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7 Hardening Concrete

7.1 Introduction
For quite a number of reasons, the behaviour of hardening concrete has gained more and more
interest in recent years. The most important reasons are:

Automation of production and building processes.


Successful introduction of automation in the (concrete) building industry requires an accurate
understanding of the hardening process. Criteria, with which production and building
processes are controlled, are strength development and control or prevention of cracking.

More stringent requirements with relation to quality and durability


More stringent quality and durability requirements are formulated, either in terms of the
maximum temperature and temperature differences in the hardening stage, or in terms of the
acceptability of the stresses or the magnitude of deformations. This represents micro- and/or
macro cracking.

Functional requirements with relation to concrete structures


Walls of liquid retaining structures, such as tunnels and basements are desired (preferred) to
remain crack free.

The development of high performance types of concrete


In order to benefit from the specific properties of high performance concretes, one has to be
convinced that these properties are obtained. This asks for an accurate control of the
hardening process.

The availability of high performance pc-computers


The introduction of (rapid) personal computers made it possible to describe and calculate the
complex behaviour of hardening concrete more accurately. This fact generates a need for
more interest in the hardening stage and a move towards increasingly strictly formulated
requirements.

For all these cases, emphasis is on the hardening process and the associated phenomena such as
temperature, strength and stress development and finally, cracking. Besides the presence of
thermal stresses, the use of low water-cement ratio concretes substantially contributes to the
development of stresses due to autogenous shrinkage (see section 7.6.3.).

7.2 Stress development and cracking in hardening concrete


The mechanism responsible for the development of stresses and the formation of cracks in
hardening concrete is known qualitatively. Also in the field of the qualification of the behaviour
of hardening concrete, much is achieved. Nevertheless, there still exist a number of problems,
especially when it comes to the practical applications of the achieved understandings. It is a
highly complex problem, where we have to deal with the highly non-linear behaviour of the

material. Without the help of adequate numerical tools, quantification of this behaviour is
impossible.
Factors that play an important role for the quantification of the stress development and the
probability of cracking in early-age concrete are:

The temperature development T(t)


The development of the thermal properties
- heat conduction coefficient
- specific heat
- expansion coefficient
The hardening shrinkage
The development of mechanical properties
- compressive and tensile strength
- elastic modulus
Rheology properties
- creep
- relaxation
Mechanical boundary conditions (degree of restraint and deformations)

The factors mentioned, i.e. properties, show a time dependency. It is better to say that there exists
a relationship with the development (progress) of the hydration or hardening process. An accurate
description of the hydration process is therefore indispensable for achieving a consistent
description of the behaviour of hardening concrete.
The hardening process of concrete is the result of a chemical-physical reaction of cement and
water. This is an exothermic reaction, which is a reaction during which heat is liberated. Due to
this liberated heat, the temperature of the concrete rises (Fig. 7.1a) and the concrete expands. The
strain increment (T()) developed is:

(T ( )) = c T ( )
In which:

(7.1)

c
= expansion coefficient of concrete
T() = temperature increment at time t =

Besides the temperature induced strains, deformations due to swelling and/or hardening
shrinkage might also occur. This issue is discussed in more detail in section 7.6. The hardening
shrinkage, which is almost equal to the autogenous shrinkage aush (see section 7.6.4) plays an
important role for low water cement ratio concretes.
For the total deformation increment of concrete in the hardening stage at time t = it holds:

T + aush = c T ( ) + aush

(7.2)

If this deformation is restrained, stresses develop according to (Fig. 2.1.d):

(t ,=
) ( c T ( ) + aush ( )) Ec ( ) r ( )

(7.3)

where:

(t,) = stress increment at loading time t =


Ec() = elastic modulus of concrete at loading time t =
r()
= degree of restraint of the deformation at loading time (r = 0,0 .. 1,0)
temp. (C)

Strain increment at time t()

T(t)

T ( )

(T ( )) = c T ( )

To

a. temperature distribution T (t)

aush

shrinkage

b. autogenous shrinkage aush (t) ( ~hardening shrinkage)


function of degree of hydratation
Ec

Ec ( )

c. elastic modulus Ec (t)

(t , ) = [ (T ( )) + aush ( ) ] (t , ) Ec ( ) r ( )

(,t) = relaxation factor


r() = degree of restraint

()

(t,)

t <

compression

d. stress increment ( )

stress =

( )

time

tension

Probability of cracking = P{(t) fctm(t)}

tensile strength = ctm


f
(t)
normal distribution

e. stress versus tensile strength

Fig. 7.1

The mechanism that leads to stress development and cracking in hardening concrete.

Due to the influence of relaxation, stresses are reduced in accordance with (Fig. 7.1d):

(t , ) = [ (T ( )) + aush ( )] (t , ) Ec ( ) r ( )
where:

(7.4)

(t,) = resulting stress increment at time t >


(t,) = relaxation factor

Stress reduction due to relaxation is an important issue in hardening concrete. Relaxation factors
traditionally applied for the description of the stress development in hardened concrete are not
applicable. The relaxation behaviour of hardening concrete, therefore, requires due attention (see
section 7.8.2)
Summation of the stress increments (t,) results in the overall (tensile) stress ct(t) according
to:
i

ct (t ) = (t , i )

(7.5)

Cracking occurs whenever the tensile stresses ct(t) exceeds the actual tensile strength (Fig. 7.1e).
Expressed as a formula:

P{Fcr }(t ) = P{ ct (t ) < f ct (t )}


where:

P{Fcr}(t)
ct(t)
fct(t)

(7.6)

= probability of cracking at time t


= tensile stress at time t (summation of the stress
increments (t,))
= tensile strength at time t

As mentioned before, the description of the hydration process is the basis for the description of
the behaviour of hardening concrete. The quantification of the hydration process is discussed in
more detail in the following sections.

7.3 The hydration process


7.3.1 Processes and mechanisms
One can imagine the hardening process very schematically as follows. As soon as cement and
water come into contact, a thin layer of reaction products forms at the surface of the cement
particles (Fig. 7.2). This is called a phase-boundary reaction. Initially, the reaction process is
retarded quite significantly due to the precipitation of the reaction products at the surface of the
cement particles. The period during which hardly any observable reaction activity is exhibited, is
called the dormant stage. The duration of this dormant stage is influenced substantially by means
of addition of reaction accelerators or retarders. The duration of the dormant stage ranges from
several hours up to more than twenty hours.
At the end of the dormant stage, the reaction process changes towards the acceleration period. In
a relatively short time, a substantial part of the cement reacts with water. Within this process, the

layer of hydration products around the cement particles becomes thicker and particles are in
contact with each other. After this stage, the process becomes diffusion controlled.
A microstructure develops, existing of unhydrated cement, hydration products (gel) and a
(capillary) pore system, partly filled with water. The gel consists of a solid material and water
filled gel pores. This gel water is physically bound to the surface of the gel particles. After a
certain period, the acceleration stage changes towards the ceasing stage.
1.0

Qmax
degree of hydration

0.5

heat-development Q ( )

degree of hydration

h ()

Q*max

h () =

Q ( )
Qmax

acceleration period
hydratationcurveh (t)

degree of reaction
de-celeration period

dormant stage

r () =
0

Fig. 7.2

h ( ):

r ( )

Q ( )
Q*max

time (t)

Schematic representation of different characteristic stages during hydration.

7.3.2 The degree of hydration


The ratio of the amount of cement converted into reaction products and the originally available
amount of cement is called the degree of hydration h (Fig. 7.3):

amount of hydrated cement (Vce (0) Vce ()) at time t =

h =
originally available amount of cement Vce (0)

(7.7)

When it is assumed that the amount of liberated heat is proportional to the amount of cement that
has reacted, the degree of hydration can also be presented with the ratio:

h ( ) =

where: Q()
Qmax

Q( )
Qmax

(7.8)

= the amount of liberated heat at time t =


= the amount of liberated heat at complete hydration of all available cement.

V
Vcw

Vg

h =

Vce (0)

Vce (0) - Vce


Vce (0)

= air volume

Vcw

= volume of capillary water

Vg

= gel volume

Vce

= original unhydrated cement volume

Vce(0) = original total cement volume

Vce

Fig. 7.3

Vl

Schematic representation of the degree of hydration h().

The amount of heat developed at complete hydration depends on the type of cement. For Portland
cement in particular, the value of Qmax is between 350 and 500 J/g cement. A relatively high
C3A 1) and/or C3S2) content results in a high value of Qmax. A high amount of C2S3) provides a
lower and slower heat development.
Depending on the type of cement, a water-cement ratio (wcr) of about 0,4 is theoretically required
to obtain complete hydration of all the cement present. In practice however, a wcr of 0,4 does not
result in complete hydration. Fig. 7.4 provides an impression of the maximum degree of
hydration h,max expected in practice as a function of the wcr. For finer cements, higher values for
h,max can be achieved and for more coarse cements lower values for h,max will be reached than
the results presented in the figure suggest.
1.0

degree of hydration

0.8
0.6
0.4
0.2
0

Fig. 7.4

1)

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8

1.0
wcr

Practical values for maximum degree of hydration in concrete as a function of the


wcr [1].

