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RILEM TC-119TCE

Avoidance of Thermal Cracking in Concrete at Early ages

TECHNICAL RECOMMENDATION (DRAFT)


METHOD FOR IN SITE MEASUREMENT OF THERMAL STRESS IN CON-
CRETE USING THE STRESS METER

T. TANABE
Department of Civil Engineering, University of Nagoya,
Nagoya, Japan

1. Scope

This recommendation describes a method for in situ measurement of thermal stresses


during the hardening of concrete using a stress meter, especially developed for this pur-
pose, embedded in concrete. The recommendation also briefly describes the principle of
the measurement involved, including the details of the stress meter used and its
installation, etc.

2. Principle of Measurement

The measurement of thermal stresses in concrete at early ages can not be easily carried
out using conventional means of only monitoring the strains, mainly because the other
properties, like the Youngs mdulas , etc. are not accurately known.
The principle of measurement described in recommendation using the embedded
stress meter schematically described in Fig.1.

Load cell Surrounding concrete


Isolator
Concrete in the stress meter

Ac b
As

ls lc

Fig.1. Basic structure of the stress meter

The involved method uses essentially a load cell in series with concrete cast in the stress
meter (hereinafter referred to as a concrete prism) at the time of casting the surrounding
mass concrete. There is no mechanical bond between the prism and the mass concrete
along the four walls,(though the continuity is ensured by using two anchors through the
two ends as described below)
The stress in the concrete prism is obtained by dividing the force (as measured by the
load cell) by the cross-sectional area of the prism. Also, since the length of the load cell
(ls) is much smaller compared to the length of the concrete prism (lc), it can be assumed
that the latter be approximately equal to the gauge length (lg=ls+lc) of the surrounding
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concrete. Further, the method ensures that the properties of prism, such as the Youngs
modulus, creep, etc. and those of the surrounding concrete are similar, by allowing a free
exchange of water across the walls.
Essentially, the thermal stress in the surrounding concrete is related to the stress in the
prism concrete (concrete within the stress meter) as follows:


c = g (1)
KgKc
where,
c is the stress in the surrounding concrete
g is the stress in the concrete prism
Kg is the rigidity of the overall system comprising of
the load cell and the prism, and
Kc is the rigidity of the surrounding concrete

Thus, in order to ensure the accurate measurement of c, an attempt must be made to


ensure that the ratio of the rigidities of the stress meter system (load cell and prism) and
the surrounding concrete is as close to the unity as possible.
A more detailed discussion on the effect of the length and stiffness of the load cell, etc.
on the accuracy of the measured thermal stress is given in the Appendix.

3. Stress Meter

Fig.2 shows a schematic representation of the stress meter used. It can be seen that the
device consists of a load cell, fixed at one end of an open box made of wire mesh, with one
end of the box is left open and made monolithic with the outside concrete through the
anchor that is provided through the flange as shown. A similar anchor is provided through
the load cell also. The lid of the box is also made of wire mesh and is used to cover the
concrete prism after casting. The thermal stresses generated in the concrete on account
of restraint, etc. are directly obtained using the data from the load cell.
The walls of the stress meter, including the lid, are lined with blotting paper. The assembly,
after the casting of prism, is wrapped with raw cloth sheets. This arrangement [1] allows
a free exchange of water between the concrete within and outside the device, [2] ensures
that there is no mechanical bond between the concrete inside and outside of the meter,
along the four walls, and [3] provides continuity between the concrete prism and the sur-
rounding concrete through the two anchors.
Thus, the properties of concrete within the device, e.g. the youngs modulus, creep
coefficient, etc. are almost the same those of the main body concrete and any ensuring
thermal stresses can be accurately measured.

2
Blotting paper
(Filter paper) Cable
A Porous sheet
Anchor
Wire mesh
Concrete Flange
Felt
Load cell

lc ls
L

a
Felt
Wire mesh
Ac a Porous sheet
Blotting paper
(Filter paper)
A A Concrete

Size of the typical stress meter


(Exemplary valid for one specific type of stress meter)

Length of the meter (L) : 50cm


Length of the load cell (ls) : 5cm
Length of the concrete box (lc) : 45cm

Mean value of sectional area of the load cell (As) : 19cm2


Sectional area of the concrete box (Ac) : 25cm2

Fig.2. Schematic drawing of the stress meter

4. In Situ Measurement

4.1 Parameters to be recorded


In addition to the stresses (actually strains) as measured by embedded stress meter,
the following measurements may also be carried out to the facilitating better analysis of
the data.

