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Practical Issues for the Application of High-


Performance Concrete to Highway Structures

Article in Journal of Bridge Engineering December 2001


DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)1084-0702(2001)6:6(613)

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PRACTICAL ISSUES FOR THE APPLICATION OF HIGH-PERFORMANCE
CONCRETE TO HIGHWAY STRUCTURES
By John J. Myers,1 P.E., Member, ASCE, and Yumin Yang2

ABSTRACT: In recent years, the advantages of high-performance concrete (HPC) have been well documented.
Among others, these advantages include enhanced design flexibility and improved durability performance that
results in reduced maintenance costs and an increased service life. Despite these obvious benefits, the imple-
mentation of HPC has been very slow. This can be attributed to several factors including the uncertainty related
to current design codes and a lack of familiarity of designers and contractors with practices and requirements
for proper design and construction of high-performance concrete structures. This paper introduces and discusses
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several fundamental issues that affect the implementation of HPC and impact the practitioner. These include
issues related to quality control/quality assurance, specifications, material performance, and structural behavior.
Within the scope of this discussion, the fundamental differences and similarities between HPC and conventional
concrete are discussed. The objective of this discussion is to provide the practicing engineer with a conceptual
understanding of the practical issues that affect the design and use of HPC for highway structures with the desire
to further stimulate the implementation of HPC.

INTRODUCTION specifications, material performance, and structural behavior.


This paper seeks to provide the practicing engineer with a
In the past 20 years there have been major improvements
conceptual understanding of the issues affecting the design and
in the field of concrete materials. High-performance concrete
use of HPC for highway structures with the desire to further
(HPC) with design compressive strengths between 69 and 90 stimulate the implementation of HPC.
MPa (10,000 and 15,000 psi) have been successfully produced
using conventional materials and concrete production methods. HPC Bridge Applications to Date
This has been possible through optimization of mix propor-
tions using chemical admixtures and pozzolanic materials. The To demonstrate the suitability of HPC for use in highway
latest developments in the pretensioned concrete industry, in- structures and stimulate its use, the Federal Highway Admin-
cluding the use of 15.24 mm (0.6 in.) diameter strands, have istration (FHwA) initiated a series of projects in 1993 that
also enhanced the benefits of HPC enabling designers to take includes the complete incorporation of HPC from design to
advantage of higher strength concretes. long-term monitoring of the bridges in service [FHwA
Despite the obvious benefits from the utilization of high- (1997ak)]. To date, HPC bridges have been constructed in
Texas, Virginia, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Washington,
performance concrete and larger prestressing diameter strands,
North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Minnesota, and Louisiana.
the implementation of these developments has been very slow.
Projects including HPC within the superstructure components
This is in part due to the uncertainty that current design codes are under way in the states of Missouri and Pennsylvania.
are applicable for the design with high-performance concrete Projects in other states either in the planning, design, or con-
and larger diameter strands. The codes now in use were de- struction stages are also undoubtedly under way. It may be
veloped considering normal concrete strengths, usually below noted that a compilation of the HPC research results from the
41 MPa (6,000 psi), and smaller strand diameters. Several FHwA Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) spon-
code provisions [American Association of State Highway and sored bridge projects is expected to be completed late in the
Transportation Officials (AASHTO) 1996; American Concrete 2001 calendar year.
Institute (ACI) 1999] and design parameters are empirically The field instrumentation and monitoring studies introduced
related to the concrete strength. Therefore, differences in ma- above have also been supported by numerous work conducted
terial properties between normal strength concrete and high- in research facilities around the United States and the world
performance concrete may warrant revisions to current design to address many of the concerns raised above. Many of these
provisions for HPC. studies have focused on the material behavior of HPC and
This reluctance to utilize high-performance concrete is also quality control issues of HPC (Cook 1989; Zia et al. 1993;
due to the lack of familiarity of designers and contractors with Barrios et al. 1996; Gross and Burns 1997; Van Geem et al.
practices and requirements for proper design and construction 1997; Byte et al. 1998; Burg and Fiorato 1999; Chan et al.
of high-performance prestressed concrete structures. The rec- 2000; Fekete et al. 2000; Malhotra et al. 2000; Mokhtarzdeh
ognition of the full benefits of high-performance concrete may and French 2000a; Myers and Carrasquillo 2000), while others
be limited by traditional practices of design and construction have focused on structural design considerations or issues
that were developed for normal strength concrete. This paper (Barr et al. 2000; Buckner 1994; Carlton and Carrasquillo
discusses many of the issues that directly affect the practicing 1997; Castrodale et al. 1988; Cetin and Carrasquillo 1997;
design engineer, which impacts the implementation of HPC. French et al. 1997; McDonald 1993; Mokhtarzadeh and
This includes the topics of quality control/quality assurance, French 2000b; Russell 1994; Russel et al. 1997).
1
The use of HPC has seen earlier and wider use across Eu-
Asst. Prof. of Civ. Engrg., Ctr. for Infrastructure Engrg. Studies, Univ. rope and Japan dating back to the 1980s in Europe and 1968
of Missouri at Rolla, 218 Engineering Research Laboratory, Rolla, MO in Japan. Summaries of these projects were reported by Zia et
65409-0710. al. (1997) and ACI (1992b).
2
Grad. Res. Asst. and PhD Candidate, Dept. of Civ. Engrg., Univ. of
Missouri at Rolla, Rolla, MO. DEFINITION AND ADVANTAGES OF HPC FOR
Note. Discussion open until May 1, 2002. To extend the closing date
one month, a written request must be filed with the ASCE Manager of HIGHWAY STRUCTURES
Journals. The manuscript for this paper was submitted for review and Definition of HPC and Performance-Based
possible publication on January 26, 2001; revised June 26, 2001. This Specifications for HPC
paper is part of the Journal of Bridge Engineering, Vol. 6, No. 6,
November/December, 2001. ASCE, ISSN 1084-0702/01/0006-0613 The definition of HPC has significantly changed over the
0627/$8.00 $.50 per page. Paper No. 22537. years. Currently, a consensus has not yet been reached on the
JOURNAL OF BRIDGE ENGINEERING / NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2001 / 613

