Role of relative humidity in concrete expansion due to alkali-silica reaction and delayed ettringite formation: relative humidity thresholds, measurement methods, and coatings to mitigate expansion
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Premature concrete deterioration due to alkali-silica reaction (ASR) and delayed ettringite formation (DEF) is a significant problem all over the world. In cases where these mechanisms were not initially prevented, mitigation is critical to halt expansion and cracking. The main objectives of the research presented herein were to study the effect of ambient relative humidity (RH) on rates of concrete expansion, to determine RH thresholds below which expansion due to ASR and/or DEF may be suppressed, and to evaluate coatings intended to lower the internal RH of concrete and thus minimize future potential for damage. Results from testing showed that the RH threshold for ASR was below 82%, the RH threshold for DEF was below 92%, and the RH threshold for combined ASR and DEF could be about 83% for the materials tested. Furthermore, it was shown that some coatings are effective in reducing ASR- and DEF-related expansion by lowering the internal RH of concrete.