C3A = Three-calcium aluminum; 2) C3S = three-calcium silicate; 3) C2S = two-calcium silicate

7.3.3 Degree of reaction


In the literature, the term degree of reaction r is sometimes used. The degree of reaction is
defined as the ratiot between the amount of heat liberated Q() and the (practical) maximum
liberated amount of heat Q*max (see also Fig. 7.2):

r ( ) =

Q( )
Q* max

(7.9)

For Q*max, the amount of heat liberated after 28 days of hardening can be used or, instead, the
value determined in an adiabatic hydration test after e.g. 7 days of hardening. After this period,
the hydration process almost ceases. As a result of this, the sum of the heat produced hardly
changes.
For a certain mixture, i.e. a mixture with a certain wcr, an unambiguous linear relationship
between the degree of reaction and the degree of hydration exists:

r ( ) =

Qmax
h ( )
Q* max

(7.10)

Based on Fig. 7.4, it is seen that, for most commonly used concrete mixtures in practice with
wcrs ranging between 0,40 and 0,55, a degree of reaction of 100% corresponds with a degree of
hydration between 0,7 and 0,8. For low water-cement ratio mixtures, like high strength concrete
(wcr 0,3), the degree of hydration is limited to about 0,5 0,6. The high strength of these
concretes is therefore not a result of the high degree of hydration, but is the result of a high
packing density of the particles.

7.4 Temperature calculation in hardening concrete


7.4.1 Adiabatic temperature rise
In case all heat liberated is used for heating the concrete itself, it is called an adiabatic process.
The temperature follows a so-called adiabatic temperature rise. This adiabatic temperature rise is
calculated from:

Ta (t ) =
where:

T(t)
C
c
cc

h (t ) C Qmax
c cc

= adiabatic temperature rise at time t


= cement content of the concrete
= specific mass of the concrete
= specific heat of the concrete

(7.11)
[C]
[kg/m3]
[kg/m3]
[kJ/kg.C]

To illustrate this, Table 7.1 provides an example of an adiabatic temperature rise in a normal
strength concrete mixture.

temperature [C]

1.0
0.9
0.8
0.7
0.6
0.5
0.4
0.3
0.2
0.1

Tadi

T0

Fig. 7.5

degree of hydration

h (adi)

time

Adiabatic hydration process and temperature rise schematic view.

The heat capacity c cc [kJ/m3 C] of hardening concrete is, strictly speaking, not a constant value,
but is a function of the degree of hydration. If, to avoid complexities, the heat capacity were a
constant (which, for most practical applications, is acceptable) a linear relation exists between the
adiabatic temperature rise and the degree of hydration. This implies that both have the same
course in time (Fig. 7.5). For this particular case, the adiabatic temperature rise is often used to
determine the degree of reaction, using a so-called adiabatic calorimeter.
Table 7.1 Example of adiabatic temperature rise calculation
Input parameters:

Heat capacity:
Max. degree of hydration:
Max heat production:
Cement content:

Question:

Adiabatic temperature rise Ta

c.cc = 2500 kJ/m3C


h = 0,8
Qmax = 450 kJ/kg
C = 350 kg/m3

The adiabatic temperature rise is (formula (7.11)):


Ta = 0,8 . 350 . 450 / 2500 = 50,4 C
The heat transfer to the surroundings prevented, the temperature of a concrete cast at 15 C would
rise up to about 65 C!

7.4.2 Shape of the adiabatic curve


The adiabatic hydration curve, or simply speaking the adiabatic curve, is an important input
parameter for computer software to calculate the temperature development in hardening concrete
structures. More and more (besides the traditional mix characteristics as slump and flow), a
concrete producer might also be asked to provide an adiabatic curve of a concrete mixture. One
should be aware that the shape of the experimentally determined adiabatic curve always depends
on the initial (casting) temperature of the mixture!

The shape of the adiabatic curve also depends on the following set of factors:
Chemical composition of the cement
Particle size distribution of the cement (Blaine)
Water-cement ratio
Cement content
Temperature
Availability of agents (accelerators, retarders)
In Fig. 7.6, for three different concrete mixtures, the adiabatic heat development is presented as a
function of time. It concerns a normal strength concrete (C = 350 kg/m3 Portland cement), a high
strength concrete (C = 475 kg/m3) and a Granulate concrete (C = 150 kg/m3 blast furnace slag
cement CEM III/B). The latter two adiabatic curves provide a clear impression of the range of
adiabatic temperature rises to be expected.
Fig. 7.7 provides three adiabatic curves for Portland fly ash cement for three different casting
temperatures. What is striking is that a lower casting temperature initially shows a lower heat
development, but in the longer run shows an increase of the heat production. The cause of this
phenomenon is the influence of the hardening temperature on the structure of the hydration
products formed [2].
80

temperature [C]
b

concrete characteristics

60

a. C25/C35
b. C85
c. granulate concrete

40
c

20
0

Fig. 7.6

24

48

72

96

120

144
168
time [hours]

Adiabatic temperature rise for three concrete mixtures [19].

50

adiabatic temperature rise T [K]


TA 51
TA 52

40

TA 53

30

20
T0=30

20 10

10

0
0

Fig. 7.7

1 2345

12

24

36 48

72

96

120
168
time [hours]

Adiabatic temperature rise at different casting temperatures.

7.4.3 The semi-adiabatic hardening process


In case of practical circumstances (depending on the dimensions of a structure and/or the
presence of cooling pipes), heat is transferred to the surroundings with elapse of time. The
hydration process then no longer is adiabatic. The temperature of the concrete decreases and the
hydration process will retard. A hardening process that initially is adiabatic and shows indications
of retardation is a semi-adiabatic process. In Fig. 7.8, both the development of an adiabatic and a
semi-adiabatic hydration process are schematically presented. The semi-adiabatic process takes
place at the indicated semi-adiabatic temperature development Tp(t).
temperature ( C)

h (t)
0.5
Tsemi adi

degree of hydratation

h (t)

1.0

adiabatic curve

time

Fig. 7.8

Semi-adiabatic hardening process schematically.

The course of a semi-adiabatic hydration process, also called the process curve, is determined by
the temperature Tp(t) at which the reaction process takes place. Oppositely, the temperature on its
turn depends, among other things, on the amount of heat produced per unit of time. Thus, the
temperature development and the heat development are coupled quantities.

10

The mutual dependency between the rate of hydration and the concrete temperature implies that
the calculations of both the temperature development and the hardening process are to be carried
out using a step-wise calculation procedure in which the effect of the actual temperature and the
rate of reaction are modelled explicitly.

7.4.4 Hydration and temperature development in a hardening


concrete structure
For determining the development of the hydration process (i.e. the degree of hydration) and the
temperature development in a hardening concrete structure, use is made of the differential
equation of Fourier including a heat source. For a one-dimensional heat flow, it holds:

1
T
2T
q ( x, t )
= ac 2 +
c . cc c
t
x

(7.12)

where ac is the temperature levelling coefficient according to:

ac =

where:

ac
c
cc
c
T(x,t)
qc(x,t)
x
t

c
c . cc

= temperature levelling coefficient


= heat conduction coefficient
= specific heat of the concrete
= specific mass of the concrete
= temperature of the concrete
= heat source
= coordinate
= time

(7.13)

[m2/h]
[W/m.K]
[kJ/kg.K]
[kg/m3]
[K]
[kJ/m3.h]
[m]
[h]

With qc(x,t) = Qc(x,t) / t and the transition towards a finite difference approach, the differential
equation is expressed as:

Qc ( x, t )
T
2T
1
+

= ac
2
c . cc
t
t
(x)

(7.14)

where Qc(x,t) [kJ/m3] is the heat development within a time step t. The temperature at time
t+t is found by adding the temperature rise caused by the heat liberation Qc(x,t) to the
temperature T(t). This temperature rise is calculated by dividing the amount of heat Qc(x,t)
liberated within a time step t by the heat capacity c.cc.
For this particular case, the heat increment Qp(x,t), in which the index p implies the process,
can be determined according to (see Fig. 7.9):

Qa; j+1 = Qp; j+1 f ( h; j , Tp; j )

(7.15)

11

where f(h;j,Tp;j) is the Arrhenius-based relation:

f ( h; j , Tp; j ) = e

E A (Tp; j ) Ta; j Tp; j

R
Ta; j Tp; j

(7.16)

where:
EA(Tp)
R
Qa;j+1
Qp;j+1
Ta;j
Tp;j

= (apparent) activation energy


[J/mol]
= universal gas constant
[8,31 J/mol.K]
= heat development in time step tj+1 in the adiabatic process
= heat development in time step tj+1 in the semi-adiabatic process
= temperature in K at an adiabatic process at time tj
= temperature in K where the process actually happens at time tj

The quantity f(h;j,Tp;j) relates the rate at which the hydration process takes place to the rate at
which the process would take place if the conditions were adiabatical (see Fig. 7.9).
Qmax

Q (t)

temperature (C)

t j+1

Qa;j+1
Ta;j
Tp;j

Qp;j+1

Qa;j
Qp;j

T0

tj

tj+1

t j+1

Fig. 7.9

time

Procedure to determine the rate of hydration in a non-adiabatic process schematic.