J. Bridge Eng., 2001, 6(6): 613-627


definition of HPC. According to Zia et al. (1991), HPC can tion in substructure costs or a 10% reduction in the total cost
be defined as any concrete that satisfies the criteria proposed is attained.
to overcome limitations of conventional concretes. In many The higher strength also can be used to achieve wider beam
cases the enhanced property of an HPC is strength, although spacings and consequently a reduced number of supporting
this may not always be the case. In some situations the en- members. The North Concho River U.S. 87 & S.O. RR Over-
hanced property may be elastic modulus, flexural strength, ten- pass in San Angelo, Tex., demonstrated this point quite well.
sile strength, durability (permeability, freeze-thaw resistance, The North Concho River U.S. 87 & S.O. RR Overpass, illus-
abrasion resistance, or scaling deicing resistance), constructa- trated in Fig. 1, demonstrated that the number of girders could
bility, or economics. be reduced from seven (Span 1, Westbound Bridge) using con-
The ACI broadly defined HPC as concrete that meets special ventional concrete strengths currently produced in the precast
performance and uniformity requirements that cannot always industry to four (Span 1, Eastbound Bridge) using high
be routinely achieved by using only conventional materials strength high-performance concrete (HS/HPC). This not only
and normal mixing, placing, and curing practices. Any con- translates into a reduced number of girders to fabricate, but
crete that satisfies certain criteria proposed to overcome limi- also a reduction in the number of precast panels and girders
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tations of conventional concrete may be called high-perfor- that the contractor has to transport and erect.
mance concrete. The added benefits include reduced complexity and con-
Others have developed a performance-based method to de- struction time for the contractor, and thereby additional cost
fine HPC. Based on the results of the SHRP, the FHwA has savings. In addition to the benefits of higher strength, HPC
proposed performance-based specifications for four different also provides increased durability compared to conventional
performance grades of HPC (Goodspeed et al. 1996), as pre- concretes, which translates into reduced maintenance costs and
sented in Table 1. The specifications are expressed in terms of longer life structures. This is particularly attractive within the
eight performance characteristics including strength, elasticity, present infrastructure, where many of the bridges in the United
freeze-thaw durability, chloride permeability, abrasion resis- States are deficient. The typical design life of todays conven-
tance, scaling resistance, shrinkage, and creep. By restricting tional concrete bridges is estimated at 40 years, while the de-
the definition to long-term performance parameters, designers sign life of the HPC bridges presented above has been esti-
who develop concrete mixture proportions may be more will- mated at 75 years (Myers and Carrasquillo 1999b). This is
ing to incrementally modify mixture designs, change concrete where the real long-term cost savings and advantages lie.
curing procedures, and use admixtures and alternative hydrau-
lic cements. QUALITY CONTROL AND QUALITY ASSURANCE
According to Mather (1993) both the designer of concrete Introduction
mix proportions and the bridge engineer play a key role. He
stated that for the bridge engineers to adopt an HPC perfor- A clearly defined and well-understood quality control/qual-
mance definition, the definition must include adequate dura- ity assurance (QC/QA) program is key to the successful im-
bility and strength parameters. The performance-based ap- plementation of HPC since the sensitivity of HPC to many
proach by the SHRP has tried to focus on this approach. Using QC/QA procedures is greater than conventional concretes. The
grades to represent performance, a bridge design engineer can generally accepted definitions of QC and QA are as follows:
specify a mixture to yield a desired concrete service life. Each
parameter can be independently specified by a designated Quality control: Actions taken by a producer or contrac-
grade based on desired performance. tor to provide control over what is being done and what
An example of this may be a bridge deck in San Angelo, is being provided so that the applicable standards of good
Tex., similar to the North Concho River U.S. 87 & South practice for the work are followed
Orient Railroad (S.O. RR) Overpass Bridge, discussed in more Quality assurance: Actions taken by an owner or the
depth later in this paper. In a climate such as San Angelo, owners representative to provide assurance that what is
Tex., the bridge deck is subjected to deicing salts, a moderate being done and what is being provided are in accordance
number of freeze-thaw cycles, and a narrow beam spacing. with the applicable standards of good practice for the
Based on the current working definition presented in Table 1, work
this may be specified by a high grade (Grade 2) to resist freez-
ing and thawing distress; a medium grade (Grade 2) to resist The approach in the transportation industry has always been
scaling, abrasion, and chloride penetration; and a low grade to use concrete with characteristics at appropriate levels to
(Grade 1) to obtain strength and elastic modulus. Naturally the ensure satisfactory performance for the intended service life.
use of a performance definition alone cannot address all de- In the past, many have tried to accomplish this through pre-
terioration mechanisms. scriptive specifications rather than performance-based specifi-
Tikalsky and Scanlon (2000) have also recently developed cations. The reasons vary why the vast majority of designers/
a guide to specify durability performance grades where the specifiers select prescriptive specifications. Many designers/
specifier responds to a series of questions to select an appro- specifiers want to avoid additional QC/QA requirements or the
priate performance grade. This performance-based model is presence of additional constraints placed upon the concrete
presented in Table 2. producer or contractor. The reason that is cited most often by
designers and/or specifiers is that the owner is unwilling to
pay the additional project costs associated with the perfor-
Advantages of HPC for Application to Highway mance-related requirements.
Structures Additionally, many design engineers and owners are short-
sighted and are most interested in front-end costs, not placing
The benefits of HPC in the bridge industry have been well a great deal of emphasis on the long-term durability perfor-
documented over the years. The higher strength associated mance of exposed structures. The current state of the infra-
with many HPC mix designs translates into longer spans with structure serves as a living example of this. As implied in the
a reduced number of supports. The substructure costs associ- performance-based definition of HPC, many designers are re-
ated with most bridges are approximately 50% of the cost of considering this approach in lieu of performance-based spec-
the bridge on the average nationally. Therefore, if one support ifications using an engineered concrete to meet specific per-
can be eliminated over five spans for example, a 20% reduc- formance requirements.
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J. Bridge Eng., 2001, 6(6): 613-627


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TABLE 1. Grades of Performance Characteristics for High-Performance Structural Concrete a

FHwA HPC Performance Grade b


Performance characteristic c Standard test method 1 2 3 4 N/A
Freeze-thaw durability d AASHTO T161, ASTM C 666, 60% < 80% 80%
( = relative dynamic elastic modulus after 300 cycles) Proc. A
Scaling resistance e ASTM C 672 = 4, 5 = 2, 3 = 0, 1
( = visual rating of surface after 50 cycles)
Abrasion resistance f ASTM C 944 2.0 > 1.0 1.0 > 0.5 = 0.5
( = average depth of water in millimeters)
Chloride penetration g AASHTO T277, ASTM C 1202 3,000 > 2,000 2,000 > 800 800
( = coulombs)
Strength AASHTO T2, ASTM C 39 41 > 55 MPa 55 > 69 MPa 69 > 97 MPa > 97 MPa
( = compressive strength) (6 > 8 ksi) (8 > 10 ksi) (10 > 14 ksi) ( > 14 ksi)
JOURNAL OF BRIDGE ENGINEERING / NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2001 / 615

Elastic modulus h ASTM C 469 28 > 40 GPa 40 > 50 GPa 50 GPa


( = modulus of elasticity) (4 > 6 106 psi) (6 > 7.5 106 psi) ( 7.5 106 psi)
Shrinkage i ASTM C 157 800 > 600 600 > 400 < 400
( = microstrain)
Creep j ASTM C 512 75 > 60/MPa 60 > 45/MPa 45 > 30/MPa 30/MPa
( = microstrain/pressure unit) (0.52 > 0.41/psi) (0.41 > 0.31/psi) (0.31 > 0.21/psi) ( 0.21/psi)
a
Does not represent a comprehensive list of all characteristics that good concrete should exhibit.
b
Given HPC mix design is specified by grade for each desired performance characteristic, e.g., concrete may perform at Grade 4 in strength and elasticity, Grade 3 in shrinkage, and Grade 2 in other
categories.
c
All tests to be performed on concrete samples moist or submersion cured for 56 days. See Goodspeed et al. (1996) for exceptions.
d
Based on SHRP C/FR-91-103, p. 3.52.
e
Based on SHRP S-360.
f
Based on SHRP C/FR-91-103.
g
Based on PCA Engineering Properties of Commercially Available High-Strength Concretes.
h
Based on SHRP C/FR-91-103, p. 3.25.
i
Based on SHRP C/FR-91-103, p. 3.30.
j
Based on SHRP C/FR-91-103, p. 3.17.

