Alkali-silica reaction (ASR) in concrete structures: Mechanisms, effects and evaluation test methods adopted in the United States


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Alkali-silica reaction (ASR) and its associated deformation are major durability problems in concrete structures and was reported as far back as the 1940s by Stanton (2008) [1]. This deleterious reaction causes excessive expansion and cracks that can lead to severe degradation of the concrete structures. Despite the age-long discovery and numerous ASR studies, understanding the ASR mechanism remains challenging due to complex processes and reactions. This paper presents a review of ASR in concrete structures and details the factors associated with ASR, the reaction mechanism and chemistry, and its adverse effect on concrete structures. The alkalis in the pore solution, the reactive amorphous silica present in aggregates, and the presence of moisture (with other external climatic inputs) are the key factors responsible for ASR. The study also provides a critical assessment of the various test methods for ASR evaluation in the United States. A case study correlating the results (from the literature) of three prominent test methods was also carried out. From this review, the new miniature concrete prism test (MCPT) method was concluded to be rapid, reliable, and capable of determining the influence of aggregate reactivity, alkali availability, and exposure conditions as compared to other methods.



Alkali-aggregate reaction (ASR), Cracking, Reactive aggregates, Alkalis, AMBT, CPT, MCPT