7.4.5 Apparent activation energy


The reliability of the calculated temperature development and rate of reaction strongly depend on
the activation energy EA adopted. This quantity accounts for the temperature sensitivity of the
hydration process. A high activation energy implies a high temperature sensitivity.
The activation energy is not a constant, but depends on the chemical composition of the cement,
the degree of hydration and the temperature range considered [2]. An indication for the range of
the activation energy is in Fig. 7.10. For many practical cases, the following values for the
activation energy can be used [3]:

For T 20 C:
For T < 20 C:

EA = 33.5 kJ/mol
EA = 33.5 + 1.47(20-T) kJ/mol

12

Krel

b
EA =50 kJ/mol

EA =35 kJ/mol

EA =30 kJ/mol

a. Danish cement
b. Swedish cements

0.5
0
0
273

Fig. 7.10

EA =45 kJ/mol

10

20
293

30

40

50

60

70 C

313

K
333
temperature

Temperature function Krel = f(h,T) for different values of the apparent activation
energy EA.

A quantitatively comparable result as achieved with formula (7.16) is obtained with the relation:
Ta Tp

f ( h , Tp ) = g

10

(7.17)

where g is a temperature sensitivity factor. This expression is comparable to the one used for
the activation energy EA. The g-value depends on the temperature, the degree of hydration and
the chemical composition of the cement. With g-values between 1,6 and 2,2, in general good
results are obtained.
To solve the differential equation of Fourier with a heat source, solution procedures described in
chapter 2 are used. The temperature rise due to heat liberation in a certain time step and at a
certain location is accounted for in each time step. The result of a temperature calculation in
hardening concrete is given in table 7.2.

13

Table 7.2 Summary of temperature calculation in hardening concrete.


The output of a temperature calculation as described previously is twofold.
Calculated are:
The temperature T(x,t)

h(x,t+1)

T(x,t+1)

The degree of hydration h(x,t)


h(x,t)
T(x,t)

temperature T(x,t)

degree of hydratation

h(x,t)

The degree of hydration is the most important parameter for the description of the material
properties. These concern the thermal, physical and mechanical properties.

The accuracy of the temperature calculation depends, at given thermal boundary conditions,
on the accuracy when describing the temperature sensitivity of the reaction process and the
development of the thermal properties.

7.4.6 Effect of thermal boundary conditions on temperature


development

7.4.6.1 Influence on the heat transfer coefficient


With the presence of for example a formwork or an insulating layer with a thickness di and a
heat-conduction coefficient i, the resulting heat transfer coefficient res is found by:
i
1
1
d
=
+ i
res m 1 i

(7.18)

where m is the heat-conduction coefficient of, e.g., the formwork material and the surroundings,
i.e. air.

7.4.6.2 Wind effect during hardening


When wind blows along the hardened concrete surface, additional cooling takes place. An
indication of the effect of the transfer coefficient, i.e. the wind speed, on the temperature
development in a hardening concrete element can be deduced from Fig. 7.11a-b. A 1 m thick
concrete plate is cast on a soil foundation. The plates topside is assumed to be exposed to the
surrounding air. The plate is constructed from high strength concrete, 475 kg/m3 cement (50%
Portland cement and 50% Blast furnace slag cement), 25 kg/m3 silica fume and cast at a
temperature of 20 C.

14

70

temperature ( C)
(W/m2 K)
5
15
25

middle

60

1.0

floor thicknes (m) top side


(W/m2 K)
5
15
25

0.8

50

0.6

40

0.4
0.2

30
top side

7 days

20
0

24

48

72

96

120 144 168


time (hours)

a. Temperature development in time

Fig. 7.11

0
20

30

3 days

40

1 day

50
60
70
temperature ( C)

b. Temperature development versus height

Effect of the heat transfer coefficient on the temperature development in a 1 m thick


hardening concrete plate made of high strength concrete.

The temperature development is calculated for transfer coefficients of about 5, 15 and 25 W/m2K,
associated with wind speeds of 0, 2 and 5 m/s. Fig. 7.11a gives the temperature development for
different transfer coefficients in time, for both the centre and the top side of the concrete plate.
Fig. 7.11b provides the temperature development over the thickness of the concrete plate at three
different ages, i.e. 1, 3 and 7 days. In order to show the effect of the thermal boundary conditions
most explicitly, a high cement content mixture is investigated.
It is quite clear that the presence of a surface wind results in a significant increase of the
temperature differences in a concrete cross-section. As a result of the temperature decrease at the
surface, the hardening process evolves more slowly. The elastic modulus also develops more
slowly. This is a positive by-effect since it results in a more moderate development of the thermal
stresses in this surface zone. Thanks to the moderate development of the stresses, stress relaxation
is more effective. Quantification of the different influences on the stress development requires the
use of advanced numerical programs.

15

80

surface temperature ( C)
with solar radiation, no formwork
with solar radiation, removal of
formwork after 48 hours

60

40

20
no solar radiation, no formwork
no solar radiation, removal of
formwork after 48 hours

0
0

Fig. 7.12

20

40

60

80

100
120
time (hours)

Effect of solar radiation on the temperature development in a hardening concrete wall


cast in high strength concrete [27].

7.4.6.3 Solar radiation


During the first stage of hardening, also when formwork is present, solar radiation might
influence the hydration process of concrete significantly. The additional input of heat namely
stimulates the reaction process and leads to an additional temperature increase of 10 C or even
more. Fig. 7.12 provides an example of the influence of solar radiation of the maximum
temperature in a 0,16 m thick concrete wall cast in high strength concrete. Due to the effect of
solar radiation, the temperature rise is about 10C higher than without the influence of solar
radiation. As a result of this, the temperature drop will also be 10 C larger. This might result in a
substantial increase of the probability of cracking.

7.5 Thermal properties of hardening concrete


In the differential equation of Fourier, the temperature leveling coefficient ac is determined
according to (formula (7.13)):

ac =

c
c . cc

It represents the rate at which the heat transport takes place. During hardening, the structure of the
concrete will change, and, as a result, also the heat conduction coefficient c and the specific heat
cc .
In the literature, contradictory data is given on the change of the heat conduction coefficient c
with elapse of the hydration process. It seems that with an ongoing degree of hydration, a slight
increase of about 10 % looks reasonable.
For the specific heat cc at increasing degree of hydration, a slight decrease is observed.

16

A slight increase of the heat conduction coefficient and a reduction of the specific heat results in
an almost constant value of the temperature leveling coefficient ac. For practical applications it is,
therefore, often allowed to adopt a constant value for the thermal properties of concrete. For
fundamental research, however, the changes in the heat diffusion coefficient during progress of
the hydration process should be accounted for.

7.6 Deformations in hardening concrete


The hardening process of concrete goes along with deformational changes. These changes can be
attributed to different causes such as:

Thermal changes
Plastic shrinkage
Chemical shrinkage
Autogenous shrinkage
Expansion of reaction products
Expansion due to moisture adsorption (submerged hardening)

Restraining the expansion caused by the expanding reaction products in the early age of
hardening and the moisture adsorption, results in relatively low compressive stresses. Since the
stiffness of the concrete is still very small at that time, the compressive stresses will also be quite
low. In this report, these stresses will not be considered. Special types of cement have been
developed of which swelling is a main characteristic. An example is the American type K cement.
Swell cements, as well as the phenomenon of swelling, as holds for normal cements, will not be
considered.

7.6.1 Linear expansion coefficient c


As for hardened concrete, the expansion coefficient of hardening concrete is a function of the
expansion coefficients of the mix constituents. Since the cubic expansion coefficient of water is
much larger than the coefficient for concrete (about 5 times), the deformations in the early age of
hardening mainly depend on the presence of water. In this stage of hardening, the stiffness of the
concrete is still very low. The resulting stresses will therefore also be very low. In addition to this,
there is also a substantial stress relaxation. It seems therefore allowed for practical purposes, to
adopt a constant value for the expansion coefficient. Other indicative values of the linear
expansion coefficient are in section 2.5.

17

r.v.
(%
) 10
70 80 90 0

n
co
e te
cr
m
te
pe
t
ra
( C

5 0 60

e
ur
) 40
35

40

30

30

25
20
10

40

35

40

km
/h
)

25

30

20

sp
ee
d(

15

wi
nd

rate of evaporation (kg/m2.h)

5 10
20
30
air temperature ( C)

10
5

1
0

Fig. 7.13

Evaporation rate as a function of different influential factors.

stress N/mm2

stress N/mm2
fct1

fct

fct2

capillary

capillary

crack development

no cracking

time

Fig. 7.14

time

Development of tensile stress and tensile strength of early age concrete.

