Abrasion-resistant concrete mix designs for precast bridge deck panels.
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Abrasion-resistant concrete mix designs for precast bridge deck panels.

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    Final report.
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    The report documents laboratory investigations undertaken to develop high performance concrete (HPC) for precast and pre-stressed bridge deck components that would reduce the life-cycle cost of bridges by improving the studded tire wear (abrasion) resistance and the durability of bridge decks. Phase I of the project involved an initial investigation of candidate mixtures incorporating type I portland cement, supplementary cementitious materials (silica fume, slag, and fly ash), natural aggregate (river gravel), and crushed rock. Three laboratory-curing methods were utilized in this effort including ordinary water curing and two accelerated steam-curing methods. A Pilot Study was undertaken to refine the laboratory steam curing methods as well as to determine if the duration of Oregon Department of Transportation’s (ODOT’s) field curing requirement for cast-in-place (CIP) bridge decks could be shortened. Phase II of the project utilized the findings from Phase I and the Pilot Study to develop HPC mixtures that had improved abrasion resistance and durability characteristics relative to a newly-specified ODOT bridge deck mixture. The mixtures investigated in Phase II incorporated type III portland cement and the same supplementary cementitious materials and natural aggregate that were used in Phase I. The silica fume content was varied in Phase II (i.e., 4%, 7%, and 10%), but held constant at 4% in Phase I.

    Findings from Phase I indicated that mixtures containing a combination of silica fume and slag clearly had superior abrasion resistance, durability characteristics, and compressive strength relative to the mixtures containing a combination of silica fume and fly ash, and that the mixtures with crushed rock clearly outperformed those with river gravel in terms of abrasion resistance and strength characteristics (durability characteristics were essentially unaffected by aggregate type). Findings from the Pilot Study indicated that steam curing followed by application of a curing compound prior to ambient curing provided strength characteristics similar to that of concrete cured continuously in water, and that the 14-day field curing requirement for CIP bridge decks could be shortened to as few as 3 days without sacrificing 28-day strength provided that adequate measures are taken to ensure that the HPC is kept in saturated conditions.

    Three HPC mixtures were developed under Phase II of the study that provided better wear resistance, durability characteristics, and strength properties than ODOT’s newly specified HPC for bridge decks (fabricated with fly ash at a w/b ratio of 0.30). All contained silica fume and slag and had w/b ratios of 0.30 or less. One did not contain entrained air. Overall, the mixture with the same mix design as ODOT’s newly specified HPC, except with slag in lieu of fly ash, provided the best balance between initial costs and enhanced performance.

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