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POINT OF VIEW

Strength and durability of high performance


engineered cementitious composites
A. Arun Kumar, Omansh Sharma, Sarthak Bansal and Vaibhav Singhai

This experimental investigation is focused on strength 1. Introduction


and durability of high performance engineered Engineered cementitious composite (ECC) was
cementitious composites (HECC). HECC is a mortar developed in the early 1990’s as a measure to increase the
based cement composites comprising of 1% steel and tensile and strain hardening behavior of concrete. The
1% polypropylene fibers without coarse aggregates and design mechanism of ECC is based on micromechanics
designed based on micromechanics design principle. design principle with the hybridization of steel and
The mechanical properties such as compressive strength, polyvinyl alcohol fibers. The structural cement based
splitting tensile strength, flexural strength and modulus systems are very sensitive to seismic loading. To improve
of elasticity were evaluated for HECC and compared with the brittle behaviour of the structure cement based
composites with various fibers were added. The volume
normal concrete. In addition to the mechanical properties
of these fibers improves the flexural toughness [1]. The
durability studies in terms of plastic shrinkage and rapid
fibers incorporated in the cementitious composites not
chloride penetration tests were also performed between
only increases the ductile behaviour but also increases
HECC and normal concrete. The experimental test results
3-5% more uniaxial tensile strain capacity compared to
revealed that compressive strength of HECC was similar conventional concrete [2].
to control concrete. The splitting tensile strength, flexural
strength and modulus of elasticity results of HECC were The superior behaviour in uniaxial tensile strength
higher than control concrete. The durability test results of and increase in the flexural toughness of ECC reduces
HECC exhibited no crack behavior in plastic shrinkage crack width and also increases the durability of the
and low chloride ion penetration compared to control cementitious composite when it is incorporated in
concrete. The composites with steel and polypropylene different environmental conditions [3]. The cementitious
fibers without coarse aggregates performed better both in composite are designed without coarse aggregate as
terms of strength and durability properties. it affects the ductile behaviour of the concrete [4]. The

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fresh property of ECC depends on the type and amount The mechanical properties such as compressive strength,
of fibers employed, mixing and curing methods. Since flexural strength and modulus of elasticity were
the fresh property has direct impact on the mechanical investigated. The durability properties such as plastic
and durability properties of the concrete structure, ECC shrinkage and rapid chloride ion penetration tests were
has the same mixing procedure similar to conventional studied based on ASTM C1579 [8] and ASTM C1202 [9].
concrete. Since the distribution of fibers influence the The materials used in this study are discussed below;
engineered cementitious composite, the fibers will
be mixed after mixing cement, fine aggregates, water 2.1 Materials
and superplasticizer. This method of distribution of
Ordinary Portland Cement OPC 53 grade confirming to
fibers increased the tensile ductility of the engineered
IS 12269 [10] with the specific gravity of 3.15 was used.
cementitious composites [5]. Hamid et al. [6] investigated
Locally available river sand passing through 4.75 mm
on the hybridization of low and high modulus steel and
sieve and crushed stones of size 12.5 mm and 20 mm were
polypropylene fibers and explained that hybridization
used as fine and coarse aggregates based on IS 383 [11].
increases the strain capacity and increases the flexural
strength of ECC. Michael and Victor Li [7] investigated
on the water permeability of ECC and found that self- Ordinary potable tap water was used for both mixing and
healing property of ECC decreases the coefficient of water curing. To maintain good workability high range water
permeability. The micromechanics design principle and reducing admixture was used based on IS 9013 [12]. The
distribution of fibers not only improved fresh property river sand used for engineered cementitious composite
but also has great impact on the durability of the was sieved using 300 microns sieve. The fibers used were
cementitious composites. 1% steel and 1% polypropylene fibers and its physical
properties are furnished in the Table 2.
2. Experimental program
Table 2. Physical properties of the fibers
The main aim of this study is to investigate on the
mechanical and durability properties of HECC compared Tensile Modulus of
Type of Length Diameter Aspect
to the normal concrete designed for 50MPa. The mixture strength Elasticity
fiber (mm) (mm) ratio
(MPa) (GPa)
proportion for the control concrete is given in Table 1.
The mixture proportion for HECC is based on literature Steel 25-30 1 25-30 1100 200

