High-early-strength ductile cementitious composites with characteristics of low early-age shrinkage for repair of infrastructures
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Reduced performance in concrete infrastructures is mainly caused by the formation of cracks, which may arise due to deteriorating mechanisms during service life. In most cases, reduced performance calls for urgent repairs to the degraded section. Therefore, it is highly desirable to develop dimensionally stable, ductile repair materials that can attain adequately high strength in a limited amount of time, compensate for significant deformation due to mechanical and environmental loadings, and prevent early-age shrinkage cracks. In this paper, the performance of such a material (high-early-strength engineered cementitious composites, HES-ECC, with very low early-age shrinkage capacity) was investigated by studying mechanical properties and dimensional stability. Composites were produced with different water to cementitious materials and slag to Portland cement ratios. In order to enhance composite properties in terms of ductility and early-age shrinkage characteristics, saturated lightweight aggregates replaced sand in the mixtures. The experimental results show that the majority of HES-ECC mixtures developed in this study attained compressive strength values of more than 20.0 MPa and minimum flexural strength of 6.0 MPa within 6 h. Moreover, the HES-ECC mixtures exhibited strain-hardening behavior with strain capacities comparable to normal strength ECC, as well as substantially reduced autogenous shrinkage strain, both of which are unlikely to trigger the formation of cracks in tension at early ages. The integration of these conflicting parameters suggests that HES-ECC can easily meet the need for fast and durable repairs.