Damage Evaluation of Alkali-Silica Reaction Using Acoustic Emission

Alkali–silica reaction (ASR) is a concrete degradation mechanism that takes place between highly alkaline cement paste and reactive non-crystalline silica found in many common aggregates, in presence of sufficient moisture. This reaction can generate an expansive pressure inside concrete which may lead to extensive cracking in some cases. This mechanism is currently affecting many structures throughout the United States, especially in Texas and the Pacific Northwest. An accelerated test program was conducted to assess the ability of acoustic emission (AE) monitoring to detect and qualify ASR damage. The test program included twelve conditioned specimens cast using reactive aggregate and mortar with a high alkali content, and three control specimens cast using nonreactive aggregate, all having dimensions 3×3×11.25 in. (76×76×286 mm). The twelve conditioned specimens were placed in a controlled environment with high humidity and temperature to accelerate the reaction, while being continuously monitored with acoustic emission. This study is complementary to the previous study completed by Abdelrahman, M. et al. [1] after one year of monitoring. After this, three specimens out of the conditioned twelve were monitored up to 30 months. Two of them were kept under the same condition, while the third specimen was kept in only high temperature. The results of one of them are presented in this paper. Length change measurements was conducted periodically to monitor the damage developed by ASR. Acoustic emission was employed to detect and quantify damage progression associated with ASR. A previously developed AE based Intensity Analysis was conducted for the test specimens to evaluate thelevel of damage occurring due to ASR at different specimens’ ages.


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