Early Age Cracking: A Case Study in How Materials Modeling Can Improve Concrete Quality


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Title: Early Age Cracking: A Case Study in How Materials Modeling Can Improve Concrete Quality

Author(s): J.L. Poole and K.A. Riding

Publication: Special Publication

Volume: 266


Appears on pages(s): 57-72

Keywords: calorimetry; hydration; modeling; temperature prediction.

Date: 10/1/2009

Early-age cracking can reduce the service life of reinforced concrete structures by providing a path for the ingress of moisture. This cracking is caused by a complex interaction among concrete material properties, construction methods, and the environment, especially during the early age curing period.  In order to prevent early age cracking, the concrete mixture and construction methods must be complementary and chosen with care. Early age concrete simulations can be used to minimize the risk of cracking by optimizing the materials and construction techniques for the local environmental conditions. These simulations are rarely performed however, because of the great expense and time needed to quantify the early age concrete mechanical properties (modulus, tensile strength, creep, coefficient of thermal expansion, etc.). Recent breakthroughs in material science and concrete technology have enabled the development of needed early-age concrete material property models.   An early age temperature development and thermal stress simulation tool named ConcreteWorks was recently completed that allows engineers and contractors to quickly optimize concrete construction with reduced laboratory testing. ConcreteWorks includes several material behavior models that were developed to eliminate the need for expensive, specialized testing. This paper presents the development of ConcreteWorks, along with examples of its application on recently completed construction projects. These case studies illustrate how materials science modeling techniques can be simplified for the end user needs.