Expansive fracture agent behaviour for concrete cracking

D. F. Laefer, N. Ambrozevitch-Cooper, M. P. Huynh, J. Midgette, S. Ceribasi, J. Wortman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Increasing concerns regarding litigation and terrorism provide a strong dual motivation to decrease high explosives usage in the construction industry. This paper provides parameter considerations and initial guidelines for the application of expansive fracture agents, typically used for concrete and soft rock removal. This approach may be especially appropriate near environmentally and historically sensitive sites. Thirty-three unreinforced blocks (approximately three-quarters of a cubic metre each) of varying strengths, composed of sand, cement, and fly ash, were tested under various temperature environments, with differing expansive agents, confinement levels and post-cracking treatments. Cracking characteristics such as crack initiation and crack expansion were analysed. Although the performance of expansive cement was dependent on a highly complex set of variable interactions, higher ambient temperatures, higher agent mixture temperatures and chemical configuration designed for colder temperatures decreased the time to first crack and hastened the extent of cracking. Conversely, higher strength material required more time to first crack, as well as an extended time to achieve a 25.4 mm wide crack. Manual interference with the normal material volume expansion slowed the cracking process but did not truncate it, while the manufacturer's recommendation to introduce water post-cracking actually reduced and slowed the extent of cracking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)443-452
Number of pages10
JournalMagazine of Concrete Research
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • General Materials Science


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