J. Bridge Eng., 2001, 6(6): 613-627


TABLE 2. Engineering Guide to Specifying Durable Performance Grades

Alkali silica
Freeze-thaw durability Scaling durability Abrasion resistance reaction durability Chloride permeability Workability
(FT) (SR) (AB) (AS) (CP) (WK)
Is the concrete ex- Is the concrete ex- Is the concree ex- Does the concrete Is the concrete ex- Is there a congestion
posed to freezing posed to deicing posed to surface contain reactive ag- posed to chloride need because of
and thawing envi- salt? abrasion? gregates? salts or soluble sul- formwork or rein-
ronment? fates environments? forcing constraints?
No. FT grade should No. SR grade should No. AB grade should No. AS grade should No. CP grade should No. TS grade should
not be specified. not be specified. not be specified. not be specified. not be specified. not be specified.
Stop here. Stop here. Stop here. Stop here. Stop here. Stop here.
Yes. Proceed to next Yes. Proceed to next Yes. Proceed to next Yes. Proceed to next Yes. Proceed to next Yes. Proceed to next
question. question. question. question. question. question.
Is the member ex- Is the exposure a di- Is the member ex- Is the member ex- Is the member ex- Is there a need for
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posed to deicing rect application of posed to deicing posed to moisture? posed to a poten- flowing concrete or
salts? salt? salts? tially moist envi- congestion in more
ronment? than one area?
No. Use FT-Grade 1. No. Use SR-Grade 1. No. Use AB-Grade 1. No. Use AS-Grade 1. No. Use CP-Grade 1. No. Use WK-Grade
Stop here. Stop here. Stop here. Stop here. Stop here. 1. Stop here.
Yes. Proceed to next Yes. Proceed to next Yes. Proceed to next Yes. Proceed to next Yes. Proceed to next Yes. Proceed to next
question. question. question. question. question. question.
Will the member be Will the member be Will the member be Will the member be Will the member be Is there a need for
saturated during subjected to surface exposed to tire saturated during saturated during concrete to flow
freezing? loadings? studs or chains? freezing? freezing? horizontally more
than 2 m?
No. Use FT-Grade 2. No. Use SR-Grade 2. No. Use AB-Grade 2. No. Use AS-Grade 2. No. Use CP-Grade 2. No. Use WK-Grade 2.
Yes. Use FT-Grade 3. Yes. Use SR-Grade 3. Yes. Use AB-Grade 3. Yes. Use AS-Grade 3. Yes. Use CP-Grade 3. Yes. Use WK-Grade 3.

TABLE 2. (Continued )
Compressive strength Strength development Modulus of elasticity Shrinkage Sulfate resistance Tensile strength
(CS) (SD) (ME) (SH) (SU) (TS)
Is the concrete struc- Will the concrete go Is there a structural Is the concrete ex- Is the concrete ex- Does the design de-
tural or a pave- into service after a need for stiffness? posed to moisture, posed to more than pend on concrete to
ment? minimum of 7 days chloride salts, or 0.10% soluble sul- carry tension?
after being cast? soluble sulfates en- fates?
vironments?
No. Specify a mini- No. SD grade should No. ME grade should No. SH grade should No. SU grade should No. TS grade should
mum of 21 MPa not be specified. not be specified. not be specified. not be specified. not be specified.
(3,000 psi). Stop Stop here. Stop here. Stop here. Stop here. Stop here.
here.
Yes. Proceed to next Yes. Proceed to next Yes. Proceed to next Yes. Proceed to next Yes. Proceed to next Yes. Proceed to next
question. question. question. question. question. question.
Is the member a slen- Will the member ben- Is there a particular Is the member con- Is there a member ex- Does the structural
der column or pre- efit from long-term benefit to a higher structed without posed to more than performance rely
stressed beam? strength gain? than normal stiff- joints? 0.20% soluble sul- on tensile strength?
ness? fates?
No. Specify a com- No. Use SD-Grade 1. No. Use ME-Grade 1. No. Use SH-Grade 1. No. Use SU-Grade 1. No. Use TS-Grade 1.
pressive strength Stop here. Stop here. Stop here. Stop here. Stop here.
within CS-Grade 1.
Stop here.
Yes. Proceed to next Yes. Proceed to next Yes. Proceed to next Yes. Proceed to next Yes. Proceed to next Yes. Proceed to next
question. question. question. question. question. question.
Is the member opti- Is thermal cracking a Is high stiffness criti- Is the member de- Is the member ex- Is there a design need
mized for high potential in the cal to the structural signed to be water- posed to wet-dry for TS > 6 MPa?
strength? member? design? tight or crack free? cycles?
No. Specify a com- No. Use SD-Grade 2. No. Use ME-Grade 2. No. Use SH-Grade 2. No. Specify a com- No. Use TS-Grade 2.
pressive strength pressive strength
within CS-Grade 2. within SU-Grade 2.
Yes. Specify a com- Yes. Use SD-Grade 3. Yes. Use ME-Grade 3. Yes. Use SH-Grade 3. Yes. Specify a com- Yes. Use TS-Grade 3.
pressive strength pressive strength
within CS-Grade 3. within SU-Grade 3.

Material selection and mix design development are outside Preconstruction Meeting
the scope of this paper, but in general, higher-quality materials
and concrete admixtures are often selected or specified to meet The sensitivity of HPC is greater than standard conventional
special project requirements such as high strength or high du- concretes. Small variations in mixture proportions and devia-
rability. The designer/specifier should consider the impact of tions from good testing practices can have a greater effect on
mixture constituents when developing the project require- the strength and other properties than conventional concretes
ments/specifications for production, transporting, placing, cur- (ACI 1998). Prior to construction, all of the participants should
ing, and testing of HPC. The following sections introduce meet to clarify contract requirements, special project require-
QC/QA issues that should be considered for any HPC project. ments, placement conditions, and to review the planned in-
616 / JOURNAL OF BRIDGE ENGINEERING / NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2001

J. Bridge Eng., 2001, 6(6): 613-627


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FIG. 1. North Concho River U.S. 87 and South Orient Railroad Overpass Comparison Spans of HS/HPC Girders and Conventional Strength Girders

spection and testing programs of the various parties. The ef- mixes may be warranted to establish a promising mixture
fects of time, environmental conditions (temperature, wind, when historical records of established plant mixes do not sat-
relative humidity, etc.), placing, curing, and acceptance criteria isfy specification requirements.
should be reviewed. The capabilities of the contractors work- Spot checking the plant is also recommended unless the
force, inspection staff, and the testing and batching facilities complexities of the project demand full-time monitoring. In
should also be reviewed, as HPC often requires additional many cases, full-time inspection at the batching facility is not
workforce needs for placement and QC/QA. necessary. Full-time inspection is often recommended for con-
The meeting should establish lines of communication and cretes with design strengths >70 MPa (10,000 psi). Adequate
identify responsibilities. It is especially important to review job controls must be established to prevent delays that may
the procedures the inspector will follow when noncompliance cause slump loss and result in lower workability. At the job
with contract requirements is determined or suspected. This site preparations should be made as detailed as possible. If
advance understanding will minimize future disputes and con- different concrete strengths are required at the job site, the
tribute to a quality process. Timely and accurate reporting is contractor should take precautions to avoid mixing of concrete
a necessity by all parties involved. Trial production batches in construction.
should have established a workable mixture, but it may be- When transporting concrete to the site, two issues in partic-
come necessary to make adjustments due to site conditions ular should be considered by the producer: mainly the maxi-
such as weather. mum transport volume and the transport time. A standard tran-
Guidelines for field addition of materials should be well sit mixer that can accommodate a maximum of 7.6 m3 (10 cu
clarified including preexisting specification requirements due yd) of concretes should not exceed 6.9 m3 (9 cu yd) of con-
to the often-low water to binder ratio of the mixes. The ready- crete to prevent spillage due to the higher fluidity of the higher
mix producer is essential to this discussion. Only designated slump concrete if a water reducer is used. Transporting time
individuals should have the authority for the addition of any may also be an issue. Low water to binder ratio concretes are
materials at the site, particularly water. No water in excess of very cohesive in nature. While retarding agents and redosing
the approved mixture proportions should be added to the HS/ of high range water reducers can be used effectively to extend
HPC mixtures. preset times and thereby transportation times, the time interval
between the addition of cement to the batch and the placing
Production, Transporting, Placing, and Curing of concrete in the forms should be considered when the spec-
of Concrete ifications are written.
Naturally there is no substitution for experience, particularly Only if properly cured for an adequate time period prior to
in the area of HPC production, so it is often advisable for a being placed in service will the potential strength and dura-
designer/specifier to require that all bidders be prequalified bility performance of an HPC be realized. During hot weather,
prior to the award of a concrete supply contract. However, this proper casting times for casting of concrete bridge decks
may not be practical in all applications. To date, many concrete should be selected. Fogging to avoid plastic shrinkage cracks
producers who are located in rural areas within the United is recommended for low water to binder mix designs that are
States have little or no experience with mineral and chemical subjected to environmental conditions including high wind
admixtures. In this situation, a more detailed prequalification speed, high temperature, and low relative humidity. Special
process should be carried out. This would culminate with the attention should be paid to curing of HPC decks, particularly
production of a trial batch of the proposed mix proportions to those that include pozzolans. Proper curing is one of the least
familiarize themselves with the mix design and to verify that expensive techniques that can be practiced and has a signifi-
the mixture satisfies all of the specification requirements. Quite cant impact on later-age mechanical property development.
often special aggregates, cements, or admixtures will be re- Temperature control for HPC precast beams and cast-in-place
quired to satisfy specification requirements. Laboratory trial HPC decks is recommended to avoid high hydration temper-
JOURNAL OF BRIDGE ENGINEERING / NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2001 / 617

