Experimental Investigation of ASR/DEF-Induced Reinforcing Bar Fracture

Webb, Zachary David


Numerous cases of premature concrete deterioration due to alkali-silica reaction and/or delayed ettringite formation have developed within highway infrastructure in the state of Texas over the past two decades. Although experimental research and in-situ load testing on an international scale has indicated that moderate levels of deterioration are unlikely to pose a threat to structural safety, the discovery of reinforcing bar fracture in Japan due to ASR-related expansion has called into question the integrity of heavily damaged structures.

A two-part experimental program was conducted at The University of Texas at Austin relating to ASR/DEF-induced reinforcing bar fracture. Work conducted under TxDOT Project 0-6491 included the fabrication and monitoring of four concrete specimens. Methods were employed to simulate a fracture of the transverse reinforcement within the time frame of the study and the applicability of various NDT monitoring techniques to detect bar fracture was evaluated. Furthermore, a number of reinforcing bar samples were tested and analyzed to investigate (1) the development of reinforcing bar cracking due to the bending operation and (2) the progression of cracks after application of an expansive opening force on bars with 90° bends. Research findings and conclusions form a preliminary assessment on the potential for reinforcing bar fracture within affected infrastructure in Texas.

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