceeding its tensile
and shallow ponds of water are placed in the invert strength and is the sum of creep plus elastic strain
as soon as possible after lining, and left until the capacity. The latter is largely related to the composi-
tunnel goes into service. If the tunnel carries water, tion of the aggregate and may vary widely. Typi-
there will be no further drying shrinkage. If it does cally, some concretes of highly quartzitic gravels
not, the concrete will have become much stronger in have a low strain capacity and a high modulus of
the humid environment and will be better able to re- elasticity, while some concretes of granitic and
sist shrinkage-induced tensile stresses. gneissic aggregate have a high strain capacity and a
8.2.7 - The typical examples presented above low modulus of elasticity. Concretes having a low
clearly indicate that many crack control procedures strain capacity are much more sensitive to shrinkage
must be considered by the engineer during design. due to drying (and to drop in temperature) and will
While proper construction performance can contrib- be subject to a greater amount of cracking.
ute a great deal (as will be discussed below), the con-
tractor cannot be expected to utilize the best pro- Accordingly, as mentioned in connection with tun-
cedures, unless these procedures are included in the nel linings and conduits, a prime objective of crack
designs and specifications on which the bid price is control procedures is to keep the concrete wet as
based. long as feasible, so that it will have time to develop
more strength to resist cracking forces. The impor-
tance of this will vary with the weather and the
8.3 - Shrinkage time of year. Cold concrete (below 50 F, 10 C) dries
The following sections discuss the major causes of very slowly, provided the relative humidity is above
shrinkage, which is a key contributor to the forma-
40 percent. At some depth, concrete loses moisture
tion of cracks in concrete.
slowly, as shown in Fig. 3.5. Where surface drying
8.3.1 Effect of water content - The greater the wa- may be rapid, more care must be devoted to uninter-
ter content of concrete, the more it will shrink on
rupted curing to get good surface strength. Cracking
drying. Such a hypothesis is clearly indicated in Fig.
stresses will be further reduced by creep, if the sur-
3.2, as well as in Reference 8.1. The use of the low-
face is prevented from drying quickly at the end of
est practical slump is important. Of major impor- the curing period. To accomplish this, the wet curing
tance is the selection of mix proportions that require
cover can be allowed to remain several days without
the least amount of water per cubic yard for the de-
wetting after the specified curing period (preferably
sired concrete strength. This means avoiding over-
7 to 10 days), until the cover and the concrete under
sanded mixes (the richer the concrete, the coarser
it appear to be dry. If job conditions are likely to be
the sand should be and the less there should be of it
such that these measures will be worthwhile, they
in the mix); using the largest maximum aggregate
should be required in the specifications for the work.
size practical; using aggregate with the most favor-
able shape and grading conducive to best work- 8.3.3 Plastic shrinkage - Plastic shrinkage cracks
ability; and using well-graded sand with a minimum occur most commonly, and objectionably, in the sur-
of fines passing the l00-mesh and free of clay, such faces of floors and slabs when the ambient job condi-
that its sand equivalent value is not less than 80 tions are so arid that moisture is removed from the
percent AASHTO T176. concrete surface faster than it is replaced by bleed
Contrary to common belief, increasing the cement water from below. These cracks occur prior to final
content of concrete, per se, does not necessarily finishing and commencement of the curing process.
cause an increase in shrinkage. This is because the As the moisture is removed, the surface concrete
water requirement of concrete does not change contracts, resulting in tensile stresses in the essen-
much with a change in cement content. Drying tially strengthless, stiffening plastic concrete, that
shrinkage is proportional to water content (Fig. 3.2), cause short random cracks or openings in the sur-
224R-38 ACI COMMITTEE REPORT

