Structural Assessment of D-Regions Affected by Alkali-Silica Reaction/Delayed Ettringite Formation
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A combined experimental and analytical program was conducted to investigate the effects of Alkali-Silica Reaction (ASR) and Delayed Ettringite Formation (DEF) on D-regions in reinforced concrete (RC) bridge bents. Four large-scale RC specimens, which represent cantilever and straddle bents in Texas bridges in each specimen, were constructed. The first specimen represented the unexposed control specimen, while the other three were conditioned in the field with supplemental watering to promote ASR/DEF and served as the exposed specimens. The control and two exposed specimens with various levels of ASR/DEF, after eight months and two years of field conditioning, were load tested to failure. The last specimen remains in field with additional exposure to promote ASR/DEF and will be load tested in future studies. The width and length of preload-induced cracks and developing cracks that initiated in the exposed specimens and grew over time, indicating concrete expansion due to ASR/DEF mechanisms, were measured. Petrographic analysis results of concrete cores extracted from the exposed specimens after their load testing confirmed the formation of ASR gel and minimum accumulation of ettringite. The structural testing results showed that the failure mechanism in all three tested specimens was due to a brittle shear failure in the beam-column joint. However, slightly greater stiffness, strength, and ductility were observed in the exposed specimens as a result of the activation of the reinforcing steel in the specimens due to the expansion of the concrete primarily from ASR, which effectively prestressed and confined the core concrete. Sectional analysis and Strut-and-Tie Modeling (STM) of the experimental specimens were applied. Three-dimensional nonlinear Finite Element Analyses (FEA) were also conducted to numerically simulate the overall structural performance, internal response, and out-of-plane behavior of the experimental specimens. The effects of varying constitutive relations of the concrete in tension on models of the specimens were compared with the measured experimental response. A method to mimic ASR/DEF effects on exposed specimens was proposed and incorporated into the FEA approach. As a result, forces that prestress and confine the core concrete were effectively applied through the reinforcing steel prior to subsequent structural loading. The three-dimensional FEA approach was able to simulate the out-of-plane behavior of the beam-column joint and the proposed method yielded comparable results with the measured overall and internal behavior of specimens.
SubjectFinite Element Analysis
Delayed Ettringite Formation
Liu, Shih-Hsiang 1979- (2012). Structural Assessment of D-Regions Affected by Alkali-Silica Reaction/Delayed Ettringite Formation. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from