18

7.6.2 Plastic shrinkage


Inside the freshly cast concrete, the heaviest parts of the mixture tend to move downwards under
the influence of the gravitational forces. As a result, water moves upwards. Especially for floor
slabs, a thin water layer is often present on top of the concrete surface directly after casting. This
phenomenon is the more pronounced when the concrete is vibrated after casting. Depending on
the surrounding conditions (wind, temperature), this water layer evaporates more or less rapid.
Fig. 7.13 gives an indication of the rate of evaporation as a function of a number of relevant
influential factors.
In case of a high evaporation rate, the thin water layer might disappear completely and plastic
shrinkage is very likely to occur. The background of this phenomenon is the presence of an
under-pressure in the fresh concrete. Imagine young concrete as being a system of a high number
of water-filled pores. Initially, in the water-saturated system, a hydrostatic pressure is present.
When the surface water evaporates, hollow menisci develop in the pores, similar to the one in the
well know experiment with Torricellis tube. If this test is performed by inserting a tube into a
closed water-filled box, an under-pressure develops inside this box. Quite similar, an underpressure develops in the young, still plastic, concrete. This under-pressure results in tensile
stresses in the hardening mass. If these tensile stresses exceed the actual concrete tensile strength,
cracking appears (Fig. 7.14). In floor slabs with a thickness of 400 mm, cracks might easily
develop over full slab thickness (through cracks).
Note: Plastic shrinkage is not to be confused with drying shrinkage.
Preventing measures
A simple and often used measure to avoid plastic cracking is keeping the concrete wet during
hardening. This is achieved by supplying water on top of the concretes surface or by preventing
moisture loss (evaporation). For this purpose, the concrete surface can be covered with a carpet,
plastic cover or a foil layer, or by applying a curing compound (curing compound: a hydrophobic
liquid to be sprayed on top of the concretes surface directly after casting to act as a vapor-loss
preventing layer through which the water in the concrete can not escape).

7.6.3 Chemical shrinkage


The volume of the hydration products (the gel) is smaller than the product of both the individual
reacting components cement and water. This volume reduction is denoted as chemical shrinkage
(in German: Chemisches Schrumpfen). Chemical shrinkage represents itself mainly by the
formation of capillary pores in the cement stone and hardly as an outer deformational change.
Therefore, negligible or no stresses are generated on a macro-scale level.
Chemical shrinkage corresponds to about 25% of the volume of the chemically bound water of a
hydration reaction. The chemically bound water corresponds to about 25% of the weight of the
reacted cement. If no additional water comes from the surroundings, the volume reduction
induced capillary spaces are filled with water vapor or air.

19

7.6.4 Autogenous shrinkage


With progress of the hydration process, the water available reacts slowly. This process results in
emptying the pore system. At first, water from the largest pores in the system reacts, followed
by water from the smaller ones. One can also say that the water withdraws itself into the smaller
pores. This is like a drying process, where no exchange of moisture takes place with the
surroundings. In the English literature, this process is denoted self desiccation. For low water
cement ratios (wcr < 0.5 [13]), this self drying results in volume reduction. In the German
literature, it is called Chemisches Schwinden. In contrast with chemical shrinkage, from now
on, we will denote it as autogenous shrinkage.
The German differentiation between Chemisches Schrumpfen and Chemisches Schwinden makes clear that we deal
with two different phenomena. However, the term Chemisches Schwinden suggests somehow that we deal with a
chemically-based shrinkage process, whereas it should be considered much more as a process with a physical i.e.
thermo-dynamical origin. On the other hand, it is a fact that autogenous shrinkage is connected with chemical
shrinkage. However, on a macro-scale level, effects are often combined and denoted hardening shrinkage. This
combination is assumed to represent autogenous shrinkage. For the sake of convenience, the external deformations
from chemical shrinkage are then neglected.

Table 7.3

The porosity of fully hydrated cement.

Complete hydration of cement theoretically requires a water cement ratio of 0,4. At hydration of
X grams of cement, 0,15 X grams of water are physically bound and 0,25 X grams are bound
chemically. 0,25 X gram water has a volume of 0,25 X cm3. The volume reduction of the
hydration products with respect to the volume of the individual components is:
V = 0,25 0,25 X cm3 = 0,0625 X cm3
Expressed in volumetric percentages of completely hydrated cement, in which no free water is
available anymore, for the porosity P op the hardened cement it holds:

P
=

V
100%
=
X wcf X
+
ce
w

0, 0625 X
100%
= 8, 6%
X 0, 4 X
+
3,1 1, 0

where ce and w are the specific mass of cement and water, respectively.
Autogenous shrinkage manifests itself mainly for water-cement ratios below 0,4. For a cement
paste with a wcr of 0,4, Grube [13] measured an autogenous shrinkage of about 0,710-3 after 28
days of hardening. For normal strength concrete, autogenous shrinkage is about 1/6 of the
shrinkage of cement paste. In this case, aush = 0,1210-3. This is about the cracking strain of
concrete!
Large autogenous shrinkage occurs in high strength concrete. In Fig. 7.15, values of the
autogenous shrinkage of cement paste and concrete are given for different values of the wcr. In
Fig. 7.16, the autogenous shrinkage is a function of the degree of hydration. There is a strong
correlation between the autogenous shrinkage and the degree of hydration at low wcrs.

20

0
wcr-SF-SP1
0.40- 0- 0

1000
0.30- 0- 0
0.23- 0- 0.6

2000

autogenous shrinkage (x10-6)

expansion
(x10-6)
autogenous shrinkage (x10-6)

1000

500

days
21 28 42 70 100

wcr- SF- ad
0.20-10-0.75
0.30-10-0.40
0.30- 0- 0.40
0.50- 0- 0.14

0.23-10- 0.6

3000

legend
SF = silica fume
SP = super plasticizer
0.17-10- 2.0

4000

Fig. 7.15

1 2 4 7

21 42 100
days

Autogenous shrinkage of cement paste (left) and concrete (right) for different wcrs
[24]. (Note: be aware of the differences in scale).
-0.25

autogenous shrinkage (x10 -3)

-0.20

-0.15

-0.10
-0.05

0
0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4
0.5
0.6
degrees of hydration

Fig. 7.16 Autogenous shrinkage of high strength concrete as a function of the degree of hydration
[4]. Note: For any concrete mixture, the autogenous shrinkage might differ
substantially.
Grube [13] remarks that autogenous shrinkage, i.e. shrinkage due to self-drying, also has a
positive effect, in particular when the frost resistance and heat loading are concerned. In those
cases, the self-drying introduces pore spaces that either act as an additional expansion capacity in
case of ice formation or store the expanding water vapor.

21

7.7 Development of mechanical properties of young concrete


7.7.1 Compressive strength
For the description of the compressive strength of concrete, use can be made of the following
concepts:
1. The maturity concept
2. The degree of hydration concept
3. Codes and Standards (e.g. CEB/FIP MC90)
The maturity concept is often used in practice. The degree of hydration concept is a more recent
development, at least as far as the application in practice is concerned. Some codes give
guidelines for including the effect of temperature on the strength development. Mostly, these
guidelines are conceptual. For a description of the strength development in the very early age of
hardening, these guidelines are often inadequate.

7.7.1.1 The Maturity concept


The principle
The maturity concept gives a relation between the compressive strength fc and the maturity M.
The concept maturity as such is ambiguous. One has to check for each case which specific
method to use. In the original definition of Saul et al. [5], the maturity M [C.h] is the product of
the temperature and the hardening period (Fig. 7.17a):
t

M = (T (t ) + Tr )dt [C.h]

(7.19)

where T(t) is the concrete temperature at time t and Tr is the reference temperature. For the
reference temperature, Saul adopted a value Tr= -10C. For the maturity as considered, there is a
linear relationship between the strength and the logarithm of the maturity (Fig. 7.17b).
temperature ( C)

fc cm

t
T (t)

T
0
-10

time

a. Temperature as a function of time

Fig. 7.17

n (maturity) (C.h)
b. Strength as a function of the logarithm of maturity

Principle of the Maturity method [5].

22

The calibration curve


In order to be able to work with the maturity concept in practice, the relationship between the
concrete used and its strength must be determined on beforehand. To do so, the compressive
strength should be determined on cubic specimens that harden at a constant temperature, i.e. the
control temperature. This provides the so-called calibration curve (Fig. 7.17b). The control
temperature is mostly 20C.
Weighted maturity
Different researchers have found that the linear relationship, as proposed by Saul, does not hold
for any arbitrary type of concrete. This has resulted in the introduction of several modifications to
the original concept, e.g. Bergstrm [6], Plowman [7], Papadakis [8], Bresson [9] and Carino
[10]. A number of these modified methods is known as weighted maturity methods (in Dutch:
gewogen rijpheid). A Dutch alternative for the weighted maturity method was developed at
40

temperature ( C)

30
20
10
0
-10
0

Fig. 7.18

n
n
n
n
nnnn-

1.5
1
0.5
0
0.5
1
1.5
2

20
40
time of hardening (hours)

Graph with n-values used to calculate the weighted maturity Mw according to the
CEMIJ-method [11].

Table 7.4 C-values for Dutch cements (method CEMIJ) (e.g. [11]).
Cement type
Notation
Strength
Characteristics
C-value
Blast furnace slag
cement
Blast furnace slag
cement Blast furnace
slag cement Blast
furnace slag cement

Portland cement
Portland cement
Portland cement

CEM III/B
CEM III/B
CEM III/B
CEM III/B

42,5
42,5
42,5
42,5

CEM I
CEM I
CEM I
CEM II- B-V

LH HS
LH HS plus
LH HS

Old cement
notation

1,65
1,65
1,50
1,45

A
B
A
B

32,5
42,5
52,5

1,30
1,30
1,30

A
B
C

32,5

1,30

Portland Fly ash


cement

the Cement plant IJmuiden (CEMIJ) and is known as the method De Vree (see [11]).
According to the CEMIJ-method, the weighted maturity Mw is directly determined using an
expression that replaces the calculation time intensive integral from equation (7.19) (see Fig.
7.18):

23

M w = On .C n [C.h]

(7.20)

where On is an integral surface increment [C.h] to which a value n is linked. The n is the power
of the C-value in the calculation of the weighted maturity. In table 7.4, different indicative Cvalues are given. By using these so-called weight values in the calculation, there is a linear
relationship between the (weighted) maturity and the strength.
Application in practice
The maturity method (CEMIJ-method) is described very accurately in CUR-recommendation 9
[12]. The potential of the method comes from its easy application. After having determined the
calibration curve, the temperature is measured, followed by a calculation of the (weighted)
maturity and, finally, the strength. The strength follows from the calibration curve. For a more
extensive description of the maturity method, reference is made to the literature [11,12,14].
Remarks:
1. The term maturity is sometimes used to indicate the degree of hydration [15]. By doing so, things become
obscured. The maturity is a parameter with dimension [C.h], whereas the degree of hydration is a dimensionless
quantity that ranges from 0 to 1,0, or 0 to 100% respectively.
2. Instead of using the measured temperature to determine the maturity, the calculated temperature can also be used.
In this way, one can simulate all kinds of boundary conditions in the design stage of a project. The results might
be a basis for the choice of a concrete mixture, casting procedure or time of removal of the formwork.