face. These cracks are usually rather wide at the In ordinary concrete work, the winter protection
surface but only a few inches in depth. The cracks required for the development of adequate strength
generally range from a few inches to a few feet in will prevent the most critical effects of cooling. The
length and are a few inches to two feet apart. system of contraction joints and grooves previously
discussed for control of shrinkage cracking will serve
Sometimes plastic shrinkage cracks appear early
enough to be worked out in later floating or first the same purpose against substantial later drops in
trowelling operations. When this is successful, it is surface temperature. In addition to Chapter 7 of
this report, Chapters 4 and 5 of ACI 207.1R discuss
advisable to postpone these operations as long as
temperature controls for mass concrete to minimize
possible to get their maximum benefit without the
the early temperature differences between interior
recurrence of cracking.
and exterior concrete. Primarily, these controls
In other cases, an earlier than normal floating may lower the interior temperature rise caused by the
destroy the growing tension by reworking the sur- heat of hydration by using 1. no more cement than
face mortar and prevent plastic cracking that would necessary, 2. pozzolans for a portion of the cement, 3.
otherwise occur. At the first appearance of cracking water reducing admixtures, 4. air-entrainment, 5.
while the concrete is still responsive, a vigorous ef- large aggregate, 6. low slump, and 7. last but by no
fort should be made to close the cracks by tamping means least, where at all practicable, chipped ice for
or beating with a float. If firmly closed, they will be mixing water to reduce the temperature of the fresh
monolithic and are unlikely to reappear. However, concrete as much as possible. See Fig. 3.4 and Fig.
they may reappear if they are merely trowelled 3.1 of ACI 207.2R. At no time should forms be
over. In any event, curing should be started at the removed to expose warm surfaces to low tempera-
earliest possible time. tures. As mentioned in Section 8.3.2, the extensibil-
ity, or strain the concrete will withstand before
Conditions most likely to cause plastic shrinkage
cracking are high temperatures and dry winds. Ac- tensile failure, is a function of the aggregate and
should be evaluated, especially on larger projects.
cordingly, specifications should stipulate that effec-
tive moisture control precautions should be taken to What applies to one will not necessarily apply to
prevent a serious loss of surface moisture under another.
such conditions. Principal among these precautions 8.4 - Settlement
are the use of fog (not spray) nozzles to maintain a Settlement or subsidence cracks develop while
sheen of moisture on the surface between the finish- concrete is in the plastic stage, after the initial vi-
ing operations. Plastic sheeting can be rolled on and bration. They are not due to any of the causes dis-
off before and after floating, preferably exposing cussed above, but are the natural result of heavy
only the area being worked on at that time. Least solids settling in a liquid medium. Settlement cracks
effective but helpful are certain sprayed mono- occur opposite rigidly supported horizontal re-
molecular films which inhibit evaporation. Wind- inforcement, form bolts or other embedments. Some-
breaks are desirable, and as such, it is desirable to times concrete will tend to adhere to the forms. A
schedule flatwork after the walls are up (ACI 305R, check will appear at these locations, if the forms are
ACI 302.1R). hot at the top or are partially absorbent. Cracks of-
ten appear in horizontal construction joints and in
Other helpful practices that may augment the bridge deck slabs over reinforcing or form bolts with
bleeding and counteract the excessive loss of surface only a few inches cover. The cracks in bridge decks
moisture, are 1. using a well dampened sub-grade, 2. can be reduced by increasing the concrete cover.8.2
cooling the aggregates by dampening and shading Properly executed late revibration can be used to
them, and 3. using cold mixing water or chipped ice close settlement cracks and improve the quality and
as mixing water to lower the temperature of the appearance of the concrete in the upper portion of
fresh concrete. such placements, even though settlement has taken
8.3.4 Surface cooling - Surface cooling will shrink place and slump has been lost.
the surface of average unrestrained concrete about
10 millionths for each deg C (5.5 millionths per deg 8.5 - Construction
F) the temperature goes down. This amounts to 9 A great deal can be done during construction to
mm in a 30 m length with a drop of 30 C (l/3 in. in minimize cracking, or in many cases to eliminate it.
100 ft with a drop of 50 F). The amount of shrinkage But, as noted in Section 8.2.7, such actions must be
is reduced by restraint and creep, but tensile required by the specifications and by the engineer-
stresses are induced. The earlier the age and the ing forces which administer them. Such actions
slower the rate at which cooling or drying occur, the include the following:
lower the tensile stresses will be. This is due to the 8.5.1 Concrete aggregates - The aggregate should
relaxing influence of creep, which imparts more ex- be one which makes concrete of high strain capacity,
tensibility to concrete at early ages. if reasonably available (see Section 7.2). Fine and
CONTROL OF CRACKING 224R-39

