Improvements of testing procedures for concrete coefficient of thermal expansion

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The coefficient of thermal expansion (CTE) of concrete has a significant effect on the performance of portland cement concrete pavement. Concrete with a higher CTE is more prone to cracking, additional warping, and spalling. To improve PCC pavement performance, several districts of the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) currently limit the CTE of concrete. To support this policy, efforts have been made to improve the accuracy and repeatability of the testing procedures for CTE. The current AASHTO Test Method TP 60 has been evaluated, its short-comings identified, and improvements made. The improvements include CTE determination from regression analysis of temperature and displacement measurements. The effects of a number of variables on concrete CTE were investigated. The effect of the rate of heating and cooling is negligible. Concrete age and specimen size also have a negligible effect. Coarse aggregate content in the concrete mix has an effect on the test results. This test procedure was used to evaluate coarse aggregates from 32 sources in Texas. The results show that coarse aggregate type has a significant effect on concrete CTE. The proposed testing procedure for concrete CTE provided more accurate results than the AASHTO TP 60. TxDOT plans to implement this test procedure and to develop appropriate steel design standards for continuously reinforced concrete pavement and other construction-related requirements such as different curing methods for concrete with varying CTEs. This implementation should result in better concrete pavement performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23-28
Number of pages6
JournalTransportation Research Record
Issue number1919
StatePublished - 2005


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