review and also by trial and error methods. Since HECC Poly-
12.5 0.2 to 0.3 41to 62 600 5
propylene
is cementitious composites without coarse aggregates, the
mixture proportion of HECC is expressed in terms of ratio
(by volume) cement: fine aggregates: water i.e., 1:0.6:0.36.
To reduce the water demand by the cementitious
composites high range water reducing admixture was 3. Results and Discussions
added by 0.8% of cement. The experimental results of workability, mechanical
and durability properties were tested and the results are
Table 1. Mixture proportions of control concrete
discussed below;
Materials Quantities (kg/m3)
Cement 389
Fine aggregate 845
3.1 Slump cone test
Coarse aggregate 1168 The slump cone test was performed based on IS 1199 [13]
12.5 mm coarse aggregate 467.2 for normal concrete in order to maintain good workability.
20 mm coarse aggregate 700.8 High range water reducing admixture (HRWRA) was
Water 140 added to maintain slump cone value of 100 to 125 mm.
Superplasticizer 3.11 Since the HECC mixture was designed without coarse

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POINT OF VIEW
aggregates the workability was maintained with increase Table 4. Flexural strength of control and HECC
in the dosage of HRWRA. Flexural strength (MPa)
Mixture
28 days 56 days
3.2 Compressive strength Control 5.22 5.31
The mechanical properties such as compressive strength, HECC 6.54 6.63
flexural strength and modulus of elasticity were
performed based on IS 516 [14].The compressive strength
3.4 Modulus of Elasticity
of normal and ECC mixture were tested at 7 days, 28 days
The modulus of elasticity for 30% ultimate stress were
and 56 days and the results are tabulated in the Table 3.
tested for both control and HECC mixtures at 28 days.
The control concrete samples exhibited failure similar to
Table 3. Compressive strength of control and HECC
compressive strength test and flexural strength test with
Compressive strength (MPa)
Mixture modulus of elasticity as 14 GPa, whereas HECC attained
7 Days 28 Days 56 Days
18GPa that was 28% higher than the control concrete. The
Control 41.3 55.6 59.7 samples of HECC increased the load bearing capacity
HECC 34.5 52 56.1 due to the hybridization of steel and polypropylene fibers
that holds the concrete matrix thereby showing the good
The compressive strength of normal concrete were 55 MPa bonding between cement and aggregates.
and 59 MPa at 28 and 56 days respectively, whereas HECC
mixture attained lesser compressive strength of 52 MPa 3.5 Durability properties
at 28 days and 56 MPa at 56 days but similar to control The durability of concrete determines the age and
concrete. The compressive strength of HECC mixture was serviceability of the structure. In order to study the
observed to be more than designed compressive strength durability properties of HECC, plastic shrinkage and
of 50 MPa. The lesser compressive strength of HECC was rapid chloride ion penetration tests were conducted.
due to the absence of coarse aggregate. The incorporation
of polypropylene and steel fibers increased load carrying 3.5.1 Plastic shrinkage
capacity of the cement matrix that was visually observed
The heat of hydration of cement in fresh state causes
due to the micro cracking behaviour of HECC. The brittle
plastic shrinkage cracks immediately after placing the
failure of control and micro-cracking behaviour of HECC
concrete, these micro cracks eventually decreases the
are shown in the Figure 1.
durability of the structure. The plastic shrinkage study
was investigated with the stress raiser in the mould as per
3.3 Flexural strength test
ASTM C 1579 (2006) to induce the crack. The control and
The flexural strength test was performed for control HECC mixtures were kept in environmental chambers
and HECC mixtures at 28 and 56 days and it is shown
in the Table 4. The flexural strength of the control were
5.22 MPa and 5.31 MPa at 28 and 56 days respectively,
whereas HECC mixtures attained flexural strength 25%
more than control concrete. This is evident from the fact
that the hybridization of steel and polypropylene fibers in
HECC controlled the crack width by forming micro cracks
during the rate of loading. The control concrete samples
exhibited brittle failure by breaking into two pieces
whereas HECC sample decreased the rate of brittleness
due to the presence of steel and polypropylene fibers that Figure 1. Comparison of control and HECC sample after
bridged the crack. compressive strength test