7.7.1.2 Temperature effect on strength development CEB/FIB MC90


In the CEB/FIP MC90 [31] (the basis for EN 1992-1-1), the strength development is written as:

f cm (t ) = cc f cm

(7.21)

where:

cc (t ) = e
where: fcm(t)
fcm
cc(t)
t
t1
s

28

s 1
t / t1

0,5

(7.22)

= mean compressive cylinder strength after t days


[N/mm2]
= mean compressive cylinder strength after 28 days
[N/mm2]
= coefficient, depending on the age t
= age of concrete [d] (if necessary corrected for the hardening temperature acc. to
formula (7.23))
= 1 (with regard to dimensions)
[d]
= cement depending coefficient
0,20 : for rapid hardening cement
0,25 : for normal hardening cement
0,38 : for slowly hardening cement

These formulae are valid within the temperature range -20C to + 40C. For temperatures within
the range from 0C to 80C, a maturity method is given. This method proposes an equivalent time
(in Dutch: equivalente tijd) according to:

24

t (T ) = ti e

4000

13, 65
273+T ( ti ) / T0

(7.23)

i =1

where:

t(T)
T(ti)
ti
T0

= corrected age of concrete


= temperature within time increment ti
= time increment
= 1 (to have consistency of dimensions)

[d]
[C]
[d]
[C]

7.7.1.3 Degree of hydration concept


7.7.1.3a

Compressive strength as a function of the degree of hydration material science


view
At increasing degree of hydration, cement particles are gradually more intense and firmly
connected to one another. Therefore, the degree of hydration is an important parameter with
respect to the strength development of concrete. In a large number of examinations on this topic,
a clear relationship existed between the degree of hydration and the strength development of
concrete. Fig. 7.19 shows some results of Fagerlund [16]. The figure illustrates that, after having
reached the critical degree of hydration 0, the strength increases almost linearly with the progress
of the degree of hydration. The critical degree of hydration 0 turns out to be a function of the
wcr. This was to be expected. After all, for a higher wcr, the degree of hydration must be higher
before the hydrating cement particles are able to bridge the inter-particle distance and are in
contact with each other, which results in strength and stiffness development.

100

concrete compressive strength (fcm)

wcr = 0.3

wcr = 0.4

80
wcr = 0.5

60

wcr = 0.6

40

20

0
0

Fig. 7.19

0.2

0.4

0.6

0.8
1.0
degree of hydration

Compressive strength versus degree of hydration for different wcrs ([16]).

The linear relationship as found by Fagerlund is reconfirmed by a large number of research


projects. Strictly speaking, the relationship is modeled even more accurately when using a 3rd or
4th degree polynomial that crosses the origin and crosses the horizontal axis at 90 degrees. For
practical purposes, the linear relationship, where the strength development commences after
having passed a so-called critical degree of hydration, is sufficiently accurate.

25

7.7.3.1b
Practical applications The UCON-system
Application of the degree of hydration concept to determine the strength development, presupposes that the degree of hydration as well as the relationship between the degree of hydration
and the compressive strength are known. The degree of hydration is relatively easily determined
with the help of special purpose software. The input required for a calculation consists of:
1. The adiabatic hydration curve of the concrete mixture;
2. The concrete temperature during hardening.
That the degree of hydration can be determined using these two input data can easily be seen if
the algorithm, which has been discussed earlier in section 7.4.4 for the determination of the
temperature development, is considered. The calculation algorithm is explained with the help of
Fig. 7.9. In Fig. 7.20, figure 7.9 is shown again, almost without any changes. When explaining
Fig. 7.9, it was stated that the heat increment Qp;j+1 within time step tj+1, can be calculated if
the calculated temperature from the previous time step Tp;j is known. Instead of this calculated
temperature, the measured concrete temperature can be used too. Based on this measured
temperature and the adiabatic hydration curve, exactly the same calculation can be conduced as
described in section 7.4.4. The result of the calculation is the degree of hydration as it develops at
the prevailing temperature conditions within the concrete!
Qmax

Q (t)

1.

temperature (C)

t j+1

2.
Qa;j+1
Ta;j
Tp;j

3.

Qp;j+1

Qa;j

Adiabatic hydration curve


(input: from adiabatic test)
Measured temperature on the
construction site
Calculated degree of hydration

Qp;j
2

T0

tj

tj+1

t j+1

Fig. 7.20

time

Calculation procedure for the determination of the degree of hydration h(t) from the
adiabatic hydration curve and the measured concrete temperature Tp(t).

The software for calculating the degree of hydration from the adiabatic hydration curve and the
measured temperature is part of the UCON-system (Universal Concrete Curing CONtrol system)
developed at the TU Delft [25,29]. Fig. 7.21 presents the UCON-system schematically. The
adiabatic hydration curve is determined experimentally (or numerically [28]) and is imported in
the computer. At pre-assigned locations within the structure, temperature measurements are
performed. Their results are stored in the computer. Based on the imported data, the degree of
hydration is determined for all these locations. For a known and a priori data base stored
relationship between the degree of hydration and the strength, the strength in these particular
locations is determined.
The relationship between the compressive strength and the degree of hydration is determined
quite easily, using results from compressive strength tests on concrete cubes hardened in

26

compliance with a known predefined curing temperature. With assistance of the UCON-system,
the degree of hydration that corresponds with the temperature profile is determined. By
measuring the compressive strength at different times, i.e. different degrees of hydration, the
relation between the degree of hydration and the compressive strength is determined for a specific
concrete.
If the relation between the degree of hydration and the strength is not determined in advance, use
is made of a graph as shown in Fig. 7.19 or by consulting other relations for similar concrete
mixtures from the literature.
It is noted that the relation between the compressive strength and the degree of hydration for high
strength concrete as proposed by Fagerlund, shows and underestimation of the compressive
strength [17]. The reason for this is most likely the effect of silica fume in the concrete. This
aspect was at that time not considered by Fagerlund.

controller

thermocouple

24 72 168 672

concrete
strength

adiabatic bath
computer
adiabatic curve

digital
thermometer

information
temperature

concrete
structure

thermocouples

Fig. 7.21

Schematic representation of the UCON-system [25,29].


Relation strength/degree of hydration (fc/h) acquired priory (from database).
Calculating degree of hydration from adiabatic curve and measured temperature.
Strength obtained from the mixtures fc/h-relation.

27

90

concrete temperature ( C)

80

0.60

adiabatic curve

0.50

70
60

0.40

50

0.30

40

measured temperature
in center of cube 150x150x150 mm

30
20

Fig. 7.22

0.20
0.10

10
0
0

degree of hydration ( h)

10

20

30

40

50
60
time (hours)

0
0

10

20

30

40
50
60
time (hours)

Calculated degree of hydration of a concrete cube at almost isothermal hardening


conditions. Calculation conducted with the UCON-system [29]. Input: measured
adiabatic curve and temperature in cube during hardening.

Fig. 7.22 shows the result of a degree of hydration calculation with the UCON-system. It
concerns a high strength concrete project. The concrete has hardened under isothermal conditions
(process temperature Tp(t)). The adiabatic hydration curve is determined experimentally.

7.7.2 Tensile strength


Just as the compressive strength, the tensile strength is a function of the degree of hydration. Also
for this, a (bi-)linear relationship is found. Fig. 7.23 shows an example.
In practice, similar as to hardened concrete, the tensile strength of hardening concrete is
calculated using its compressive strength. In many cases, the relation used for hardened concrete
turns out to be sufficiently accurate for hardening concrete.
4

tensile splitting strength (N/mm2)


wcr

++
+
+

0.4
0.5

0.6

Fig. 7.23

+
0

20

40
60
80
degree of hydration (%)

Tensile strength as a function of the degree of hydration for different wcrs. Blast
furnace slag cement CEM II. Cement content: 350 kg/m3 [19].

