Early-Age Properties of High-Volume Fly Ash Concrete Mixes for Pavement: Volume 2

Project Details









Aniruddha Baral, Jeffery Roesler, Janryu Fu


Illinois DOT


Concrete, Fly ash, Foam Index, Hydration, Limestone, Maturity, Noncontact Ultrasound, Setting Time

Project description

High-volume fly ash concrete (HVFAC) is more cost-efficient, sustainable, and durable than conventional concrete. This report presents a state-of-the-art review of HVFAC properties and different fly ash characterization methods. The main challenges identified for HVFAC for pavements are its early-age properties such as air entrainment, setting time, and strength gain, which are the focus of this research. Five fly ash sources in Illinois have been repeatedly characterized through x-ray diffraction, x-ray fluorescence, and laser diffraction over time. The fly ash oxide compositions from the same source but different quarterly samples were overall consistent with most variations observed in SO3 and MgO content. The minerals present in various fly ash sources were similar over multiple quarters, with the mineral content varying. The types of carbon present in the fly ash were also characterized through x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, loss on ignition, and foam index tests. A new computer vision– based digital foam index test was developed to automatically capture and quantify a video of the foam layer for better operator and laboratory reliability. The heat of hydration and setting times of HVFAC mixes for different cement and fly ash sources as well as chemical admixtures were investigated using an isothermal calorimeter. Class C HVFAC mixes had a higher sulfate imbalance than Class F mixes. The addition of chemical admixtures (both PCE- and lignosulfonate-based) delayed the hydration, with the delay higher for the PCE-based admixture. Both micro- and nano-limestone replacement were successful in accelerating the setting times, with nano-limestone being more effective than micro-limestone. A field test section constructed of HVFAC showed the feasibility and importance of using the noncontact ultrasound device to measure the final setting time as well as determine the saw-cutting time. Moreover, field implementation of the maturity method based on wireless thermal sensors demonstrated its viability for early opening strength, and only a few sensors with pavement depth are needed to estimate the field maturity.