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Title: Mix-Design of a Long-Term Durable Concrete for the Reinforced Foundations in the Bridge on the Straits of Messina, Italy

Author(s): Mario Collepardi, Silvia Collepardi, Roberto Troli

Publication: Symposium Paper

Volume: 355


Appears on pages(s): 413-422

Keywords: concrete mixture design; corrosion of steel; heat of cement hydration; slag cement

Date: 7/1/2022

The present paper shows the study of a mixture design of the concrete used in the reinforced foundations of the bridge on the Straits of Messina in Italy. A cube compressive characteristic strength of 35 MPa (5,075 psi) is required for the foundation concrete. Due to the peculiar shape of the concrete foundations (completely embedded in the excavated ground), the damages caused by the thermal stress, the steel corrosion, and the alkali-silica reaction cannot be monitored and repaired. Therefore, a concrete structure must be designed without any damage for at least 200 years due to the very important role of this structure from a social point of view. In order to guarantee this long-term durability, there are two problems to be faced and solved: 1) the heat of cement hydration could cause cracks inside the foundation due to thermal gradients between the hotter nucleus of the massive structure and the colder peripheral areas; 2) the corrosion of the metallic reinforcements caused by the reaction between the metallic iron and the oxygen (O2) present in the air to an extent of about 20%; 3) the alkali-silica reaction causing a local disruption in the concrete. All these problems can be solved using a blast-furnace slag cement such as CEM III B 32.5 R characterized by a very small heat of hydration and adopting a ground coarse aggregate with a maximum size as large as 32 mm (1.28 in): the choice of this aggregate produces a reduction in the amount of mixing water and then of the cement content and reduces the volume of the entrapped air at about 1.3% by concrete volume. This amount of O2 would cause the corrosion of a negligible amount of iron corresponding to only 10 to 13 g (0.4 to 0.5 oz) of steel in 1 m3 (1.31 yd3) of concrete of each foundation. In order to prevent any ingress of air from the environment, the top of the foundation should be protected by self-compacting, self-compressing, and self-curing concrete.


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