4.1.1 Variation of temperature within the concrete: This measurement should be carried
out at a location close to the one where the stress is being monitored.

4.1.2 Variation of strain within the concrete: This measurement should be recorded
at a location close to the one where the stress is being monitored.

4.1.3 Variation of atmospheric temperature: This is an important parameter in deter-


mining the of thermal stresses in concrete and should be recorded at 2 or 3 suitable loca-
tions in the neighborhood of the structure.

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4.2 Installation of stress meter
The stress meter can be installed within concrete in a horizontal, vertical or any other
position, to measure the thermal stresses in that direction. Some of the steps involved in
the installation are shown in Fig. 3. As can be seen, the stress meter needs to be tied to a
stand (fabricated out of any suitable material) to ensure that the meter stays in place and
accurately measures the stresses in the desired direction. The steps in the installation of
the stress meter can be briefly outlined as given below:

4.2.1. Fabricate a suitable standwhich can be used to support the stress meter. Reinforc-
ing bars, or any other suitable material can be used for the purpose provided it can be
ensured that the meter can be securely held in place during concreting and that the stand
provides the minimum restraint to be the movement of concrete.

4.2.2. Secure this stand within the formwork before beginning to cast the concrete. During
casting, when the level of concrete reaches the level at which it is desired to install the
stress meter, take out such concrete in a bucket and fill it in the stress meter. It must be
verified that the following conditions are satisfied:

4.2.2.1 the width of the stress meter is more than twice the size of the maximum size of the
aggregate, and

4.2.2.2 the blotting paper lining of the meter has been moistened prior to pouring concret
into it.

4.2.2.3 the concrete placed in the meter (prism) should be compacted using a tamping rod
or by indirectly vibrating the stand using a vibrator, etc.

4.2.3. Once the meter has been completely filled with concrete, cover it with the upper lid
and securely tie it using binding wires.

4.2.4. Wrap the assembly using raw cloth and moisten with water, and secure it to stand
within the formwork.

The concrete pour may then be continued, covering the stress meter completely. The vib-
ration in the neighbourhood of the stress meter may be carried out using mechanical needle
vibrators etc. taking care not to disturb the sutress meter from its position.

Note : The above method for the installation of the stress meter may be suitably
modified depending upon the type of the structure or the location chosen for monitoring
the thermal stresses.

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Supporting stand for the meter

Lid of the box

Outer case for the concrete box

Fig.3. Installation of the stress meter

4.3 Frequency of Measurement


The interval and duration of measurement depend upon the aim of the measurement, the
type of the structure, etc. The following may, however, be used as a general guideline in
conducting the measurements:

Age after placing Frequency of collecting data

Up to 1 day Every hour


1 3 days Every 6 hours
3 7 days Every 24 hours
After 7 days 1) Every 48 hours

1) It is recommended that the measurements be continued till the temperature of the


concrete reaches the atmospheric temperature.
It may, however, be noted that the stresses can be accurately measured only so far as
no cracks are formed in concrete in the neighborhood of the stress meter.

5. Results

A typical example of the results obtained using the stress meter in terms of the stress
history as obtained in the case of a 1.5m thick concrete is shown in Fig.4. The variation of
temperature recorded is also given in Fig.5 for reference. The figures show the initial
compressive stresses generated during the period when the internal temperature rises, and
the subsequent transition to development of tensile stresses on account of the cooling of
the concrete. A sudden change in the measured stress values (marked by X in the Fig.4 )
indicates possible formation of cracks in the neighborhood of the meter and may be taken to
mean that the subsequent the stress values recorded are not accurate.
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Center
50.

Side
40.
EMPERATURE ()

Bottom
30.

Top

20.

Atomosphere
10.

