Self-Compacting Concrete (SCC) for Prestressed Bridge Girders

Principal Investigator:

Carol Shield, Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Co-Investigator

  • Cathy French, I.T. Distinguished Professor, Civil, Environmental and Geo-Engineering

Project Summary:

This research project evaluated the viability of using self-compacting concrete for the construction of prestressed concrete bridge girders. In particular, the research addressed the ability to mix large batches of flowable concrete that do not segregate, and studied the time-dependent properties of these mixes using concrete cylinders to separate the creep and shrinkage components.

Researchers conducted an experimental program to investigate the viability of producing self-consolidating concrete (SCC) using locally available aggregate, and the viability of its use in the production of precast prestressed concrete bridge girders for the State of Minnesota.

Six precast prestressed bridge girders were cast using four SCC and two conventional concrete mixes. Variations in the mixes included cementitious materials (ASTM Type I and III cement and Class C fly ash), natural gravel and crushed stone as coarse aggregate, and several admixtures. The girders were instrumented to monitor transfer length, camber, and prestress losses. In addition, companion cylinders were cast to measure the compressive strength and modulus of elasticity, and to monitor the creep and shrinkage over time. The viability of using several test methods to evaluate SCC fresh properties was also investigated.

The test results indicated that the overall performance of the SCC girders was comparable to that of the conventional concrete girders. The measured, predicted, and calculated prestress losses were generally in good agreement. The study indicated that creep and shrinkage material models developed based on companion cylinder creep and shrinkage data can be used to reasonably predict measured prestress losses of both conventional and SCC prestressed bridge girders.

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