The tensile properties of early age concrete and the experimental apparatus required for its determination

Dippenaar, Jan Diederick (2015-03)

Thesis (MEng)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The early age cracking of concrete, which includes plastic shrinkage cracking (PShC) and plastic settlement cracking (PSeC), commonly occurs in flat concrete elements such as bridge decks and slabs or at the change of a concrete section depth. These cracks typically occur once the concrete has been cast and consolidated up to the final setting time, and initiate when the tensile stresses developed in the concrete exceeds its ultimate tensile strength or, alternatively phrased, when the restrained shrinkage induced strain in the concrete exceeds its tensile strain capacity. These cracks have a premature detrimental effect on the durability and strength of concrete structures as they allow deleterious materials to penetrate the concrete, which could cause the corrosion of steel reinforcing. With this in mind, the objective of this study is to gain a fundamental understanding of the tensile properties of early age concrete, up to the point of final setting, as well as the variables that affect these properties. This is done to better understand, and ultimately reduce the risk of early age cracking. To achieve this, experimental assemblies found in literature were evaluated and built upon to create a multi-component uniaxial tensile testing setup that is able to capture the complete stress-strain behaviour of early age concrete, while still in a plastic state. The following significant findings were attained from this study: • Reducing the coarse aggregate size in a concrete mix increases both the tensile strength and Young’s modulus of early age concrete, while reducing both its fracture energy and fracture process zone (FPZ) characteristic length. • The low volume addition of microfibres to a conventional concrete mix increases both the fracture energy and the FPZ characteristic length of early age concrete. • The low volume addition of microfibres to a conventional concrete mix increases the strain capacity of early age concrete shortly before and after the initial setting time. This increased strain capacity is believed to be of great significance for the prevention of PShC. • The addition of an accelerator to a conventional concrete mix accelerates the development of the tensile properties of early age concrete, while a retarder reduces it. • The addition of a retarder to a conventional concrete mix increases the strain capacity of early age concrete shortly before and after the initial setting time. This provides a reason for the reduced PShC severity observed in retarded mixes in certain instances. From this study it is concluded that the results from the tensile tests provide a greater understanding of the tensile properties of early age concrete as well as the variables that affect them. When interpreting these results in combination with those obtained from PShC experiments, it is suggested that it is possible to determine when and if PShC will occur.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die vroëe-ouderdom kraking van beton, wat plastiese krimp krake (PKK) en plastiese versakkings krake (PVK) insluit, kom algemeen voor in plat betonelemente soos brug-dekke en blaaie, of by die die verandering in die deursnit diepte van betonelemente. Die krake kom tiepies voor vandat beton gegiet en gekompakteer is totdat dit die finale settyd bereik, en vind plaas sodra die trekspanning wat in die beton ontstaan sy treksterkte oorskry of, anders bewoord, wanneer die verhinderde krimp geinduseerde vervorming van die beton, die vervormings-kapasiteit van die beton oorskry. Hierdie krake het ʼn voortydige nagelige uitwerking op die duursaamheid en sterkte van betonstrukture aangesien hulle toelaat dat skadelike stowwe die beton binnedring, wat die korrosie van staalbewapening veroorsaak. Met dit ingedagte is die doel van die studie om fundamentele kennis rakende die vroëe-ouderdom trekeienskappe van beton, tot by die punt van finale set, asook die veranderlikes wat die eienskappe beinvloed, te verwerf. Om vroëe-ouederdom krake beter te verstaan en uiteindelik, te voorkom, is hierdie kennis nodig. Eksperimentele opstellings in literatuur is ge-evalueer en op voortgebou vir die bou van ʼn multi-komponet eenassige terktoetsopstelling om die volledige spanning-vervorming gedrag van vroëe-ouderdom beton vas te vang. Die volgende bevindings het uit die studie aan die lig gekom: • ʼn Kleiner aggregaat grootte in n betonmeng verhoog beide die trekstrekte en Young se modulus van vroëe-ouderdom beton, terwyl dit beide die fraktuur-energie en die fraktuur proses sone (FPS) se karakteristieke lengte verminder. • Die lae volume byvoeging van mikrovesels tot ʼn betonmeng verhoog beide die fraktuur-energie en die FPS se karakteristieke lengte van vroëe-ouderdom beton. • Die lae volume byvoeging van mikrovesels tot ʼn betonmeng verhoog die vervormings kapasiteit van vroëe-ouderdom beton kort voor en na die aanvanklike settyd. Daar word geglo dat hierdie verhoogde vervormings-kapasiteit van groot belang is vir die voorkoming van PKK. • Die byvoeging van ʼn versneller tot ʼn betonmeng versnel die ontwikkelingstempo van die trekeienskappe van vroëe-ouderdom beton, terwyl ʼn vertrager dit verlaag. • Die byvoeging van ʼn vertrager tot ʼn betonmeng verhoog die vervormings-kapasiteit van vroëe-ouderdom beton kort voor en na die aanvanklike settyd. Dit verskaf die rede vir die bevinding dat die byvoeging van ʼn vertrager PKK in sekere gevalle verminder. Hierdie studie het bevind dat die die trektoetse ʼn groter begrip rakende die trek-eienskappe van vroëe-ouderdom beton, en die veranderlikes wat die eienskappe beinvloed, gelewer het. Wanneer die resultate van die studie tesame met PShC toetse geinterpreteer word, will dit voorkom dat dit moontlik is om te bepaal wanneer, en of PKK sal plaasvind.

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