Mechanical threshold of cementitious materials at early age
Journal title : Materials and Structures
Volume : 38
Issue : 277
Pagination : 299-304
Publication date : 01/04/2005
At early age, the mechanical characteristics of concrete, such as Young's modulus, follow a rapid rate of change. If strains are restricted or in the event of strain gradients, tensile stresses are generated and there is a risk of cracks occurring. Besides relaxation, change in Young's modulus as a function of the degree of hydration is a major parameter for the modeling of this phenomenon. In this evolution, a threshold of the degree of hydration has to be taken into account, below which concrete displays negligible stiffness. For cement pastes, a simplified hydration model shows that percolation of the solid phases depends on the w/c ratio, which is in accordance with experimental results. On the other hand, for mortar or concrete, the presence of aggregates means that the solid volumetric fraction is such that percolation is observed before hydration occurs. Therefore another parameter is introduced: cohesion due to hydration products. By coupling our model with a finite-element code (CAST3M), it is shown that the threshold for Young's modulus in mortar is almost independent of the w/c ratio, which is in accordance with experimental results.