28

7.7.3 Elastic modulus


In the CEB-FIP MC90 [31] the development of the elastic modulus in time is presented as:

Ec (t ) = E (t ) Ec

(7.24)

E (t ) = [ cc (t )] 0,5

(7.25)

where:

where:

Ec(t)
Ec
E(t)
cc(t)

= elastic modulus after t days of hardening


= elastic modulus after 28 days of hardening
= coefficient, depending on the age t
(age of the concrete, eventually corrected for the hardening
temperature according to formula (7.23))
= coefficient according to formula (7.22)

Quite often, the elastic modulus is determined using existing relations between the elastic
modulus and the compressive strength, e.g. VBC (NEN 6720), CEB-FIP Model Code 1990 and
EN 1992-1-1. In the Model Code, it holds:

Ec (t ) = 9500 [f ck (t ) + 8]

1/ 3

(7.26)

where fck(t) is the characteristic concrete compressive strength (prism strength) at time t.
For a more advanced discussion on this issue, use can be made of the theory in which concrete is
a multi-phase material existing of aggregates and cement paste. In this case, the cement paste is a
two-phase system containing un-hydrated cement and hydration products. The resulting elastic
modulus is expressed as a function of the degree of hydration [19].
50000

elastic modulus (N/mm2)


wcr

40000

0.4

+ +

0.5
30000

0.6

20000
10000
0
0

Fig. 7.24

20

40
60
80
degree of hydration (%)

Course of the elastic modulus as a function of the degree of hydration for the
different wcrs. Cement content 350 kg/m3, Blast furnace slag cement CEM II [19].

29

For the relation between the elastic modulus of concrete Ec and the degree of hydration h, Gutsch
proposes [18]:

Ec ( h ) = E0
where:

E0
0

h 0
1 0

(7.27)

= (fictitious) elastic modulus for h = 1,0


= critical degree of hydration

Fig. 7.24 provides an example of the calculated course of the elastic modulus as a function of the
degree of hydration for different wcrs.

7.8 Stresses and probability of cracking in hardening concrete


7.8.1 Stress calculation superposition method
If temperature induced deformations are restrained fully or partly, stresses arise. For the
calculation of these stresses, the superposition principle is assumed to hold. The superposition
principle is shown schematically in Fig. 7.25. The stress at time ti is found by summarizing the
resulting stress increments (j,ti) (j = 1...i). For the stress increments induced by an imposed
thermal deformation, it holds (see also section 7.2):

(ti , j ) = r (ti , j ) c ( h ) T ( j ) Ec ( j )
with:

(ti,j,)
j
r
(ti,j,)
c(h)
T(j)
Ec(j)

(7.28)

= stress increment at time ti


= time of application of the stress increment
= degree of restraint: r = 0 .. 1,0
= relaxation factor
= expansion coefficient of concrete, possibly as a function of the degree
of hydration
= temperature increment during time step j
= elastic modulus (average value during time step j)

30

compression
tension

age

(t) = E

relaxation

Fig. 7.25

Schematic representation of the superposition principle [32].

The resulting stress at time t is found by adding the stress increments as discussed earlier in
section 7.2.

7.8.2 Relaxation
Relaxation has a considerable influence on the stress development. Exact information about this
issue is however very scarce. Some programs take into account the effect of relaxation by
reducing the elastic modulus by 50% during a predefined period. Due to the lack of information,
relaxation is sometimes completely neglected. A relaxation formula that gives acceptably
accurate results for the stresses in hardening concrete holds [26]:

(t , ) = e
with:

n
h
wcr

( t )
(t )
h 1 + 1,34 ( wcr )1,65 d ( t )n h
h ( )
h ( )

(7.29)

= time of applying the stress increment


= constant, depending on the type of cement
slow hardening cement: d = 0,3
rapid hardening cement: d = 0,4
= factor. For compression: n = 0,3; for tension: n = 0,6
(Note: recent research shows better results with n = 0,3 for both compression
and tension)
= degree of hydration
= water cement ratio

With the quotient c/h, the effect of ongoing hydration during the period (t-), is taken into
account in the relaxation formula. If hydration stops (which is when c/h = 1), formula (7.29)
reduces to:

(t , ) = e

1,34 ( wcr )1,65 d ( t )n

(7.30)

31

or:

(t , ) = e a

( t )n

(7.31)

or:

(t , ) = e (t , )
where:

(t,)
a

(7.32)

= the creep factor (basic creep)


= the ageing factor

Fig. 7.26 gives an impression of the relaxation factor (t,) as a function of time. In this figure,
also the course of the degree of hydration is presented. It can be observed clearly that stresses that
develop during the early acceleration stage of the hydration process almost completely vanish.
A disadvantage of the superposition method is the fact that is requires substantial memory
allocation and calculation time. For a one-dimensional problem, the current pcs work out well,
but for the calculation of three-dimensional stress fields, different relaxation formulas
1.0

relaxation factor

(t,)
relaxation curves calculated
with formula (7.29)

0.8

0.6
48 h

0.4

34 h
degree of hydrationh (t)

0.2

24 h
19 h

0
0

Fig. 7.26

40

80

120

160
200
time (hours)

Relaxation curves (t,) for young concrete, calculated with formula (7.29).

should be adopted (rate type). By doing so, substantial computation time reductions can be
reached at the cost of the availability of the stress history that the hardening concrete
experiences. Many multi-dimensional practical problems can be reduced to a one-dimensional
problem and can then be solved using the superposition method.

32

7.8.3 Degree of restraint

7.8.3.1 Some basic principles


An important parameter associated with the calculation of stresses is the degree of restraint of the
deformations r, simply called the degree of restraint. The magnitude is determined from

surface centre

Fig. 7.27

stress (N/mm2 )
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
-1
-2
-3
-4
-5
0
20
40

r = 1.0

r = 0.5
r = 0.25
r=0

increasing degree
of restrained

60

80

100

120 140 160


time (hours)

Calculated stresses in the centre of a hardening concrete wall. Semi-adiabatic


temperature conditions. Degree of restraint: 0, 25, 50 and 100% [20].

the mechanical boundary conditions. According to the definition, it holds:


full restraint of the deformation:
r = 1,0
free deformations:
r = 0,0
In Fig. 7.27, the course of the numerically determined stresses in a hardening concrete wall is
shown. The developed thermal length changes were restrained for 0, 25, 50 and 100%
respectively. The stresses increase with increasing degree of restraint.
Although the definition of the degree of restraint is very transparent, wrong conclusions are
derived from it quite easily. The impression might be that a high degree of restraint always results
in high stresses anywhere in the structure. The geometrical and mechanical boundary conditions
of a structure can, however, be such that at some locations in the structure stresses might be larger
or even change sign the more the structure can deform. This situation is illustrated by means of a
classical case, namely the wall cast on an already hardened floor slab. The dimensions of the wall
and the floor slab are in Fig. 7.28. The wall is from a normal type of concrete. Two cases are
investigated:
Case A:
Case B:

Both longitudinal and bending deformations (curvature) of the wall are not restrained
(rl = 0,0; r = 0,0)
Longitudinal deformations are not restrained (rl = 0,0), but the bending deformations
of the structure are restrained completely (r = 1,0)

33

6.0

wall height (m)

5.0
r1 = 0.0
r = 0.0

+
4.0

5.00m

r1 = 0.0
r = 1.0

case A: r1 = 0.0; r = 0.0

case A: rl = 0 ; r = 0

3.0
2.0
0.70m

case B: r1 = 0.0; r = 1.0

case B: rl = 0 ; r = 1,0

a. Deformations of the structure


Fig. 7.28

1.0
0.80m

0
-2

-1

0
1
stress (MPa)

4.10m

b. Stresses over the height of the structure

Calculated stresses (after 5 days; cooling stage) over the height of wall-slab structure,
for different values of the degree of restraint for the length (rl) and bending
(r)deformations.

The result of the stress calculations is in Fig. 7.28b. There, the stresses are over the height of the
wall after 5 days of hardening. It becomes clear that for case A, where the wall is free to deform
(rl = 0,0), i.e. not restrained in any way, the stresses just above the connection with the floor slab
are larger than in case B, where the wall is fully restrained (r = 1,0). At the top of the wall, case
A shows compression whereas for case B, the wall as a whole is in tension.
What happens here is that the course of the deformation of an individual fiber (micro-level) is
completely different from the course expected when considering the assumed degree of restraint.
The degree of restraint is a parameter that defines the deformational capabilities of a structure as a
whole, not the course of deformation of any individual fiber. The deformation of an individual
fiber is the net result of the imposed (thermal) strain at fiber level plus the strain that comes from
the deformation of the structure as a whole!
Another complication when regarding the issue of the degree of restraint is that the level of
restraint of the deformations changes during the progress of the hydration process. The
deformation of a wall, cast on a rigid foundation slab, is initially restrained completely at the
connection with the slab (the stiffness of the wall is still negligible with respect to the slab: r =
1,0). After a certain time, depending on the stiffness ratio between the wall and the foundation
slab, a part of the imposed deformations results in a deformation of the structure as a whole. Only
this part results in stresses. Finally, the magnitude of the effective imposed strain at fiber level is
determined by the equilibrium conditions and the deformation compatibility conditions in a
cross-section!

34

7.8.3.2 Regulations for practice


A wall, cast on an already hardened concrete floor slab that does not bend, will, at the interface
with the slab, experience a degree of restraint of 90 to 100%. More to the top of the wall, this
degree of restraint decreases. If the wall height is more than half the wall length, the degree of
restraint at the top is almost 0%. Fig. 7.29 shows such a wall schematically.
L

tensile trajectories

almost free

crack directions

r ~
~1.0
45

Fig. 7.29

45

Deformations of a wall cast on an already hardened floor slab. Indicated are the
degree of restraint, the direction of the tensile trajectories and the direction of the
cracks.