coarse aggregates have to be clean and free of un- ated that it starts setting before settlement takes
necessary fine material, particularly clays. The sand place. Another is composed of organic gelling com-
should have a sand equivalent value in excess of 80 pounds of soluble cellulose which increase in viscosity
percent, and this should be verified frequently so that the solid particles remain in suspension. Still
(AASHTO T176). The sand should have sufficient another contains a form of carbon with a very large
time in storage for the moisture content to stabilize surface area. In the dry form, it contains a large
at a level of less than 7 percent on an oven-dry basis. amount of adsorbed air, which is released gradually
8.5.2 Expansive cement - Expansive cement can be into the mix producing an expansion.
used to delay shrinkage during the setting of con-
Gas forming agents and air releasing agents pro-
crete in restrained elements reinforced with the min-
duce the same net effect, although all grouts, mortars
imum shrinkage steel required by ACI 318. T h e
and concretes employing these agents have no ex-
principal property of these cements is that the
pansive properties after hardening, and have a
expansion induced in the concrete while setting and
drying shrinkage at least equal to similar plain
hardening is designed to offset the normal drying
grouts, mortars and concretes not employing them.
shrinkage. With correct usage (particularly with
Grouts which expand (if unconfined) after hardening
early and ample water curing on which maximum
can function as nonshrink grouts, as opposed to
expansion depends), the distance between joints can
grouts that expand only in the plastic state and later
sometimes be tripled without increasing the level of
suffer drying shrinkage.
shrinkage cracking. Details on the types and correct
usage of shrinkage compensating cements are given Among the commercial admixtures, there is one
in ACI 223-83. containing a metallic aggregate which, in addition to
8.5.3 Non-shrink grout, mortar, or concrete - Ordin- opposing settlement during hardening, provides a
arily, the solids in grout, mortar, and concrete modest expansion after hardening. This acts to hold
mixtures will settle before hardening, and water will the grout tightly up under base plates, etc., and also
rise, some of it to the top surface. This settlement tends to offset the effect of drying shrinkage.
can be objectionable if a space is to be filled up Where feasible, the problem of settlement can be
tightly without leaving a void at the top, such as un- solved by the use of dry tamped mortar, instead of
der machine bases. Measures taken to prevent such a fluid grout or mortar. Grout mixed in a colloid mill
subsidence have produced what is known in the will not readily settle.
trade as Non-shrink grout, mortar, or concrete. It should be noted that prepackaged Non-shrink
Some of the materials merely prevent settlement; grouts, like any portland cement grouts and mor-
others in addition, provide a slight expansion as the tars, are subject to shrinkage if exposed to drying
mixture hardens. and may deteriorate and lose serviceability if ex-
posed to an aggressive environment (weathering,
The most widely used materials contain unpolished
salt spray, etc.).
aluminum powder. These should contain no stearates,
palmitates, or fatty acids. In an alkaline solution, such 8.5.4 Handling and batching - Should be done with
as exists in portland cement mixtures, the aluminum all practical care to avoid contamination, overlap of
reacts to form aluminum oxide and hydrogen. The sizes, segregation, and breakage, s o t h a t e x t r a
hydrogen gas tends to expand the mixture and thus amounts of fines are not needed in the mixes to ac-
prevents subsidence and may even cause expansion. count for variations in grading without a serious loss
The amount of aluminum powder used varies widely of workability. This is best done by finish screening
with conditions, but is usually in the neighborhood of and rinsing as a combination of coarse aggregate
0.005 to 0.01 percent by weight of the cement. It is sizes goes to the batch plant bins. Every effort
not possible to specify an exact percentage because should be made to uniformly batch and mix the con-
the amount to be used varies with such factors as crete so that there will be a minimum of trouble-
temperature, alkali content of the cement, and the some variation in slump and workability. These, in-
richness of the mix. Therefore, it is advisable to make variably, lead to demands for a greater margin of
trial mixes with various percentages of aluminum workability, with more sand and more water in the
powder to find which percentage gives the desired concrete.
(slight) expansion under the prevailing conditions. 8.5.5 Excessive workability - Whether it is achieved
The amount of aluminum powder used is so small that with unneeded higher slump, oversanding,
it is advisable to dilute it by blending with 50 parts small aggregate, or even higher air content (which
of sand or fly ash. This diluted mixture will have may reduce strength), is always popular and in de-
enough bulk so that it can be easily measured and mand on the job. It must be discouraged if the best
properly dispersed in the mix. concrete for the work (having adequate workability
Among the admixtures that merely prevent settle- with proper handling and vibration, and having min-
ment, a number of different mechanisms are in op- imum shrinkage factors) is to be obtained.
eration. One commercial grout is so highly acceler- 8.5.6 Cold concrete - Cold concrete, when com-
224R-40 ACI COMMITTEE REPORT

