Evaluation of Concrete Structures Affected by Alkali-Silica Reaction and Delayed Ettringite Formation

Giannini, Eric Richard


Alkali-silica reaction (ASR) and delayed ettringite formation (DEF) are expansive reactions that can lead to the premature deterioration of concrete structures. Both have been implicated in the deterioration of numerous structures around the world, including many transportation structures in Texas. As a result of considerable research advances, ASR and DEF are now avoidable in new construction, but evaluating and managing the existing stock of structures damaged by these mechanisms remains a challenge. While the published guidance for evaluating structures is very effective at diagnosing the presence of ASR and DEF, there remain significant weaknesses with respect to the evaluation of structural safety and serviceability and nondestructive testing (NDT) is a minor component of the evaluation process.

The research described in this dissertation involved a wide range of tests on plain and reinforced concrete at multiple scales. This included small cylinders and prisms, larger plain and reinforced concrete specimens in outdoor exposure, full-scale reinforced concrete beams, and core samples from the outdoor exposure specimens and full-scale reinforced concrete beams. Nondestructive test methods were applied at all scales, and the full-scale beams were also tested in four-point flexure to determine the effects of ASR and DEF on flexural strength and serviceability.

Severe expansions from ASR and DEF did not reduce the strength of the full-scale beams or result in excessive deflections under live loads, despite significant decreases in the compressive strength and elastic modulus measured from core samples. Most NDT methods were found to be effective at low expansions but had difficulty correlating to larger expansions. Two promising NDT methods have been identified for future research and development, and guidance regarding existing test methods is offered.

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