Bridge Decks: Mitigation of Cracking and Increased Durability—Materials Solution (Phase III)

Project Details









Robin Deb, Paramita Mondal, Ardavan Ardeshirilajimi


Illinois Department of Transportation


Admixtures, Bridge decks, Cracking, Durability, Lightweight aggregates, Mix design, Shrinkage, Slump test, Water cement ratio

Project description

Type K cement offers a lower slump than conventional concrete, even at a higher water-to-cement ratio. Therefore, a suitable chemical admixture should be added to the Type K concrete mix design at a feasible dosage to achieve and retain target slump. In this project, a compatibility study was performed for Type K concrete with commercially available water-reducing and air-entraining admixtures. Slump and air content losses were measured over a period of 60 minutes after mixing and a particular mid-range water-reducing admixture was found to retain slump effectively. Furthermore, no significant difference in admixture interaction between conventional and Type K concrete was observed. Another concern regarding the use of Type K concrete is that its higher water-to-cement ratio can potentially lead to higher permeability and durability issues. This study also explored the effectiveness of presoaked lightweight aggregates in providing extra water for Type K hydration without increasing the water-to-cement ratio. Permeability of concrete was measured to validate that the use of presoaked lightweight aggregates can lower water adsorption in Type K concrete, enhancing its durability. Extensive data analysis was performed to link the small-scale material test results with a structural test performed at Saint Louis University. A consistent relation was established in most cases, validating the effectiveness of both testing methods in understanding the performance of proposed shrinkage-mitigation strategies. Stress analysis was performed to rank the mitigation strategies. Type K incorporation is reported to be the most effective method for shrinkage-related crack mitigation among the mixes tested in this study. The second-best choice is the use of Type K in combination with either presoaked lightweight aggregates or shrinkage-reducing admixtures. All mitigation strategies tested in this work were proved to be significantly better than using no mitigation strategy.