0.
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
IME (DAYS]

Fig.4 Variation of temperature with time

40

Center
Top
30
Center
2.4m

Side

20
STRESS (KG/CM)

Bottom

1.5m Top
10

Tensile Top
0
Bottom Top
Compressive
-10
Side
Center
-20
0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
TIME (DAYS)

Fig.5 Variation of measured stress in concrete

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6. Report

A test report giving the details of the measurement of thermal stresses carried out as
outlined in this recommendation must give the following details:

6.1 Basic information that must always be provided

Details of the stress meter used including the size and type of model used, the range of
the load cell and the correcting factor
Type of structure, including the size and details of the member, etc.
Location and direction of the stress meter embedded
Method of fixing the stress meter within concrete
Mix proportion of the concrete, including the type of cement, cement content,
maximum size of aggregate
Temperature of fresh concrete when placed
Variation of the atmospheric temperature

6.2 Additional information

Compressive strength development using laboratory specimens, including the detail of


measurement
Tensile strength development using laboratory specimens, including the details of
measurement
Variation of temperature change of concrete at the location of stress monitoring
Variation of strain within concrete at the location of stress monitoring

7. Appendix

7.1 Principle of measurement


A schematic representation of the measurement of thermal stresses in concrete is given in
Fig.A-1

Load cell Surrounding concrete


Isolator
Concrete in the stress meter

Ac b
As

ls lc

Fig.A-1. Schematic representation of measurement of thermal stresses


using the stress meter

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The thermal stress in the surrounding concrete is related to the stress in the prism
concrete (concrete within the stress meter) as follows ;

c = g (2)
KgKc
where,
c is the stress in the surrounding concrete,
g is the stress in the concrete prism,
Kg is the rigidity of the overall system comprising of the load cell and the prism, and
Kc is the rigidity of the surrounding concrete.

Thus, in order to ensure accurate measurement ofc , an attempt must be made to ensure
the ratio of the rigidities of the stress meter system (load cell and prism) and the
surrounding concrete is as close the unity as possible.

7.2 Rigidity and Error in Measurement


From the schematic representation of measurement of thermal stresses in Fig.A-1, the
rigidities of the stress meter and surrounding concrete depend upon their length and the
modulus of elasticity of the load cell, etc.
Their relationship can be expressed as follows

Kg ls + lc
= (3)
Kc Ec Ac
ls + lc
Es As
where,

Kg is the rigidity of the load cell and the prism,


Kc is the rigidity of surrounding concrete,
Ec, Ac are the Youngs modulus and crosssectional area of the concrete prism, and
Es, As are the Youngs modulus and the crosssectional area of the load cell,
lc and ls are the lengths of the concrete prism and load cell (see Fig.1).

Based on Eq.(1) and using the Youngs modulus of steel (210 GPa) for Es, the variation
of Kg/Kc with the Youngs modulus of concrete for different values of ls, lc, As and Ac
is given in Fig.A2.
1.3
ls/(ls+lc)=0.2, Ac/As=5
1.2
ls/(ls+lc)=0.1, Ac/As=10
1.1
ls/(ls+lc)=0.05,Ac/As=5
Kg/Kc

1.0

0.9

0.8

0.7
0.001 0.01 0.1 1(10)
Ec (kg/cm)
oungs modulus concrete
Fig.A-2. Effect of the rigidity of the stress meter and of the Young s modulus of concrete
on Kg/Kc
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We see that by having a large enough lc compared to ls, the ratio Kg/Kc approaches the
unity, a condition where the measurement ensures best results.
From the Fig.A1, it is shown that by having lc large enough compared to ls, the ratio
Kg/Kc approaches the unity, a condition where the neasurement ensures best results.

7.3 Effect of creep and drying shrinkage


Because of the special feature of the stress meter, in which the prism is cast with the same
concrete as the surrounding concrete, and, the exchange of moisture allowed through the
walls made of wire mesh, lined with blotting paper, the creep, shrinkage, etc. of the
concrete prism and the surrounding concrete, is similar and therefore the effect of these
factors on the measured values of thermal stress is insignificant.

7.4 Effect of temperature


The coefficient of linear expansion of the stress meter (load-cell and the concrete
prism) can be represented as follows:
c
g ls + lc
s
= (3)
c ls + lc

where,

g is the coefficient of linear expansion of the stress meter,


s is the coefficient of linear expansion of the load cell,
c is the coefficient of linear expansion of the surrounding concrete.

This equation also suggests that more accurate results can be obtained by increasing
the length of the prism in relation to the length of the load cell. As an example, if s is
taken to be 10x106/, ls/lc is assumed to be 0.1 and the range for c is taken as 9
13x106/, we get g/c to be in the range 1.010.98. Thus it can be seen that the
changes in temperature do not much affect measured thermal stresses.