Crack Depths in Desiccating Plastic Concrete

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Title: Crack Depths in Desiccating Plastic Concrete

Author(s): Peter H. Morris and Peter F. Dux

Publication: Materials Journal

Volume: 103

Issue: 2

Appears on pages(s): 90-96

Keywords: cracking; early age concrete; elasticity; shear; tension

Date: 3/1/2006

Abstract:
The depths of cracks in desiccating plastic concrete are estimated by considering the effects of the suction (negative pore pressure) associated with desiccation and applying five failure models derived from fracture theories combined with theories drawn from geotechnical engineering under the assumption that plastic concrete is a frictional particulate material. The estimated crack depths vary with the depth of desiccation, the suction profile, and a small number of material parameters that depend on the model adopted and are comparatively easy to estimate accurately. Four of the models predict excessively large crack depths. The fifth, however, predicts shallower crack depths that increase with the age of the concrete and are consistent with those of analogous desiccation cracks in coal mine tailings. It thus offers a relatively robust method of estimating the depth of desiccation cracks. Confirmation of this with data for plastic concrete is clearly desirable but not possible at present.