Crack Risk Analysis in Structural Elements Exposed to Hygrothermal Phenomena

A. Meda (Civil Engineering Department, University of Rome “Tor Vergata”, Italy) G. Plizzari & C. Zanotti (Department of Civil, Architectural, Environmental and Land Planning Engineering – DICATA, University of Brescia, Italy) S. Cangiano (CTG-Italcementi Group, Bergamo, Italy)

Past experiences showed that some concrete constructions are significantly affected by the risk of cracking a short time after casting, due to hygrothermal phenomena (that is to say shrinkage, hydration heat development and temperature variations of the surroundings). The problem of hygrothermal cracking is getting more and more significant due to the introduction in practice of High Strength Concrete, having a high cement content.
A numerical study on shrinkage cracking in concrete walls is presented in this paper. Aim of the analysis is to assess the influence of different factors, such as the degree of restraint between the wall and the foundation slab, the amount of both ordinary longitudinal and transverse reinforcement and the addition of fibers in the concrete mix. Two main crack indicators are adopted: the maximum crack opening along the whole structure and the global crack pattern.

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