J. Bridge Eng., 2001, 6(6): 613-627


FIG. 2. Schematic of Match Curing Process

atures and excessive cracking on the microstructure level (My- the bridge projects to serve as a long-term in situ durability
ers and Carrasquillo 2000). study on HPC.
One method that has been developed to produce QC/QA
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test specimens that are more representative of concrete within Strength


a component or member is match-curing technology (Fig. 2). Concrete properties such as elastic modulus, tensile or flex-
The concept of match-curing technology is to produce quality ural strength, shear strength, stress-strain relationships, and
control specimens that closely represent actual concrete in the bond strength are usually expressed in terms of uniaxial com-
member by monitoring and matching the temperature-time pressive strength of 150 300 mm (6 12 in.) cylinders,
profile of the concrete in the member to the quality control moist-cured for 28 days. For high-performance concrete with
specimens. A thermocouple is located at selected locations in high strength, the shape of the ascending part of the stress-
a precast or cast-in-place member in which monitoring and strain curve becomes more linear and steeper. The strain at
match curing is desired. This technology may be implemented maximum stress is slightly higher and the slope of the de-
to enhance any QC/QA program. scending part becomes steeper (ACI 1992b). Job control test
specimens may be smaller to accommodate the higher strength
Testing
concrete and existing test machine capacities. The test age may
One of the objectives of a QC/QA program is to produce also vary to allow for additional strength gain when mineral
HPC with expected mechanical and material properties such admixtures are used.
that the design considerations can be met. The general con- For high-performance prestressed concrete members with
sensus is that HPC is more sensitive to testing variables than high contents of cementitious materials, the hydration temper-
normal strength concrete (ACI 1998). Measurements of me- ature and curing condition can significantly impact the com-
chanical and material properties during construction provide pressive strength of the concrete. As indicated in Fig. 3, both
the basic information required to evaluate the acceptability of traditional member-cured cylinders (for release strength veri-
the concrete. Factors having little or no effect on 21 MPa fication) and ASTM moist-cured cylinders (for design strength
(3,000 psi) concrete can have a significant effect on HPC, verification) may not be representative of the concrete strength
particularly on compressive strength. Proper methods to cast, within the member. Research results on the Texas HPC bridges
cure, prepare specimen ends, and test specimens were devel- (Myers and Carrasquillo 1999a) indicated that the member-
oped based on concretes with compressive strengths below cured cylinders used to determine release of prestressing
41.4 MPa (6,000 psi). Over the past several years researchers strands underestimated the compressive strength of the mem-
have begun to investigate many of these issues. An excellent ber by as much as 27.9% when compared to the match-cured
resource for practitioners that presents the current state-of-the- cylinders. The ASTM moist-cured cylinders used to verify the
art related to many of these issues discussed above is ACI design strength of the member at 56 days overestimated the
(1998). compressive strength of the member by as much as 15.9%
when compared to the match-cured cylinders. When specifying
MATERIAL PERFORMANCE higher concrete strengths for lower surface area to volume
Introduction ratio members, a specifier may find it desirable to require the
use of a match-curing system for a more accurate determina-
For designers and practitioners it is important to understand tion of the concrete properties. This is particularly important
the inherent differences between HPC and conventional con-
crete. Many of the inherent differences between these two gen-
eral subgroups of concrete classifications occur in the material
property performance of the concretes. These properties in-
clude aspects of strength, deformation, and durability perfor-
mance. In this discussion the following properties are ad-
dressed including strength, modulus of elasticity, creep,
shrinkage, permeability, freeze-thaw resistance, abrasion resis-
tance, and scaling resistance. To successfully implement and
obtain efficient use of HPC, it is important for the designer to
select and specify materials with knowledge of material per-
formance. To further assist in emphasizing the differences and
similarities between HPC and conventional concrete, the re-
search results from the Texas high-performance concrete
bridges (Gross and Burns 1999; Myers and Carrasquillo 1999b)
is introduced in this section. It may be noted that three mix
designations are introduced in presenting the results: (1) a con-
ventional concrete (NSC); (2) a high-performance concrete en-
hanced primarily for durability (HPC); and (3) a high-perfor-
mance concrete enhanced for strength (HS/HPC). Each of FIG. 3. Compressive Strength Gain versus Curing Regime or Location
these mix designations were used on various components of for Prestressed/Precast Texas U-Beam

618 / JOURNAL OF BRIDGE ENGINEERING / NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2001

