Development of Ultra-High-Performance Concrete with Various Silica Admixtures


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Title: Development of Ultra-High-Performance Concrete with Various Silica Admixtures

Author(s): Yail J. Kim and Jun Wang

Publication: Materials Journal

Volume: 116

Issue: 2

Appears on pages(s): 33-44

Keywords: development; performance; silica; ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC)

Date: 3/1/2019

This paper presents the development of cost-effective ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) using various silica admixtures. With the aim of achieving a specified compressive strength of 138 MPa (20 ksi), a UHPC mixture is formulated. The research program consists of three phases: 1) suitable constituents are identified based on the reproduction tests of nine existing UHPC mixtures selected from literature; 2) a prototype mixture design is developed; and 3) the performance of the prototype UHPC is assessed through an experimental parametric study. The implications of various constituent types are examined with an emphasis on silica compounds (silica fume, silica powder, silica sand, finer silica sand, pyrogenic silica, and precipitated silica), including steel and polypropylene fibers. The distribution of granular particles is characterized by digital microscopy alongside an image processing technique. Benchmark tests employing the nine mixtures demonstrate that silica sand and finer silica sand perform better than silica powder from a strength perspective, and the inclusion of steel fibers rather than polypropylene fibers is recommendable. Although heat curing increases concrete strength, the prototype UHPC is designed with conventional moisture curing because of practicality in the field. The steel fibers increase the flexural capacity of the UHPC more than 60% relative to the UHPC mixed without fibers, and result in a gradual failure mode. The bulk density of silica fume influences the strength gain of the UHPC at 7 days, beyond which its effect becomes insignificant. The use of pyrogenic silica and precipitated silica is not suggested. The applicability of the modulus of rupture equations specified in published specifications and codes is assessed, and new equations are proposed for the developed UHPC mixture using randomly generated statistical data. Cost analysis shows that the prototype UHPC is up to 74% less expensive than commercial products.