Table 7.5 presents the degree of restraint of walls as a function of the length/height ratio. The
values in the table are indicative values to obtain a first estimation of the degree of restraint of the
deformation at the topside of the wall. At the connection interface with the slab, the degree of
restraint is about 100%, also for short walls (see Fig. 7.29).
In the British Standard 8007-1987: Design of concrete structures for retaining aqueous liquids
[33], some indicative figures are presented for different types of structures. They also give values
for the degree of restraint. These are represented by the figures 7.30a-d (EN 1992-3).
Table 7.5

Degree of restraint as a function of the length/height ratio (L/H) of the wall (after
[21]) (Note: values for a low L/H-ratio are only valid for the degree of restraint at the
top of the wall)

Length/height ratio (L/H)

>8

Degree of restraint

0,1

0,6

1,0

35

a. Wall cast on rigid support

b. Wall cast in between rigid supports

...
c. Wall fixed at two sides
Fig. 7.30

d. Wall fixed at three sides

Degree of restraint r for walls and slabs at different boundary conditions (after BS
8007-1987 [33] & EN 1992-3; no relaxation included). (Note: The effective degree of
restraint also depends on the amount of reinforcement applied!).

7.8.4 Probability of cracking

7.8.4.1 Calculation procedure


When calculating the probability of cracking, it is often assumed that the strength and stress can
be described using a normal distribution function. This is schematically shown in Fig. 7.31. The
calculated values of the strength and stress are considered to be the average values of the
quantities concerned. For the standard deviations of the tensile strength and the tensile stress,
values of 0,5 N/mm2 and 0,6 N/mm2 , respectively, can be used. These are conservative values,

36

compression

especially with regard to the standard deviation of the tensile strength!. (see also section 7.8.4.2.).
If the strength and the stress have a normal distribution function, the difference between them, i.e.
z = fct ct, is also normally distributed. The likelihood that at a certain time z is smaller than
zero, which implies that cracking appears, is determined with help of basic statistics (see also the
example in table 7.6).

stress =

()

tension

time

tensile stress = f ctm (t)


normal distribution

Fig. 7.31

Development of the tensile strength and stress in time (schematically). Strength and
stress are considered to be normally distributed quantities.

Table 7.6

Calculation of probability of cracking P{Fcr} in hardening concrete.

Tensile strength (average value)


Standard deviation tensile strength
Tensile stress (average value)
Standard deviation tensile stress

fctm = 3,0 MPa


s(fct) = 0,3 MPa (10% of the tensile strength)
ct = 2,6 MPa
s(ct) = 0,26 MPa (10% of the tensile stress)

Tensile strength and tensile stress normally distributed. For the difference u(z) = fctm - ct it
holds:
u(z) = fctm - ct = 3,0 2,6 = 0,4 MPa
s(z) = [s2(fct) + s2(ct)]0,5 = 0,396 MPa
Ratio u(z)/s(z) = 0,4 / 0,396 = 1,007
With help of the table for standard normally distribution functions, the probability of cracking is
[30]:
Cracking probability p{Fcr} = 15,8%

Figure 7.32 gives the result of a calculation on the probability of cracking according to the
procedure as described before. The development of the probability of cracking in time is given for
walls that have different thickness. They are cast on an already hardened floor slab. Deformations
are restrained by the floor slab. The wall-slab structure can bend freely (r = 0). The cracking
probability is determined in the most critical cross-section, which in this case is about 0,5 m
above the wall-slab connection. Based on the imposed boundary conditions, the 1,0 m thick wall
almost certainly cracks. The 0,5 m thick wall has a cracking probability of more than 50%. As a
result of the bending of the wall, compressive stresses appear at the top of the wall. The reduction

37

of the probability of cracking after having reached a maximum value comes from the gradual
decrease of the temperature differences in the cross-section.

100

cracking probability (%)

symmetrical axis

centre, d=0.5m

centre, d=1m

80
surface, d=0.5m
surface, d=1m

3m

60

40
surface

centre

20

1m

centre, d=0.25m

3m

Fig. 7.32

0
0

20

40

60

80

100

120 140 160


time (hours)

Probability of cracking in a 0,25 m, 0,50 m and 1,0 m thick wall as a function of


time. Portland cement CEM I 52,5 R. Casting temperature 15C. Temperature of
floor slab 10C. r = 0 [20].

7.8.4.2 Cracking criteria


For judging the probability of cracking, different criteria are adopted:
a. Stress criterion
b. Strain criterion
c. Temperature criterion
7.8.4.2a Stress criterion
For judging the probability of cracking in young concrete, one often wants to know how a
calculated cracking probability relates to the classical safety factor . Here, the safety factor is
defined as the ratio between the lower-bound characteristic values of the tensile strength and the
higher-bound characteristic tensile stress ( = fctk;0,05 / ctk;0,95). For the relation between the
cracking probability and the safety factor, use is made of experimental research results from TU
Delft.

38

-2

stress (N/mm2 )
cement kg/m 3
wcr 0.5

-1
0
PC-A

HOC-A

1 PC:
0.9 f ctmspl

2
HOC: 0.9 f ctmspl

3
0

Fig. 7.33

24

48

72

96
120
time (hours)

Stress at which concrete cracks under semi-adiabatic hardening conditions. Degree


of restraint rl = 1,0 [32].

Experimental results
Tests carried out on concrete hardened under semi-adiabatic conditions and experiencing a partly
of full degree of restraint, has shown that cracking occurs at a stress level equal to (on average)
0,85 fctm 2) (see Fig. 7.33). For this tensile stress, the probability of cracking should be 50%. If
both the strength and stress have a standard deviation of 10% of their average values, a cracking
probability of 50% is associated with a stress level equal to 0,85 times the average axial (short
time) tensile strength. This can only be the result if we take into account a reduction factor for
tensile strength of 100 85 = 15%. This reduction of the tensile strength is the result of the fact
that the stresses develop slowly and that, therefore, the long term-effect (reduction) on the tensile
strength must be taken into account.
Cracking probability and safety factors
Given the fact that in many cases hardening concrete cracks at a stress level which is on average
15% below the average axial short term-tensile strength, the following argumentation can be
followed. Assume that for a particular case the tensile strength is 3 N/mm2. In table 7.7, the
probability of cracking is found for a reduction of the tensile strength of 0% and 15%,
respectively. The cracking probability is calculated at values for the average tensile stress ctm of
0,5 fctm ; 0,6 fctm ; 0,7 fctm and 0,85 fctm. Standard deviations of 10% of the average tensile strength
and tensile stress are assumed. For no reduction of the tensile strength, it is observed that at a
stress level ctm = 0,85 fctm , the probability of cracking is 15,8%, whereas the safety factor is
already below the value 1, namely = 0,83. In order to be sure to achieve a safety factor above
1,0, the stress should not exceed 0,7 fctm. For this particular case it holds that = 1,03.
In reality, as has been observed in tests, a reduction of the tensile strength of 15% is to be taken
into account. When assuming a tensile strength 0,85 fctm, at an average tensile stress level ctm =
0,85 fctm, the probability of cracking is 50%. The accompanying safety factor then is = 0,72. At
a tensile stress level of 0,7 fctm, the probability of cracking is 7% and the safety factor against
cracking is still below 1,0, namely 0,88. In this example, the turning point at which the safety
factor reaches a value of more than 1,0 is ctm 0,6 fctm. The probability of cracking then is about
1%. If stresses over 0,5 fctm are not allowed to occur, the safety against cracking is 1,22 at a
cracking probability of 0,02%.

) fctm = average axial tensile strength. It holds that: 0,85 fctm = 0,85 * 0,9 fctmspl = 0,76 fctmspl (see also section 4.3.6.2)

39

Table 7.7

Probability of cracking and corresponding safety factors for different values of the
effective tensile strength.
Quantities
Values
w.r.t tensile
strength

Short term
tensile
strength

Reduced
short term
tensile
strength*)

Stress at cracking
0,5 fctm

0,6 fctm

0,7 fctm

0,85 fctm

Average value

N/mm2

3,0

1,5

1,8

2,1

2,6

Standard deviation

N/mm2

0,3

0,15

0,18

0,21

0,26

Characteristic value

N/mm2

2,51

1,75

2,1

2,44

3,03

Prob. of cracking

[%]

--

0,03%

0,7%

15,8%

Safety factor (fctk/ctk)

---

1,4

1,2

1,03

0,83

Average value

N/mm

2,6

1,5

1,8

2,1

2,6

Standard deviation

N/mm2

0,26*)

0,15

0,18

0,21

0,26

Characteristic value

N/mm2

2,14

1,75

2,1

2,44

3,03

Prob. of cracking

[%]

0,02%

0,6%

7%

50%

Safety factor (fctk/ctk)

---

1,22

1,02

0,88

0,71

*) Tensile strength with a reduction of 15% in relation to the short-term tensile strength fctm = 3,0 N/mm

1.

Note
If the analysis concerns concretes with a very low water cement ratio (for example high strength concretes with a
wcr < 0,35), not only the calculation of the tensile stresses due to temperature effects, but also the effect of
hardening shrinkage should be considered (see section 7.6.4).

2.