J. Bridge Eng., 2001, 6(6): 613-627


for designers of HPC components where current code empir- Ec = w 2.5( fc)0.325 (psi) (6)
ical equations based on a function of the compressive strength
of the concrete is used for design. Ec = 2,778(CF ) 6,189(SF )
The tensile strength is important for the cracking behavior
and other properties such as stiffness, damping action, bond 452,545(LN(age)) 1,796,695 (psi) (7)
to embedded steel, and durability of concrete. The relationship
between tensile and compressive strength is not simplistic in Ec = 4.86 106k1 k2 (w/150)2( fc /8,700)1/3 (psi) (8)
nature. It depends on the age and strength of the concrete, the
type of aggregate, the amount of air entrainment, and the de- Ec = 2,101,775 26,200( fc)0.5 (psi) (9)
gree of compaction (Mindness and Young 1981). The tensile
strength can be determined by direct tensile tests or by indirect Ec = 593,400[( fck 1,160)/10]1/3 or 593,400[ fcm /10]1/3 (psi)
tensile tests such as flexural or split cylinder tests. (10)
For concrete with compressive strengths in the range of
20.782.7 MPa (3,00012,000 psi), ACI (1992b) proposed Ec = 309,500 f 0.3
cc (psi) (11)
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the following:
ACI (1992b) has stated that deviations from the predicted
fsp = 7.4( fc)0.5 (psi) (1) values of (4) are highly dependent on the properties of the
coarse aggregate. This was consistent with the results obtained
fr = 11.7( fc)0.5 (psi) (2)
from the Texas HPC bridges (Fig. 4) and other research studies
Other researchers (Shah et al. 1985; Iravani 1996) have sug- (Iravani 1996; Mokhtarzadeh and French 2000a). No one em-
gested other empirical relationships for tensile strength based pirical equation accurately represented the elastic modulus,
on compression strength. Perhaps the most appropriate tensile flexural strength, or splitting tensile strength characteristics of
strength empirical relationship to use for design is one based an HS/HPC mix design. Some of the empirical expressions
on historical test results from the mix design that will be used presented in (3)(11) consider aggregate type as a variable,
in production. but no one empirical expression effectively addresses the var-
iations within an aggregate source or the multitude of other
Modulus of Elasticity variables that can affect the elastic modulus such as aggregate
content, curing condition, or the characteristics of the paste
The elastic modulus or modulus of elasticity of concrete is structure. In the authors opinion, any elastic modulus, flexural
one of the most important mechanical properties of concrete tensile strength, or splitting tensile strength that is assumed,
since it impacts the serviceability and structural performance based on a function of the compressive strength for the design
of reinforced concrete structures. The elastic modulus of con- of HPC members by the design engineer, should be verified
crete is closely related to the property of the cement paste, the through a series of field trial batches for the specific mix de-
stiffness of the selected aggregates, and also the method of sign, or by the documented historical properties performance
determining the modulus. The elastic modulus is greatly af- for that mix design to verify the design assumptions within
fected by the size, shape, stiffness, and quantity of its coarse limits.
aggregate (Mindness and Young 1981; Neville 1981; Shah and In most cases, high elastic modulus for HPC members is
Ahmad 1994). A significant amount of research work has been often desirable to control serviceability since typical HPC
conducted on both conventional concrete and high-strength members have greater span lengths and/or carry a higher grav-
concrete in order to predict the elastic modulus as a function ity load per unit volume than conventional concrete members.
of the compressive strength of the concrete. Current code rec- Two simple methods can be suggested to improve the elastic
ommendations use empirical equations to predict the elastic modulus of a concrete mix design. One method is to increase
modulus based on the compressive strength of the concrete. the coarse aggregate content of the mix, as illustrated in Fig.
Eq. (3) presents the recommended empirical code equation for 5 (Myers 1999). Note that the curing condition of the concrete
conventional concretes (normal weight concrete) by AASHTO can also impact the elastic modulus, so again it is important
(1996) and ACI (1999). to implement a QC/QA program that includes control speci-
Ec = w 1.5( fc)0.5 = 57,000( fc)0.5 for w = 150 pcf (psi) (3) mens that are representative of the concrete within the mem-
ber. This will result in a more accurate prediction of service-
ACI (1992b) stated that (3) overestimates the elastic mod- ability performance. The other method to enhance the elastic
ulus for compressive strengths over 41.4 MPa (6,000 psi) and modulus is to select hard, dense aggregate sources that are
proposed (4) for concretes with compressive strengths in the compatible with the paste matrix characteristics (Myers 1999).
range of 41.482.7 MPa (6,00012,000 psi). Several other
recommendations for high-strength concrete have been pro-
posed including (5) by Cook (1989), (6) by Shah et al. (1985),
(7) by Berke et al. (1992), (8) by Tomosawa and Noguchi
(1993), and (9) by Radain et al. (1993). Eq. (10) is rec-
ommended in the Federation International de la Precon-
trainte/Comite Euro-International du Beton (FIP/CEB) (1990)
state-of-the-art report, and (11) is reported by Norges Stan-
dardiseringoforbund (1992) concrete structures design rules.
The Comite Euro-International du Beton-Federation Interna-
tional de la Precontrainte (CEB-FIP) model code (CEB-FIP
1991) relates the modulus of elasticity to the cube root of the
compressive strength, rather than the square root
Ec = 40,000( fc)0.5 106 (psi) (4)
2.5 0.315
Ec = w ( fc) (psi) (5)
FIG. 4. Elastic Modulus versus Square Root Compressive Strength by
where w = 151 pcf Coarse Aggregate Type

JOURNAL OF BRIDGE ENGINEERING / NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2001 / 619

J. Bridge Eng., 2001, 6(6): 613-627


veloped for various factors related to concrete composition.
These factors include slump, fine aggregate percentage, ce-
ment content, and air content. The multipliers corresponding
to these factors may be found in ACI (1992a).
The multiplier for size and shape effects based on volume-
to-surface ratio v:s (in inches), is expressed by
2
v:s = [1 1.13 exp(0.54 (v:s))] (12)
3
A correction factor is also suggested to account for loading
ages other than 7 days for moist-cured concrete and 1 to 3
days for steam-cured concrete. The equation for this multiplier
may be found in ACI (1992a).
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Once all appropriate correction factors have been applied,


FIG. 5. Elastic Modulus (MOE) versus Coarse Aggregate Content and the creep coefficient at any time t, Cct , can be determined as
Curing Condition a function of the corrected ultimate creep coefficient Ccu . The
following hyperbolic power expression is used for the rela-
Creep and Shrinkage tionship, where t is the time in days after casting and t0 is the
time of loading:
Creep and shrinkage are important for both conventional
and high-performance concrete. Creep is defined as the time- (t t0)0.6
dependent increase in the strain of hardened concrete subjected Cct = Ccu (13)
10 (t t0)0.6
to sustained stress.
The form of (13) is based on the work of Branson and
Creep Christiason (1971) and Branson and Kripanarayanan (1971).
Total creep actually consists of two components: basic creep The coefficients 10 and 0.6 were determined as average values
and drying creep. Basic creep is the creep occurring with no from a set of 120 creep tests (Branson and Christiason 1971).
moisture exchange between the concrete and its surroundings, A suggested range of other possible values for these two co-
while drying creep can be defined as the creep dependent on efficients, as well as for the ultimate creep coefficient, is pro-
loss of moisture to the environment (Libby 1990). Many fac- vided in ACI (1992a). The general form of equation (13) is
tors have been shown to influence creep of concrete. These expressed by
factors can generally be categorized as mix composition fac- (t t0)c
tors and other factors related to curing, service exposure con- Cct = Ccu (14)
d (t t0)c
ditions, loading conditions, and member geometry. Because so
many factors influence creep, the magnitude of creep strains Other well-known design-oriented prediction models for
will vary greatly between different concretes under different creep of concrete include the CEB-FIP (1991) model and the
conditions. Tests have also shown that the size and shape of simplified model of Bazant and Panula (1980).
a concrete member or specimen can greatly influence its creep, Creep is usually determined by subtracting the sum of the
both in terms of the rate of creep and magnitude of ultimate initial instantaneous strain from the total measured strain in a
creep (Libby 1990). For larger members, the rate of creep and loaded specimen. The sum of the initial instantaneous strain is
magnitude of ultimate creep are significantly smaller, and the the strain due to sustained stress, the shrinkage, and any ther-
magnitude of total creep approaches the magnitude of basic mal strain in an identical load-free specimen as subjected to
creep since very little moisture can be lost to the environment the same history of relative humidity and temperature condi-
(Hansen and Mattock 1966). The influence of member size tions. Shrinkage is defined as the decrease of concrete volume
and shape has generally been expressed by relating creep to with time. This decrease is due to changes in the moisture
either volume-to-surface ratio, or to a minimum or average content of the concrete and physicochemical changes, which
member thickness (ACI 1992a). occur without stress attributable to actions external to the con-
There is general agreement that creep is less for high- crete. Swelling is the increase of concrete volume with time.
strength concretes (HSC) than for conventional or normal
strength concretes. This trend would be expected given the Shrinkage
generally low water-to-cementitious (water-to-binder) ratios of
most high-strength concretes. ACI (1992b) identified several Shrinkage can be broadly defined as the decrease in volume
studies where less creep was measured for HSC than for com- (not related to thermal effects) of hardened concrete with time.
parable normal strength concretes. Several models have been In this sense, shrinkage in hardened concrete is to be distin-
proposed for predicting creep as a function of time for a given guished from plastic shrinkage, which occurs in concrete prior
concrete under a given set of load and exposure conditions. to setting. Three basic types of shrinkage are generally con-
The most common method in use in the United States is prob- sidered to contribute to the total time-dependent decrease in
ably the ACI (1992a) method, which is based on the work of volume. These include drying shrinkage, carbonation shrink-
Branson and Christiason (1971) and Branson and Kripana- age, and autogenous shrinkage. Drying shrinkage is a result of
rayanan (1971). This method allows for the determination of the loss of moisture over time, carbonation shrinkage is due
an ultimate creep coefficient Ccu , either by experimental tests to the chemical reaction of hardened cement paste with at-
or by assuming and modifying a base value of 2.35. This base mospheric carbon dioxide, and autogenous shrinkage is due to
value was determined by analyzing the results of 120 speci- a self-desiccating effect that occurs during hydration (Mind-
mens from several experimental studies conducted prior to ness and Young 1981).
1970 on normal weight, lightweight, and sand-lightweight Drying shrinkage is generally considered to be the major
concretes (Branson and Christiason 1971). The assumed base component of the total shrinkage in concrete structures (Libby
value is intended to represent a general average for many con- 1990). Still, carbonation shrinkage can greatly increase the to-
cretes and should be modified using a set of multipliers de- tal shrinkage under certain environmental conditions, namely
620 / JOURNAL OF BRIDGE ENGINEERING / NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2001

