A futuristic science based approach to enhance quality and durability of High Performance Pre-cast Concrete Products
Concrete infrastructure projects are currently designed for delivery on time and budget through efficient management of construction processes.
The challenge for the future is to develop world leading concrete industry for manufacturing high quality products of low whole life cycle cost and low carbon emissions that are resource-efficient. These stringent requirements cannot be met by traditional vibrated concrete and they pose new engineering challenges even for self-compacting concrete (SCC) which has many advantages over vibrated concrete. SCC flows like a viscous fluid under its own weight not needing any external vibration for compaction. This has clear health and safety benefits.
It contains less cement but more paste made up of waste products such as ground blast furnace slag and limestone powder thus reducing carbon emissions and demand for natural resources.
Pre-fabrication of concrete structures from SCC under factory conditions offers a better prospect of meeting high quality demands than on-site concreting. This provides an opportunity for precast industry to drive innovation for improved product quality and productivity. However, innovation would need a science-based approach to material design of self-compacting concrete and simulation of the entire manufacturing process involving insights from concrete technology, rheology, X-ray imaging, and simulation of the flow of viscous SCC.
Although laboratory experimental techniques can be used to investigate the properties of SCC in the fresh state, they have limitations besides significant cost implications. Hence, the computational modelling of SCC in the fresh state while it is being cast into the formwork is the best alternative.
With the rapid development of computer architectures, the issues relating to the computational cost of the numerical simulations are becoming less significant. Therefore, we propose to develop an efficient computational methodology to simulate the entire casting of industrial standard structural components produced from SCC, tracking the distribution of large aggregates during the flow, validate it by CT imaging and formulate detailed design information and guidelines.
This computational modelling strategy will improve the economics of the SCC manufacture and pave the way for its wider application in the construction industry.
In this context, the main aim of this PhD project is to develop an accurate and efficient computational procedure to simulate the flow of SCC into formwork. The supervisory team has significant expertise and is internationally well renown for both design and modelling of SCC.