High-Performance Concrete in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers


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Title: High-Performance Concrete in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Author(s): Bryant Mather

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 159


Appears on pages(s): 323-334

Keywords: abrasion resistance; concretes; freeze thaw durability; high-performance concretes; radiation shielding; silica fume; tremie concrete; General

Date: 2/1/1996

For two centuries the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (CE) has been developing high-performance concretes. In the 1840's, various Corps of Engineers officers, including Robert E. Lee, developed concretes that could be placed underwater for construction of coastal defense facilities. General Q. A. Gillmore, whose device for measuring time of setting of cement paste is still used, published a book in 1863 on hydraulic cement and mortar. In 1871, he published a book on concrete which introduced concrete technology from France that was significantly higher-performance than that then used in the United States. Contemporary development of high-performance concrete began in 1935 at the CE Concrete Laboratory at Eastport, Maine, in support of the Passamaquoddy Tidal Power project. The objective was to develop concrete able to resist twice daily immersion in sea water and freezing in the winter when the tide went out. That objective was achieved. In 1970, when confronted with the problem of severe abrasion-erosion damage in stilling basins below dams, a solution was found in the development of concretes having strengths greater than 100 MPa. This was done using silica fume and high-range, water-reducing admixtures. Similar and higher- strength high-performance concretes have also been developed for defense purposes as part of the protective-structures portion of the U.S. military research and development (R&D) program. When stronger concrete or concrete that must resist a more severe exposure is needed, the Corps of Engineers concrete R&D capability has been able to develop it and is expected to continue to be able to do so.