J. Bridge Eng., 2001, 6(6): 613-627


the presence of high concentrations of CO2 at intermediate
relative humidities (Neville 1981). It is also suggested that
much of the experimental data on drying shrinkage include the
effects of carbonation shrinkage (Neville 1981). Autogenous
shrinkage is typically very small (Libby 1990; Neville and
Brooks 1990). Fortunately, it is unnecessary to distinguish be-
tween these three types of shrinkage in structural design.
Therefore, the generic term shrinkage will be used through-
out the rest of this paper.
As with creep, a number of factors are known to affect
shrinkage of concrete. These factors can generally be classified
as factors related to mix composition, those related to curing
and service exposure conditions, and those related to size and FIG. 6. Average Shrinkage Strain for Precast Texas U-Beam Members
shape of the member.
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Experimental data have generally shown no clear trend with


respect to shrinkage of high-strength concrete, though it is of-
ten suggested that the shrinkage of high-strength concrete is
similar to the shrinkage of normal strength concretes (ACI
1992b). Smadi et al. (1987) observed higher shrinkage for
high-strength concrete [5969 MPa (8,50010,000 psi)] as
opposed to normal strength concrete [3541 MPa (5,000
6,000 psi)], but observed less shrinkage for HSC than for con-
cretes with very low-strength concrete [2124 MPa (3,000
3,500 psi)]. Ngab et al. (1981) noted slightly higher shrinkage
FIG. 7. Creep Coefficient for Precast Texas U-Beam Members
for high-strength concrete when compared to normal strength
concrete made with similar materials. Swamy and Anand
(1973) observed a high initial rate of shrinkage for high-
strength concrete made with finely ground portland cement,
but noted that shrinkage strains after 2 years were approxi-
mately equal to values suggested in the CEB-FIP (1991) code.
Following the application of all appropriate correction fac-
tors, the shrinkage strain sh,t (at any time t after time t1 in
which drying begins), can be determined as a function of the
corrected ultimate shrinkage strain sh,u . The form of (15) was
suggested by Branson and Christiason (1971) and Branson and
Kripanarayanan (1971), and the coefficients were determined
as average values from a set of 95 experimental tests
(t t1)e
sh,t = sh,u (15)
f (t t1)e
where f = 35 for moist-cured concrete and 55 for steam-cured
concrete. Other design-oriented prediction models for shrink-
age of concrete include the CEB-FIP (1991) model and the FIG. 8. Bands of Permeability Performance with and without ASTM
simplified Bazant-Panula model (Bazant and Panula 1980). Class C Fly Ash Replacement Based on Laboratory Trial Mixes

HPC Creep and Shrinkage Test Results cementitious ratio can no longer be effectively used to predict
Long-term creep and shrinkage tests conducted in Texas the durability or permeability performance of a concrete mix
(Gross and Burns 1999) indicated that both creep and shrink- design with the use of todays mineral and chemical admix-
age were largely dependent on the amount of mix water, and tures. Varying degrees of permeability performance at any sin-
less than the ACIs (1992a) standard values, as illustrated gle water to binder ratio were exhibited depending on the mix-
in Figs. 6 and 7. Gross and Burns (1999) suggested that this ture constituents and characteristics investigated by Myers and
may result in fewer prestress losses compared to the values Carrasquillo (1999b). The formation of bands or regions of
determined by the prediction method for conventional con- performance were distinguishable for a series of trial mixes
crete. Other investigations (ACI 1992b) have indicated that with and without an ASTM Class C fly ash replacement. These
creep and shrinkage results were similar to results found for bands are schematically illustrated in Fig. 8. The variation of
normal strength concrete, while other (Mokhtarzadeh and the permeability due to changing the coarse aggregate type
French 2000b) have reported results similar to the Texas find- was minimal. For a designer or practitioner to achieve a spe-
ings. cific level of permeability or durability performance, a perfor-
mance-based methodology may be implemented rather than
Permeability using traditional prescriptive methodologies such as a water to
binder ratio.
To date there is no recognized standard test method to mea- AASHTO T-277 and T-259 test methods were used to eval-
sure the permeability of concrete. In general, there are three uate the permeability performance of the CIP bridge decks for
categories of methods: air (or gas) permeability, hydraulic per- the Texas HPC bridges, as illustrated in Figs. 9 and 10. Both
meability, and chloride ion permeability. High-performance test methods indicated lower permeability for the HPC decks.
concrete with low permeability is most often desired for bridge The level of permeability performance is greatly impacted by
deck applications in an effort to extend the service life of the not only the material constituents used, but also the level and
structure. Many, including the authors, believe that a water-to- type of curing, as reflected in Fig. 9. The HPC bridge decks
JOURNAL OF BRIDGE ENGINEERING / NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2001 / 621

J. Bridge Eng., 2001, 6(6): 613-627


Based on the research findings from the Texas HPC bridge
projects using the ASTM C 666 test method, the HPC mix
designs resulted in improved freeze-thaw resistance compared
to the conventional concrete mix design used on the project
(Figs. 12 and 13). Enhanced strength characteristics associated
with the HPC had a minor influence on the overall freeze-thaw
resistance of the concrete as long as the concrete incorporated
sound materials and an adequate well-distributed air void sys-
tem. The high strength associated with many HPCs resulted
in slightly less visible surface damage but similar freeze-thaw
durability performance. Other researchers (Fekete et al. 2000)
have also reported minor or no surface damage for HPC mix
designs investigated. It may be noted that all three mix clas-
sifications presented in Figs. 12 and 13 incorporated an air
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entrainment admixture, with a total resulting air content in the


FIG. 9. Average Rapid Chloride Penetration (56 Days) for North Con- 5 to 6% range.
cho River Overpass Cast-in-Place Decks

FIG. 10. Chloride Ion Penetration (90-Day Ponding) for North Concho FIG. 11. Durability Performance of HS/HPC Mixes with Entrained Air
River Overpass Cast-in-Place Decks

were wet mat cured a minimum of 10 days following the ap-


plication of a membrane sealer to help prevent surface mois-
ture evaporation since lower water to binder ratio concretes
were selected.