For the values of the probability of cracking and the safety factors as calculated, it is assumed that the stresses are
determined at correct thermal and mechanical boundary conditions. Significant deviations of the boundary
conditions, i.e. unexpected variations of the surrounding temperature, high wind speeds etc., are not included. To
gain insight into the effects of these types of variations on the probability of cracking, additional sensitivity
analyses must be performed.

When summarising the results, it can be stated that tensile stresses during hardening limited to about 50% to 60% of
fctm, result in a safety against cracking higher than 1,0. The probability of cracking then is negligible. If tensile stresses
up to 70% of fctm are accepted, cracking is very likely to occur.

7.8.4.2b Strain criterion


For the prediction of cracking of hardening concrete, the literature quite often prefers a strain
criterion rather than a stress criterion. The idea behind this consideration is that the fact that the
deformational behaviour of hardening concrete differs quite substantially from hardened concrete:
the strain capacity is much higher for young concrete than for hardened concrete. Although this is
correct, it does not make the strain criterion more suitable than a stress criterion, certainly not if it
concerns numerical simulations on the hardening behaviour of concrete. After all, in these types
of simulations, the constitutive material behaviour (stress-strain relation) is used explicitly by an
iterative calculation procedure. The way to express the results, either as stresses or as strains,
makes no difference since these two quantities are the results of one calculation. Whether
cracking appears has to be verified using either an actual strength or on an actual strain capacity.
When considering the situation common in building practice, a stress criterion is more likely to
use. Extensive research in Germany has confirmed the reliability of the results from the stress
criterion [22].

40

7.8.4.2c Temperature criterion


With the aim to avoid thermal cracks in hardening concrete, the current building practice uses
different temperature criteria. A rule of thumb gives a relation between the probability of
cracking and the temperature difference. In order to avoid cracking due to eigen stresses, the
temperature difference inside a cross-section should not exceed app. 20C. Temperature
differences between structural parts cast on a rigid base and the base itself should not exceed app.
15C. For the Danish Stre Belt project, very strict temperature criteria were applied, namely
12C and 8C, respectively.
Extensive calculations using the simulation program TEMPSPAN, were carried out on a number
of practical cases. It appeared that the temperature criterion covers a quite substantial part of
the work field. However, in a number of cases these criteria are very conservative whereas also
situations occur for which they are not sufficiently strict [20,23].

For the eigen stresses (see chapter 2) in particular, the 20C criterion is sufficient as long as
the wall thickness is not over 1,0 m [20]. For higher wall thicknesses, problems might arise.
Whether cracking occurs depends on the age at which the temperature differences develop
and why they develop. A cold wind passing alongside a relatively warm wall from which the
formwork is removed, makes it relatively sensitive to cracking.
For a wall cast on a hardened foundation, the order of magnitude of the degree of restraint is
of dominant importance with regard to cracking. The magnitude of this degree of restraint
depends on the actual location in the structure (see also [20,34]).

The conclusion to be drawn from these studies is that temperatures and temperature differences
in a number, but certainly not all, cases can be considered as providing a reliable cracking
criterion.

7.8.4.3 Judging levels regarding the probability of cracking


For a reliable judgment of the probability of cracking, the stress criterion is to be preferred over
the temperature criterion. The stress criterion, however, requires a stress calculation with the help
of suitable advanced software tools. This will not be profitable under all circumstances. If the
execution of this type of complex calculations for achieving insight into the probability of
cracking should be avoided, the temperature criterion can be applied as a fall back option. The
following judging levels based on the Swedish concept are used:
Level 1. Temperature criterion
It is easy to handle but is the least reliable. In order to avoid disappointments, these criteria are
very conservative. For projects in which concretes with a high autogenous shrinkage are used, it
is advised not to use the temperature criteria.
Level 2: Dimension graphics and design curves
With the use of simulation models, graphs and design curves can be constructed that represent the
behaviour and characteristics of common structures. In these graphs/design curves, the influence
of the different parameters on the stress development is visible. These types of graphs and design
curves can be an important instrument for judging the structural behaviour and the probability of
cracking. They are only used by experienced and skilled engineers. In Sweden, these instruments
are already available for general use.

41

Level 3: Use of advanced simulation software


The most reliable judgment on the probability of cracking is obtained by using the results from
advanced simulation software. Thermal and mechanical boundary conditions as well as the
hardening shrinkage are taken into account accurately, whereas the most advanced creep and
relaxation formulas can also be applied. For complex projects with tight limits regarding the
probability of cracking, the use of advanced simulation software for judging the structural
behaviour during hardening has become common practice already.

7.9 References
1. Mills, R.H. 1966. Factors influencing cessation of hydration in water-cured cement pastes,
ACI-SP, pp. 406-424.
2. Breugel, K. van, 1991. Simulation of hydration and formation of structure in hardening
cement-based materials. PhD-thesis TU-Delft, 295 p.
3. Laube, M. 1991. Werkstoffmodell zur Berechnung von Temperaturspannungen in massigen
Betonbauteilen im jungem Alter. PhD-thesis, Braunschweig.
4. Koenders, E.A.B., e.a. 1995. HSB-kantoor te Brade. Stevin report, TU-Delft, 109 p.
5. Saul, A.G.A., 1951, Principles underlying the steam curing of concrete at atmospheric
pressure. Magazine of Concrete Research, No. 6.
6. Bergstrm, S.G., 1953. Curing temperature, age and strength of concrete. Mag. of Concr.
Res., pp. 61-66.
7. Plowman, J.M., 1956. Maturity and strength of concrete. Magazine of Concrete Research,
pp. 13-22.
8. Papadakis, M., Bresson, J., Contribution letude de facteur de maturit des liant
hydrauliques ; Application l industrie du bton manufactur. CERIB-publications
Technique, No. 8.
9. Bresson, J., 1980. Prevision des resistances: facteur de maturit et temps equivalent.
Annales, No. 387, pp. 106-110.
10. Carino, N.J. e.a., 1983. Temperature effects on strength-maturity relations of mortar. ACIJournal, No. 80-17, pp. 177-182.
11. Gewogen rijpheid, 1984. Betoniek 6/20.
12. CUR-aanbeveling 9: Bepaling van de sterkteontwikkeling van jong beton op basis van de
gewogen rijpheid. Gouda, 1987, 7 p.
13. Grube, H. 1990 Ursachen des Schwindens van Beton und Auswirkungen auf Betonbauteile,
Habilitationsschrift, Darmstadt, 81 pp.
14. Dekker, I., 1995. Research into validity-sphere of maturity-method de Vree. Ijmuiden,
50p.
15. Hansen, T.C., 1970. Physical composition of hardened Portland cement paste. ACI-Journal,
pp. 404-407.
16. Fagerlund, G., 1987. Relations between the strength and degree of hydration and porosity of
cement paste, cement mortar, and concrete. Research report.
17. Toepasbaarheid van beton met hoge sterkte in de 2e Stichtse Brug. Onderzoek in opdracht
van RWS. TU-Delft, 1996.
18. Gutsch, A., Rostsy, F.S., 1994. Young concrete under high tensile stresses Creep,
Relaxation and Cracking. Proc. RILEM Symp. Thermal Cracking in Concrete at Early
Ages, Munich, pp. 111-118.
19. Lokhorst, S.J. et al. 1996. Ontwikkeling van de mechanische eigenschappen: sterkte en
stijfheid. In: Het grijze gebied van het jonge beton. Artikel series in CEMENT 1995/1996.
20. Eberhardt, M., 1993. Rissgefahr in jungem beton, Delft/Darmstadt.

42

21. Scheurvorming door krimp en temperatuurwisselingen in wanden. 1978. CUR-report 85,


102p.
22. Rostsy, F.S., 1994. Determination and modelling of mechanical properties. Proc. RILEM
Symposium Thermal Cracking in Concrete at Early Ages, Munich, General report, pp. 3145.
23. Traute, M., 1994. Reissneigung des hochfesten Betons im jungen Alter. Delft/Darmstadt,
161 p.
24. Tazawa, E., 1992. Autogenous shrinkage caused by self-desiccation in cementitious
material. Proc. 9th Int. Congress on the Chemistry of Cement, Vol. IV, pp. 712-718.
25. Beek, A. van., 1995. UCON-programma. Manual. TU-Delft.
26. Breugel, K. van., 1980. Relaxation of young concrete, TU-Delft, Stevin report.
27. Koenders E.A.B., e.a., 1995, HSB-Kantoor te Breda Vergelijking meting en berekening.
TU-Delft.
28. HYMOSTRUC manual. Delfttech b.v. Delft.
29. Beek, A. van, 1995. Sterktebepaling van jong beton. MSc-thesis, TU-Delft. 95 p.
30. Soest, J. van. Elementaire statistiek, DUP, Delft, 1972, 134 p.
31. CEB-FIP Model Code 1990, CEB-Bulletin No. 203, July 1991.
32. Lokhorst, S.J., 2001: Deformational behaviour of concrete influenced by hydration related
changes of the microstructure. Report 25.5-99-05, TU Delft.
33. Design of concrete structures for retaining aqueous liquids. BD-Code of practice BS 8007,
1987, 27 p.
34. Wessels, J., 1995. Temperatuureffecten in gefaseerd gestorte betonconstructies ten gevolge
van het hydratatieproces. MSc-thesis, TU-Delft.

43