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Figure 2. Plastic shrinkage of control and HECC mixture

for 24 hours immediately after casting and were observed 4. Conclusions


for crack width with a microscope. The control concrete The experimental investigation of normal concrete and
exhibited crack of length 52 mm at the centre (just above HECC for strength and durability were performed. The
the stress raiser) with the crack width of 0.48 mm as following conclusions are made based on the experimental
shown the Figure 2. results:

• The compressive strengths of the control concrete


The HECC showed no crack behavior after 24 hours were 55 MPa and 59 MPa at 28 and 56 days
compared to control concrete this was due to bridging respectively, whereas HECC attained similar
effect of fibers that improved the mechanical properties compressive strength compared to control concrete.
also improved plastic shrinkage. Since HECC is cement
• HECC exhibited 25% higher flexural strength
composite without coarse aggregates there was a strong
compared to control concrete at 28 and 56 days
bonding between cement and fine aggregates combined respectively.
with steel and polypropylene fibers.
• Similar to flexural strength, HECC performed
better than the control concrete with the modulus
3.5.2 Rapid Chloride ion penetration
of elasticity being 28% higher than control concrete.
The chloride ion penetration test result for control concrete
• The plastic shrinkage test results clearly show
was 2195 Coulombs at 28 days, whereas for HECC the
the superior performance of HECC with no crack
chloride ion penetration was 1247 Coulombs. The control
behavior.
concrete exhibited moderate chloride ion penetration
at 28 days, whereas HECC exhibited low chloride ion • The control concrete exhibited moderate chloride
penetration. The low chloride ion penetration of HECC ion penetration whereas HECC exhibited low
chloride ion penetration.
was due to dense cement mortar matrix that decreased
the chloride ion penetration of the HECC with steel and • The better and superior performance of HECC
polypropylene fibers. The self-healing property reported compared to control concrete was due to the
by Michael and Victor Li, (7) with less coefficient of water hybridization of steel and polypropylene fibers
permeability might also be the reason for low chloride that controlled cracks by bridging fibers with
cement mortar. This behavior of HECC increased
ion penetration in rapid chloride ion penetration test in
the load carrying capacity (increasing the strain
this study.

92 The Indian Concrete Journal April 2018


POINT OF VIEW
behavior) and decreased the brittle failure in cement properties of engineered cementitious composites by adjusting the
mixing sequence, Cement and Concrete Composites, Vol.32, 2012,
composites compared to control concrete.
pp.342-348.
6. Hamid Reza Pakravan, Masoud Jamshidi, Masoud Latifi., Study on
Acknowledgment fiber hybridization effect of engineered cementitious composites with
The authors would like to thank Vellore Institute of Technology, low and high-modulus polymeric fibers, Construction and Building
Chennai Campus for providing the laboratory facilities to Materials, Vol.112, 2016, pp.739–746.
conduct this investigation. The authors would also like to 7. Michael D. Lepech, Victor C. Li., Water permeability of engineered
the acknowledge BASF India Ltd., Chennai, for providing cementitious composites, Cement and Concrete Composites, Vol.31,
admixture for the study. 2009, pp. 744–753.
8. ASTM C1579, Standard Test Method for Evaluating Plastic Shrinkage
Cracking of Restrained Fiber Reinforced Concrete (Using a Steel Form
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Dr. A. Arun Kumar is an Assistant Professor (S.G) in Civil and Structural Engineering at VIT University
Chennai Campus. His PhD dissertation was on green concrete. His research interests includes construction
and building materials by utilizing wastes and by products such as e- plastic, fly ash, GGBS, sewage sludge,
and other industrial wastes, etc. He is also guiding post-graduate and under-graduate student’s research
projects on engineering cementitious composites to enhance its structural performance.

Omansh Sharma holds a B.Tech. Civil Engineering degree and worked in Engineered cementitious
composites for his final year project in VIT University Chennai Campus. He is currently pursuing his
masters in NMIMS, Hyderabad

Sarthak Bansal holds a B.Tech. Civil Engineering degree and worked in Engineered cementitious composites
for his final year project in VIT University Chennai Campus. He is currently pursuing his masters.

Vaibhav Singhai holds a B.Tech. Civil Engineering degree and worked in Engineered cementitious
composites for his final year project in VIT University Chennai Campus.

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