About the research
High-performance concrete (HPC) overlays have been used increasingly as an effective and economical method for bridge decks in Iowa and other states. However, due to its high cementitious material content, HPC often displays high shrinkage cracking potential. This study investigated the shrinkage behavior and cracking potential of the HPC overlay mixes commonly used in Iowa. In the study, 11 HPC overlay mixes were studied. These mixes consisted of three types of cements (Type I, I/II, and IP) and various supplementary cementitious materials (Class C fly ash, slag and metakaolin). Limestone with two different gradations was used as coarse aggregates in 10 mixes and quartzite was used in one mix. Chemical shrinkage of pastes, free drying shrinkage, autogenous shrinkage of mortar and concrete, and restrained ring shrinkage of concrete were monitored over time. Mechanical properties (such as elastic modulus and compressive and splitting tensile strength) of these concrete mixes were measured at different ages. Creep coefficients of these concrete mixes were estimated using the RILEM B3 and NCHRP Report 496 models. Cracking potential of the concrete mixes was assessed based on both ASTM C 1581 and simple stress-to-strength ratio methods. The results indicate that among the 11 mixes studied, three mixes (4, 5, and 6) cracked at the age of 15, 11, and 17 days, respectively. Autogenous shrinkage of the HPC mixes ranges from 150 to 250 microstrain and free dying shrinkage of the concrete ranges from 700 to 1,200 microstrain at 56 days. Different concrete materials (cementitious type and admixtures) and mix proportions (cementitious material content) affect concrete shrinkage in different ways. Not all mixes having a high shrinkage value cracked first. The stresses in the concrete are associated primarily with the concrete shrinkage, elastic modulus, tensile strength, and creep. However, a good relationship is found between cementitious material content and total (autogenous and free drying) shrinkage of concrete.