The strive for a time-efficient construction process naturally put focus on the possibility of reducing the time of waiting between stages of construction, thereby minimizing the construction cost. If recently placed concrete, cast or sprayed, is exposed to impact vibrations at an early age while still in the process of hardening, damage that threatens the function of the hard concrete may occur. A waiting time when the concrete remains undisturbed, or a safe distance to the vibration source, is therefore needed. However, there is little, or no, fully proven knowledge of the length of this distance or time and there are no established guidelines for practical use. Therefore, conservative vibration limits are used for young and hardening concrete exposed to vibrations from e.g. blasting.
As a first step in the dynamic analysis of a structure, the dynamic loads should always be identified and characterized. Here it is concluded that impact-type loads are the most dangerous of possible dynamic loads on young and hardening concrete. Shotcrete (sprayed concrete) on hard rock exposed to blasting and cast laboratory specimens subjected to direct mechanical impact loads have been investigated using finite element models based on the same analysis principles. Stress wave propagation is described in the same way whether it is through hard rock towards a shotcrete lining or through an element of young concrete. However, the failure modes differ for the two cases where shotcrete usually is damaged through loss of bond, partly or over larger sections that may result in shotcrete downfall. Cracking in shotcrete due to vibrations only is unusual and has not been observed during previous in situ tests. The study of shotcrete is included to demonstrate the need of specialized guidelines for cases other than for mass concrete, i.e. structural elements or concrete volumes with large dimensions in all directions.
Within this project, work on evaluating and proposing analytical models are made in several steps, first with a focus on describing the behaviour of shotcrete on hard rock. It is demonstrated that wave propagation through rock towards shotcrete can be described using two-dimensional elastic finite element models in a dynamic analysis. The models must include the material properties of the rock and the accuracy of these parameters will greatly affect the results. It is possible to follow the propagation of stress waves through the rock mass, from the centre of blasting to the reflection at the shotcrete-rock interface. It is acceptable to use elastic material formulations until the strains are outside the elastic range, which thus indicates imminent material failure. The higher complexity of this type of model, compared with mechanical models using mass and spring elements, makes it possible to analyse more sophisticated geometries. Comparisons are made between numerical results and measurements from experiments in mining tunnels with ejected rock mass and shotcrete bond failure, and with measurements made during blasting for tunnel construction where rock and shotcrete remained intact. The calculated results are in good correspondence with the in situ observations and measurements, and with previous numerical modelling results. Examples of preliminary recommendations for practical use are given and it is demonstrated how the developed models and suggested analytical technique can be used for further detailed investigations.
The modelling concept has also been used for analysis of impact loaded beams and concrete prisms modelled with 3D solid elements. As a first analysis step, an elastic material model was used to validate laboratory experiments with hammer-loaded concrete beams. The laboratory beam remained un-cracked during the experiments, and thus it was possible to achieve a good agreement using a linear elastic material model for fully hardened concrete. The model was further developed to enable modelling of cracked specimens. For verification of the numerical results, earlier laboratory experiments with hammer impacted smaller prisms of young concrete were chosen. A comparison between results showed that the laboratory tests can be reproduced numerically and those free vibration modes and natural frequencies of the test prisms contributed to the strain concentrations that gave cracking at high loads. Furthermore, it was investigated how a test prism modified with notches at the middle section would behave during laboratory testing. Calculated results showed that all cracking would be concentrated to one crack with a width equal to the sum of the multiple cracks that develop in un-notched prisms. In laboratory testing, the modified prism will provide a more reliable indication of when the critical load level is reached.
This project has been interdisciplinary, combining structural dynamics, finite element modelling, concrete material technology, construction technology and rock support technology. It is a continuation from previous investigations of the effect on young shotcrete from blasting vibrations but this perspective has been widened to also include young, cast concrete. The outcome is a recommendation for how dynamic analysis of young concrete, cast and sprayed, can be carried out with an accurate description of the effect from impact-type loads. The type of numerical models presented and evaluated will provide an important tool for the work towards guidelines for practical use in civil engineering and concrete construction work. Some recommendations on safe distances and concrete ages are given, for newly cast concrete elements or mass concrete and for newly sprayed shotcrete on hard rock.
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, 2015. , x, 68 p.
Young concrete · Shotcrete · Rock · Impact-type vibration · Finite element method · Fracture mechanics model · Crack width