bined with factors to reduce water and cement 2. Concrete should not be placed against hot re-
content to a practical minimum will reduce temper- inforcement or forms.
ature differentials which cause cracking. Cold con- 3. Formwork support should be strong enough to
crete is particularly useful for massive concretes. It be free of early failures and distortion causing crack-
requires less mixing water and thus reduces drying ing.
shrinkage. In warm weather it expedites the work 4. Subgrade and other supports must not settle
by reducing slump loss, increasing pumpability, and unevenly, to prevent cracks due to overstress in the
by improving the response to vibration. It is ob- structure.
tained by substituting chipped ice for all or a part of 5. Contact between aluminum and steel embedded
the batched mixing water. In cold weather, concrete in the concrete must be eliminated, particularly if
is naturally cold and every effort should be made to use of calcium chloride is permitted. If it is used, cal-
use it as cold as possible without inviting damage cium chloride must be limited to the absolute min-
from freezing. It is pointless to expect to protect imum (see Section 3.4.4).
surfaces, edges, and corners by placing needlessly 6. Special care is needed in handling precast units
warm concrete in cold weather. These vulnerable to prevent overstress due to handling.
parts must be protected with insulation or protective 7. Unvented salamanders in cold weather (ACI
enclosures (ACI 306R). 306R) or gasoline operated equipment must be
8.5.7 Revibration - When done as late as the avoided where adequate ventilation is not
formed concrete will respond to the vibrator, will furnished, because of the danger of carbonation
eliminate cracks and checks where something rigidly shrinkage surface cracking.
fixed in the placement prevents a part of the con- 8. Control joints, discussed in Sections 3.5.3 and
crete from settling with the rest of it. Settlement 8.2.6, must not be omitted and grooves must be of
cracks are most apparent in the upper part of wall the specified depth and well within the maximum
and column placements where revibration can be permitted spacing.
readily used. Deep revibration corrects cracks 9. In addition to cleanliness of aggregate, stipu-
caused by differential settlement around blockout lated in Section 8.3.1, any reactive elements of
and window forms, and where slabs and walls are aggregate should be neutralized through the use of
placed monolithically. low alkali cement or a suitable pozzolan, or prefer-
8.5.8 Finishing - Flatwork finishing can make a ably both. Certain cherts and other expansive ag-
great difference in the degree of freedom from all gregates and lignite can cause cracks at popouts. Job
types of cracking (ACI 302.1R). Low-slump concrete specifications should cover these aggregate proper-
should be used. More than a 3 in. (76 mm) slump is ties and constructors should ensure observance of
rarely necessary except perhaps in very hot weather these requirements.
in which both slump and moisture are lost quite 10. Correct amounts of entrained air should be
rapidly. Finishing should not be done in the specified and used to prevent cracking due to freez-
presence of surface water. Precautions (see Section ing and thawing and exposure to calcium or sodium
8.3.4) should be taken to prevent plastic shrinkage. chloride.
Any required marking and grooving should be
carefully cut to the full depth specified. Curing
should be prompt, of full duration, and the wet cover 8.6 - Specifications to minimize drying shrinkage
Actions during construction to obtain the lowest
should be allowed to dry before it is removed.
8.5.9 Curing and protection - Newly placed con- possible drying shrinkage must be supported by the
crete must be brought to a level of strength maturity specifications. Unless bids are taken on this basis,
the contractor cannot be expected to provide other
and protected from low temperatures and drying
conditions which would otherwise cause cracking. than ordinary materials, mixes, and procedures. The
following items should be carefully spelled out in the
The curing and protection should not be discontin-
ued abruptly. If the new concrete is given a few days specifications.
to gradually dry or cool, creep will have an opportu- 8.6.1 Concrete materials - They can have an impor-
nity to reduce the possibility of cracking when the tant influence on drying shrinkage.
curing and protection are fully discontinued. 1. Cement should be Types I, II, V, or IS, prefera-
8.5.10 Miscellaneous - Some items normally cov- bly not Type III.
ered in specifications (or certainly which should be 2. Aggregates favorable to low mixing water con-
covered where appropriate) require special attention tent are (a) well graded, (b) well shaped (not elon-
during construction because of their potential effects gated, flat, or splintery), and (c) free of clay, dirt,
on cracking. and excess fines.
1. Reinforcement and embedments must be prop- 3. Aggregate should consist of rock types which
erly positioned with the designated thickness of will produce low-shrinkage concrete (see Section
cover in order to prevent corrosion, expansion and 3.4.2).
cracking. 4. Calcium chloride should be prohibited.
CONTROL OF CRACKING 224R-41