Freeze-Thaw Resistance
Damage of concrete under repeated cycles of freezing and
thawing (frost attack) has been a major performance issue for
bridges and infrastructure components. Stark (1976) found that
the long freeze-thaw cycles were more severe than the short
freeze-thaw cycles for same number of cycles, even where air
void spacing factors were no greater than 0.2 mm (0.008 in.).
For a freeze-thaw cycle to be detrimental to the concrete, the
concrete must reach an internal temperature of at least 5C FIG. 12. Freeze-Thaw Resistance for North Concho River Overpass
(23F) for a minimum of 6 h and exceed a critical saturation Decks Durability Factor versus Number of Freeze-Thaw Cycles
threshold during this time period. An internal concrete tem-
perature of 5C (23F) is equivalent to an ambient air tem-
perature of 9C (15F) for concrete 75 mm (3 in.) below the
surface. This is approximately the center of most bridge decks
that are 190203 mm (7.58 in.) in thickness. Ernzen and
Carrasquillo (1992) have suggested that a minimum of 3% air
entrainment is required for HS/HPC, as illustrated in Fig. 11.
This is slightly lower than conventional mix designs due to
the pore structure of HS/HPC with low water to binder ratios.
Members that are not subjected to becoming saturated above
the critical saturation threshold of 91.7% do not warrant air
entrainment for freeze-thaw protection. These would include
members such as beams, pier caps, or other substructure ele-
ments not subjected to a splash zone and protected from ver-
tical saturation by a bridge deck or other element. In the con-
text of a bridge, the only component that generally warrants FIG. 13. Freeze-Thaw Resistance for North Concho River Overpass
air entrainment are the bridge decks themselves. Decks Percent Mass Change versus Number of Freeze-Thaw Cycles

622 / JOURNAL OF BRIDGE ENGINEERING / NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2001

J. Bridge Eng., 2001, 6(6): 613-627


Abrasion Resistance concrete causes a time-dependent change in strain throughout
the depth of the member. Where the cross section is in com-
Abrasion is wearing due to repeated rubbing and friction. pression under elastic effects, an additional compressive strain
For pavements, abrasion results from traffic wear. From the will develop over time. Any strand bonded to the concrete
standpoint of safety, adequate abrasion resistance is important section in these compressive regions will shorten along with
for pavements and bridge decks. Abrasion resistance of con- the concrete such that the tension in the strand is reduced.
crete is a direct function of its strength, and thus its water-to- Concrete shrinkage will result in a similar time-dependent
cement ratio and constituent materials. High-quality paste and compressive strain (i.e., shortening), and will cause a loss of
strong aggregates are essential to produce an abrasion-resistant tension in the strand. Strand relaxation, which is defined as
concrete. Higher-strength concrete can be expected to result in the slight reduction in strand stress under a sustained defor-
reduced wear resistance compared to lower-strength mix de- mation, also results in a time-dependent change in the strand
signs with similar constituents, assuming they are finished and stress. Since the changes in strand stress related to these time-
cured under similar conditions (Myers and Carrasquillo dependent effects are related to internal effects within the cross
1999b). section, they should always be considered as losses of pre-
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stress. In posttensioned members, additional losses occur dur-


Scaling Resistance ing stressing operations. These losses are related to friction
Scaling of concrete is caused by repeated application of between the duct and tendon, and to the loss of stress as the
moist freeze-thaw cycles in the presence of deicing salts. Re- anchorage devices seat themselves into the tendon. Anchorage
search studies have indicated that the strength of the concrete losses also occur during the stressing of pretensioned strands
plays a minor role on the scaling resistance of concrete. but are often compensated for by a slight overstressing during
Rather, the primary factors affecting scaling resistance are ma- fabrication.
terial constituents, mixture characteristics, curing and curing There are few documented measurements related to pre-
procedures, air entrainment, aging effects, and concrete seal- stress losses in actual HPC highway bridge beams in the avail-
ers. In some cases the higher concrete strength often associated able literature, although measurements are currently being re-
with many HPCs may actually decrease scaling resistance un- corded on HPC bridges in several states as part of the FHwA
less proper finishing and curing techniques are strictly fol- SHRP HPC bridge showcase program. The improved stiffness
lowed. This is particularly critical for low water to binder ratio and reduced creep of most HPC concretes, especially those
concretes (<0.35) and should be considered in the develop- exhibiting higher compressive strengths, will clearly have a
ment of specifications and a QC/QA program. beneficial effect on prestress losses. However, the higher pres-
tress forces associated with HPC designs result in larger com-
STRUCTURAL BEHAVIOR pressive stresses. Common thought in the industry therefore is
that losses in HPC members should be of the same order of
High-performance concretes in many instances have some magnitude as for conventional concrete members (ACI
characteristics and engineering properties that are different 1992b). Unfortunately, many of the current methods used to
from those of conventional concretes. Internal changes result- predict losses do not account for the reduced creep and im-
ing from short-term loads, sustained loads, and/or environ- proved stiffness of HPC, such that extremely high losses may
mental factors are known to be different. Directly related to be calculated for these members.
these internal differences are distinctions in mechanical prop-
erties that must be recognized by design engineers in predict- Camber and Deflection of HPC Members
ing the performance and safety of structures.
Structural behavior can encompass a wide range of aspects Camber and deflection behavior of prestressed beams must
from the strength of the component or system to the service- be considered during the design and construction of highway
ability of the component or system. Thus far, the discussion bridges. While deflection considerations do not affect ultimate
that has been presented has primarily introduced material char- strength, they play an important role in the serviceability and
acteristics that in some instances may have a dramatic influ- constructability of such structures. Ideally, highway bridges
ence on the structural behavior of a highway structure. Since under full dead load would be nearly level or exhibit a slight
the use of pretensioning or posttensioning is often imple- upward camber. Excessive camber or deflection under full
mented to take full advantage of the higher strength levels dead load can result in an uneven riding surface. Excessive
often associated with high-performance concretes, the discus- deflection may also cause the general public to perceive the
sion related to structural behavior will be limited to a discus- structure to be unsafe. It is therefore important that deflection
sion on these member types. behavior be considered and predicted with at least a reasonable
degree of accuracy in the design of highway bridge structures.
Prestress Losses in Prestressed Concrete HPC Excessive beam camber prior to construction of the deck
Members can lead to difficulties in satisfying minimum deck thickness
requirements at midspan. Similarly, inadequate camber can
Prestress losses are an important factor related to service- cause problems in obtaining desired grade elevations. Extra
ability conditions for prestressed concrete highway bridge deck concrete may be required near midspan to make up for
beams. The effective level of prestress in beams is related to a camber deficit in beams, but this extra concrete will lead to
the magnitude of prestress losses. As a result, losses have a a further increase in deflection. Camber differences among ad-
direct impact on concrete stresses and deflection behavior. A jacent beams in a span can also result in difficulties in obtain-
poor estimate of losses can result in a structure where allow- ing desired grade elevations.
able stresses are exceeded or camber and deflection behavior Camber and deflection are caused by a variety of sources
is poorly predicted, such that the serviceability of a structure in prestressed beams for highway bridges, as reported by
may be adversely impacted. Gross and Burns (1999). Many sources related to load effects
Elastic shortening loss is related to the decrease in tension are rather obvious, including the application of prestress,
in the strand as the member to whom it is bonded (or an- member self-weight, weight of the bridge deck, and superim-
chored) shortens under the transfer of prestress force. There posed dead loads (such as guardrails and deck surfacing). Each
are other losses of prestress related to time-dependent effects of these sources will cause an elastic camber or deflection, as
in beams, as reported by Gross and Burns (1999). Creep of well as a time-dependent change in camber or deflection as-
JOURNAL OF BRIDGE ENGINEERING / NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2001 / 623

