Evaluation of the Risk of Cracking in Thin Concrete Walls due to Hydration Heat

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

In a wide range of concrete constructions, hygrothermal phenomena such as shrinkage or thermal variations can cause early-age cracking and thus compromise the structure performance. A numerical study on the risk of cracking induced in thin walls by thermal gradients during concrete hardening is presented in this paper. Heat produced by the reactions for cement hydration causes the development of thermal gradients that, combined to the low strength of concrete at early ages, can induce cracking. Thin concrete walls are strongly exposed to the risk of thermal cracking due to both the low thickness and the large size. Phased nonlinear heat transfer and structural analyses are performed in order to determine the solutions that can be adopted in practice to minimize the risk of cracking.

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