8.6.2 Concrete mixes - For least shrinkage, the mix avoided. Providing time for adjustment and gradual,
proportioning should incorporate those factors that slow elongation will minimize cracking.
contribute to the lowest water content. This means: Water curing should use a wet cover in contact
1. The largest practical maximum size of aggre- with the concrete surfaces. At the end of the wet
gate (MSA). curing period, preferably at least 7 days, the cover
2. The lowest practical sand content. should be left in place until it and the concrete sur-
3. The lowest practical slump. face appear to be dry, especially in arid weather.
4. The lowest practical temperature.
5. Less than half the smooth grading curve In less arid areas and for interiors, the forms will
amount of small coarse aggregate, No. 4 to 3/8 or provide adequate curing if exposed surfaces are pro-
3/4 in. (4.75 mm to 9.5 or 19 mm), especially if it is tected from drying and provided they can be left in
crushed material. contact with the concrete for at least 7 days. There-
after, the forms should be left on with loosened bolts
8.6.3 Concrete handling and placing - Equipment long enough to allow the concrete surfaces to dry
(chutes, belts, conveyors, pumps, hoppers, and gradually.
bucket openings) should be capable of working effec-
tively with lower slump, larger MSA concrete wher- Ponding is not a desirable method of curing in an
ever it is appropriate and feasible to use. (It is cau- arid climate because of the quick drying that occurs
tioned that too often, in order to expedite pumping, when it is discontinued.
the actions taken are those which increase drying Because drying is slow and prolonged, a properly
shrinkage and resultant cracking: more sand, more applied sealing compound provides good curing for
fines, more water, more slump, smaller aggregate. flatwork placed on a well-wetted subgrade and pro-
When pumping is to be permitted and freedom from vides adequate curing for massive sections. In an
shrinkage cracking is important, special emphasis arid climate, sealing compounds are not adequate for
must be placed on obtaining effective locations and thinner structural sections. When used on formed
an adequate number of contraction joints. Moreover, surfaces, they should be applied when the thor-
the use of pumping equipment capable of handling oughly wetted surface is still damp but no longer
mixes favorable to least cracking should be re- wet.
quired.)
8.7 - Conclusion
Vibrators should be the largest and most powerful As noted early in this chapter, it is the responsi-
that can be operated in the placement. bility of the engineer to develop effective designs and
Upper lifts of formed concrete should be re- clear and specific specifications. To assure both the
vibrated as late as the running vibrator will pene- owners and the engineers satisfaction with the re-
trate under its own weight. sults, the engineer should have the owner arrange for
inspection by either the owners personnel, the en-
8.6.4 Finishing - Finishing should follow the gineer, or a reliable professional inspection service
recommendations of ACI 302.1R to minimize or who will insure that the construction is performed on
avoid all forms of surface cracking. the same basis as it was bid. Without the full and
It is particularly important that flatwork joint firm intent to confirm the specified character and de-
grooves have a depth of at least l/5 of slab thick- gree of performance, there is a serious chance that
ness, but not less than 1 in. (25.4 mm) deep. undesirable results will be obtained. Without firm in-
spection and controls, and a clear understanding of
8.6.5 Forms -Forms should have ample strength to the job requirements by the contractor, it is likely
sustain strong vibration of low slump concretes.
that concrete will contain more water than it should,
Exposure of warm concrete surfaces to fast drying
finishing operations will be expedited with the water
conditions or to low temperatures prior to curing,
brush (or hose), and curing will be interrupted or ab-
should be avoided during form removal, if drying
breviated (not to mention other less obvious items
and thermal shrinkage cracking is to be prevented.
which influence the later appearance of unsightly
8.6.6 Contraction joints - Plans should include an cracks). When properly applied, the procedures dis-
adequate system of contraction joints to provide for cussed in this chapter can be used to produce a high
shrinkage. Formed grooves should be constructed in quality concrete with the least probable amount of
both sides of parapet, retaining, and other walls at cracking.
the depth and spacing indicated in Sec. 8.2.1.
8.6.7 Curing and protection - These procedures References
should insure the presence of adequate moisture to 8.1. Concrete M a n u a l 8th Edition, U.S. Bureau of
sustain hydration and strength development in the Reclamation, Denver, 1975, 627 pp.
surface concrete. Rapid drying of the surfaces at the 8.2. Dakhil, Fadh H.; Cady, Philip D.; and Carrier,
conclusion of the specified curing period should be Roger, E., Cracking in Fresh Concrete as Related to
224R-42 ACI COMMITTEE REPORT

