Concrete pavement joint deterioration.
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Concrete pavement joint deterioration.

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      Concrete pavements are an important part of our national infrastructure. In recent years the relatively small number of reported joints deteriorating prematurely in concrete pavements around Indiana has increased. Changes over the past 45 years in INDOT specification, pavement materials, designs and construction practices, and current de-icing materials were examined and related to the durability of concrete at the joints of existing pavements. A survey of concrete pavements across the state revealed that no pavements from the two southern districts less than 40 years old showed this distress except in more recently placed patches.

      Cores were retrieved from the joints and mid-panel of 11 pavement sections that represented different materials, ages, construction, deicer exposure, and different levels of deterioration, from non-deteriorated concrete to concrete with severe deterioration at the joints. The pavement base drained well at the mid-panel of most pavements but was reduced at the joints for over half the pavements with the most severe joint deterioration associated with the slowest drainage. None of the concrete had an air void system that met all the criteria recommended for FT durable concrete but was better at the mid-panel than at the joints. Infilling and lining of the entrained air voids with ettringite and some Friedel’s salt was more common near the joints and could account for the reduced air void system. The FT testing did not correlate directly with the air void parameters but generally mid-panel samples did test as more durable than joints. Evidence from the presence of unhydrated cement grains suggested that the concrete at the joint face was not fully cured. One pavement section that did not have fly ash had worse deterioration than the panels nearby that had fly ash and calcium hydrate was more noticeable in the concrete from joints with severe deterioration.

      Several variables were identified that influence the durability of the concrete at the joints and there may be other variables that were beyond the scope or capacity of this study. In summary this study identified the following variables likely influenced the durability of the concrete at the joints: the drainability of the base at the joints, original air void system, reduced air void parameters due to lining and infilling of the air voids with secondary minerals, poor hydration of the concrete at the joint face and increased moisture at the joint.

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