Early age delamination in concrete pavements made with gravel aggregates
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Gravel aggregates had been used extensively in the Houston District of Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) for continuously reinforced concrete pavements construction for many years. However, some of these pavements have been subject to early age delamination and eventual spalling damage. Therefore, a series of studies funded by TxDOT since the early 1990's has been conducted to gain a better understanding of mechanisms, material properties, and construction practices, and to provide guidelines and recommendations for minimizing early-age delamination in concrete pavements made with gravel aggregates. In this study, a test protocol to measure the bond strength between aggregates and cement mortar was established, and the effects of different material and construction parameters on the bond strength of concrete at early ages using a fractional factorial design were investigated. The significances of each factor to achieve better bonding performance were determined, and the optimum design combination was subsequently chosen and validated. Geometric parameters were proposed to characterize aggregate shape properties relative to bonding performance with the facilitation of the Aggregate Imaging System. A rating system based on utility theory was developed to evaluate the overall contribution of aggregate properties (i.e. physical, geometric, and chemical) to the concrete bonding capability and the feasibility of certain mixture design combinations. As for theoretical representation of the bond strength across the interfacial transition zone, a model of interfacial fracture energy between aggregate and mortar that represents the energy necessary to create a crack along the interface was formulated. This model built the connection between concrete properties at the meso-level (represented by the interfacial fracture energy between aggregate and mortar) and the macro-level (represented by fracture toughness of concrete and significant influencing materials and construction factors). In addition, the moisture effects on stress development of concrete pavements at early ages using field data as inputs were numerically simulated, and a fracture mechanics-based approach was used to predict the occurrence of delamination. A delamination detection protocol for the field was developed to explore the feasibility and potential of utilizing Ground Penetration Radar technology in delamination detection. Research findings from laboratory investigation, field testing, theoretical modeling, and numerical analysis were further validated through field test sections, and the associated framework for delamination guidelines was established.
Liu, Juanyu (2006). Early age delamination in concrete pavements made with gravel aggregates. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from