J. Bridge Eng., 2001, 6(6): 613-627


sociated with creep. The situation is further complicated be-
cause some of these effects are interrelated. For example, the
prestress force will change over time as a result of prestress
loss. There is a camber component due to the initial elastic
effect of prestressing, a time-dependent growth in camber as-
sociated with prestress due to creep, and a time-dependent de-
flection due to the loss (or gain) of prestress force.
Some sources are temporary and thus lead to an elastic com-
ponent of camber or deflection but not a time-dependent com-
ponent. Such sources include live loads and thermal gradients
in the composite bridge. Other sources include live loads and
thermal gradients in the composite bridge. Other sources may
also exist, including differential shrinkage between the cast-
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in-place deck slab and beams, and early-age thermal and FIG. 14. Measured and Predicted Prestress Losses
shrinkage effects in beams before release of prestress. These
sources may or may not be significant, depending on a variety
of factors, and are typically not considered in design. In gen-
eral, any effect that causes a strain gradient (curvature) over
the depth of the member will cause a change in the deflection
behavior. The source of the strain gradient need not be load
related.
Camber and deflection are affected by several material prop-
erties and structural parameters. Modulus of elasticity, unit
weight, and creep of concrete all influence the magnitude of
camber and deflection. The moments of inertia of the beam
and composite cross section also affect the magnitudes of var-
ious camber and deflection components. Beam spacing, deck
thickness, beam cross section, prestress force, and prestress
eccentricity are some of the important structural parameters
that must be known for accurate prediction of deflection be-
havior.
In general, each elastic component of camber or deflection
can be related to the curvature or strain gradient at some point FIG. 15. Upper- and Lower-Bound Camber for HPC and NSC Com-
panion Member
(or points) along the member. This relationship is shown in
(16) where the coefficient k represents the shape of the cur-
vature diagram along the member. Since the curvature will Prestress LossesComparison of Measured and
generally be uniform, linear, or parabolic along the length of Predicted Values and Their Effect on HPC Members
the member, the deflection will be related to the square, cube, The simplified AASHTO and Prestressed/Precast Concrete
or fourth power of the span length Institute equations for HPC prestress losses were found to be
conservative when compared to measured values on the Texas
L2 f (L2, L3, or L4) HPC bridges by Gross and Burns (1999), as illustrated in Fig.
= k = (16) 14. Gross and Burns proposed a modified general form of
EI EI
these component methods and noted that to accurately predict
prestress losses for HPC members, it is largely dependent on
When HPC is implemented to accommodate larger girder the accurate estimation of material properties.
spacing, but span lengths are not increased, each camber or The long-term deflection behavior of concrete members is
deflection component can be expected to be higher than for extremely sensitive to small variations in material properties
typical designs by a proportional amount. For example, if and prestress losses. This sensitivity is even higher for HPC
girder spacings is 50% larger than typical (and the same members, as reported by Gross and Burns (1999) (Fig. 15).
cross section is used), then the deflection due to deck loads Consequently, small variations in estimating the material prop-
may be expected to be about 50% larger as a result of the erties can have a significant impact on the deflection behavior
increased spacing. However, this increase is offset by the po- of bridge girders.
tentially higher modulus of elasticity and lower creep coeffi- The effect of thermal gradients during hydration and differ-
cients exhibited by many high-performance concretes. ential shrinkage before release also contributes to the signifi-
If HPC is implemented in design such that span lengths are cant differences between measured camber and predicted
increased, there is a completely different effect. Every com- values using measured parameters. Large temperature differ-
ponent of camber or deflection, no matter what the source, is entials within the member and between the member and the
magnified as an increase in the square, cube, or fourth power external environment should also be avoided to aid in pre-
of the span length. For instance, increasing the span length by venting cracking before release of the prestressing forces. This
25%, say from 30.5 to 38.1 m (100125 ft), increases the is often difficult though since high cementitious contents and
magnitude of each component of camber or deflection by 56, accelerated steam curing is required to meet release strengths
95, or 144% (depending on whether the term is related to the in a timely manner.
square, cube, or fourth power of the span length). While the The designer should be aware that the behavior of HPC
increased stiffness and reduced creep of many HPCs will offset bridges has been reported to be two to four times more sen-
this increase to a small extent, it is clear that the sensitivity of sitive to variations in material properties and other design pa-
beams with very high span-to-depth ratios is greatly magnified. rameters (i.e., prestress losses) than conventional concrete
Other changes in design as a result of using PC are not con- bridges. To date, an accurate estimation of prestress losses and
sidered with respect to this discussion on span length. deflection behavior is more difficult than for conventional con-
624 / JOURNAL OF BRIDGE ENGINEERING / NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2001

J. Bridge Eng., 2001, 6(6): 613-627


crete bridges. Ultimately, care must be exercised in designing Burg, R. G., and Ost, B. W. (1994). Engineering properties of com-
HPC highway structures and designers must be aware of the mercially available high-strength concretes (including three-year
data). PCA Res. and Devel. Bull. No. RD104, Portland Cement As-
increased sensitivity. sociation, Skokie, Ill.
Felicetti, R., and Gambarova, P. (1998). The effects of high temperature
FABRICATION AND CONSTRUCTION on the residual compressive strength of high-strength siliceous con-
cretes. ACI Mat. J., 95(4), 395406.
Prefabrication Meeting and Preconstruction Meeting Khan, A., Cook, W., and Mitchell, D. (1997). Creep, shrinkage, thermal
strains in normal, medium, and high-strength concretes during hydra-
A prefabrication meeting should be conducted to address tion. ACI Mat. J., 94(2), 156163.
fabrication issues unique to the use of HPC. This includes Lin, T. Y., and Burns, N. H. (1981). Design of prestressed concrete struc-
precasting bed capacity requirements, fabrication options, cur- tures, Wiley, New York.
ing requirements, and any revised QC/QA practices for eval-
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pretensioned high-strength concrete girders in highway bridgesDe-
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS sign considerations. Res. Rep. No. 381-4F, Ctr. for Transp. Res., Uni-
versity of Texas at Austin, Tex.
The writers would like to acknowledge the joint sponsors of the Texas Cetin, A., and Carrasquillo, R. L. (1997). Effect of accelerated heat
High-Performance Concrete Bridge Projects, the Federal Highway Ad- curing and mix characteristics on the heat development and mechanical
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J. Bridge Eng., 2001, 6(6): 613-627


NOTATION k = shape of curvature diagram along member;
k1 = 1.20 for crushed limestone and calcined bauxite aggre-
The following symbols are used in this paper: gates; 0.95 for crushed quartzitic, crushed andesite,
crushed basalt, crushed clayslate, and crushed cobblestone
Cct = creep coefficient at any time t; aggregates; and 1.00 for coarse aggregates other than
Ccu = corrected ultimate creep coefficient; above;
E = elastic modulus of concrete; k2 = 0.95 for silica fume, ground granulated blast-furnace slag,
EB = end block; and fly ash fume; 1.10 for fly ash; and 1.00 for addition
f = 35 for moist-cured concrete and 55 for steam-cured con- other than above;
crete; L = span length;
fc = compressive strength of 150 300 mm (6 12 in.) cyl- v:s = volume-to-surface ratio;
inder; w = unit weight of concrete (kg/m3);
fcc = compressive strength of 150 300 mm (6 12 in.) cyl- = 1.2 for basalt, dense limestone aggregates, 1.0 for quartz-
inder; itic aggregates, 0.9 for limestone aggregates, and 0.7 for
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fck = characteristic compressive strength of 150 300 mm (6 sandstone aggregates;


12 in.) cylinder; = member camber or deflection;
fcm = compressive strength at 28 days of 150 300 mm (6 sh,t = shrinkage strain (at any time t after time t1 in which drying
12 in.) cylinder; begins);
fr = splitting tensile strength; sh,u = ultimate shrinkage strain; and
fsp = splitting tensile strength; v:s = creep multiplier for size and shape effects based on vol-
I = moment of inertia of cross section; ume-to-surface ratio.

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