Reinforcement, ACI JOURNAL, Proceedings V. 72, No. 517.2R Accelerated Curing of Concrete at Atmo-
8, Aug. 1975, pp. 421-428. spheric Pressure - State of the Art
544.3R Guide for Specifying, Mixing, Placing
and Finishing Steel Fiber Reinforced
Concrete
Chapter 9 - References
9.1- Recommended references ASTM
The documents of the various standards producing C 512 Test Method for Creep of Concrete in
organizations referred to in this document are listed Compression
below with their serial designation. E 399 Test Method for Plane-Strain Fracture
Toughness of Metallic Materials
American Association of State Highway and Transporta-
Cornit Euro-International du B&ton and F&i&&m Inter-
tion Officials
nationale de la Prkcontrainte
T176 Plastic Fines in Graded Aggregate and CEB-FIP Model Code for Concrete Structures
Soils By Use of the Sand Equivalent Test
The above publications may be obtained from the fol-
American Concrete Institute lowing organizations:
201.2R Guide to Durable Concrete
207.1R Mass Concrete American Association of State Highway and Transporta-
207.2R Effect of Restraint, Volume Change, and tion Officials
Reinforcement on Cracking of Massive 444 North Capital St., N.W.
Concrete Suite 225
211.1 Standard Practice for Selecting Propor- Washington, DC 20001
tions for Normal, Heavyweight, and
Mass Concrete American Concrete Institute
212.1R/ Admixtures for Concrete P.O. Box 19150
212.2R and Guide for Use of Admixtures in Con- Detroit, MI 48219
crete
223 Standard Practice for the Use of Shrink- ASTM
age-compensating Concrete 1916 Race Street
302.1R Guide for Concrete Floor and Slab Con- Philadelphia, PA 19103
struction
304R Guide for Measuring, Mixing, Transpor- Cornit Euro-International du B&on and Federation In-
tating, and Placing Concrete ternationale de la Precontrainte - English edition avail-
305R Hot Weather Concreting able from:
306R Cold Weather Concreting British Cement Association
308 Standard Practice for Curing Concrete Wexham Springs
313 Recommended Practice for Design and Slough SL# 6PL
Construction of Concrete Bins, Silos, ENGLAND
and Bunkers for Storing Granular Ma-
terials
318 Building Code Requirements for Rein- 9.2 - Cited references
forced Concrete Cited references are provided at the end of each chapter.
340.lR Design Handbook in Accordance with the
Strength Design Method of ACI 318-83,
Volume 1 - Beams, Slabs, Brackets,
Footings, and Pile Caps (SP-17) This report was submitted to letter ballot of the committee which
347.1R Precast Concrete Units Used as Forms consists of 24 members; 21 were affirmative, 2 were not returned,
for Cast-in-Place Concrete and 1 abstained. It has been processed in accordance with the
504R Guide to Joint Sealants for Concrete Institute procedure and is approved for publication and discus-
Structures sion.
CONTROL OF CRACKING 224R-43

ACI Committee 224


Cracking

David Darwin Bernard L. Meyers


Chairman Past Chairman

R. S. Barneyback, Jr. Donald L. Houghton Robert E. Philleo


Eduardo Santos Basilio Paul H. Kaar Milos Polivka
Alfred G. Bishara Tony C. Liu Julius G. Potyondy
Roy W. Carlson J. P. Lloyd Robert E. Price
Noel J. Everard LeRoy Lutz Ernest K. Schrader
J. Ferry-Borges V. M. Malhotra Lewis H. Tuthill
Peter Gergely Dan Naus Robert L. Yuan
Edward G. Nawy

The committee voting on the 1990 revisions was as follows:

Grant T. Halvorsen* Randall W. Poston


Chairman Secretary

Florian G. Barth Will Hansen Ernest K. Schrader


Alfred G. Bishara Tony C. Liu Wimal Suaris
Howard L. Boggs Edward G. Nawy Lewis H. Tuthill*
Merle E. Brander John D. Nicholas Thomas D. Verti
David Darwin* Harry Palmbaum Zenon Zielinski
Fouad H. Fouad* Arnfinn Rusten
Peter Gergely Andrew Scanlon

*Members contributing to these revisions.