High-Performance Conrete for a Nuclear Containment


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Title: High-Performance Conrete for a Nuclear Containment

Author(s): F. de Larrard, G. Ithurralde, P. Acker, and D. Chauvel

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 121


Appears on pages(s): 549-576

Keywords: computation; cracking (fracturing); high-strength concretes; mix proportioning; nuclear reactor containment; permeability; silica fume; thermal properties; General

Date: 11/1/1990

Deals with the design of a concrete capable of increasing the airtightness of the primary containment of nuclear power stations. The general context of structures of this type and the types of damage commonly found in them (thermal cracking) are introduced. Then an ideal concrete is described and an attempt is made to approximate it by applying a rigorous formulation process. The result is a high-strength concrete having a low cement content (270 kg/m3), a 28-day strength of about 70 MPa, and a high workability through the use of silica fume and calcareous fillers. This concrete and a more conventional concrete are put through a series of characterization tests which makes it possible to conduct numerical simulations of the temperatures and restrained deformations in the containment. The reduction of the risk of thermal cracking is clearly demonstrated. Finally, all of these laboratory investigations are verified on a full-scale containment element, in which all the benefits of using this new type of high-performance concrete appear (temperature rise cut by 25 percent, near disappearance of cracking, tenfold reduction of airleaks). The advantages of such a concrete are not restricted to the nuclear context, but cover all applications for which a dense, crack-free concrete is desired.