Shrinkage Mitigation of an Ultra-High Performance Concrete Submitted To Various Mixing and Curing Conditions

Abstract of a journal article submitted for publication in the journal Materials

Prepared by:
Cédric Androuët, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
Jean-Philippe Charron, Polytechnique Montréal


Ultra-High Performance Concretes (UHPC) are cement-based materials with a very low water-to-binder ratio that present a very high compressive strength, high tensile strength and ductility as well as excellent durability, making them very interesting for various civil engineering applications. However, one drawback of UHPC is their pretty high autogenous shrinkage stemming from their very low water-to-binder ratio. There are several options to reduce UHPC shrinkage, such as the use of fibers (steel fibers, polypropylene fibers, wollastonite microfibers), shrinkage-reducing admixtures (SRA), expansive admixtures (EA), saturated lightweight aggregates (SLWA) and superabsorbent polymers (SAP). Other factors related to curing conditions, such as humidity and temperature, also affect the shrinkage of UHPC. The aim of this paper is to investigate the impact of various SRA, different mixing and curing conditions (low to moderate mixing temperatures, moderate to high relative humidity and water immersion) as well as different curing starting times and durations on the shrinkage of UHPC. The major importance of the initial mixing and curing conditions has been clearly demonstrated. It was shown that the shrinkage of the UHPC was reduced by more than 20% at early-age and long-term when the fresh UHPC temperature was closer to 20°C. In addition, curing by water immersion led to drastic reductions in shrinkage of up to 65% and 30% at early-age and long-term, respectively, in comparison to a 20% reduction for fog curing at early-age. Finally, utilization of a liquid polyols-based SRA allowed for reductions of 69% and 63% of early-age and long-term shrinkages, respectively, while a powder polyols-based SRA provided a decrease of 47% and 35%, respectively.

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