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A combined experimental and numerical approach to spalling of high-performance concrete due to fire

Abstract : Concrete has been extensively used in the construction industry as a building material. A major drawback of this material is its instability at high temperature, expressed in the form of violent or non-violent detachment of layers or pieces of concrete from the surface of a structural element. This phenomenon, known as fire spalling, can lead to the failure of concrete structures such as tunnels, high rise buildings, nuclear power-plants, underground parkings etc. because the reinforcement steel is directly exposed to high temperature and the designed cross section of the concrete elements (e.g., columns, beams, slabs) is reduced. A lot of research has been dedicated on developing preventing methods for spalling and also on determining the parameters that have an influence on it. However, the physics behind this phenomenon is not yet fully understood.In this doctoral, the first 3D measurements of moisture content in heated concrete, which is believed to be one of the processes directly related to spalling, have been performed using in-situ neutron tomography. In order to follow the fast dehydration process of concrete, one 3D scan (containing 500 radiographs) per minute was captured thanks to the world leading flux at the Institute Laue Langevin (ILL) in Grenoble France. This acquisition speed, which is ten times faster than any other experiment reported in the literature, was sufficient to follow the dehydration process. A dedicated setup, adapted to neutron imaging and high temperature, has been developed for performing such kind of experiments. Concrete samples with different aggregate size have been tested. Quantitative analysis showing the effect of the aggregate size on the moisture distribution is presented. Results on the moisture accumulation behind the drying front, known as the moisture-clog, are also presented and discussed.In parallel, a numerically-efficient coupled thermo-hydro-mechanical (THM) model has been implemented in the finite element software Cast3M for understanding and predicting the complex behavior of concrete at high temperature in the context of spalling. The newly implemented code is remarkably faster (20-30 times) than an existing one, on which it is based. A mesoscopic approach has been adapted to the model for taking into account the heterogeneity of concrete. First the model is applied to experiments from literature monitoring standard parameters such as temperature, gas pressure and mass loss. Then, 1D moisture profiles obtained from neutron radiography experiments are used for verifying and improving the model in terms of some critical constitutive laws such as dehydration and water retention curves. Finally, the model is employed for predicting the 3D moisture distribution measured in this doctoral work via neutron tomography. Among others, mesoscopic THM simulations are performed for investigating the influence of an aggregate on the drying front.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 8:52:09 AM
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  • HAL Id : tel-01950731, version 1




Dorjan Dauti. A combined experimental and numerical approach to spalling of high-performance concrete due to fire. Mechanics of materials [physics.class-ph]. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2018. English. ⟨NNT : 2018GREAI062⟩. ⟨tel-01950731⟩



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