Using control flow concrete for tunnel linings
Concrete linings are a fundamental part of ensuring the structural integrity of tunnels, but pumping and placing the concrete for these jobs is a cumbersome process. Numerous challenges can arise. For example:
- Access within the tunnel is very limited, so concrete with very good flow is critical.
- Conventional concrete is not ideal for this application since it does not flow well and it can cause an obstruction in the pump, resulting in costly delays.
Why self-compacting concrete is not ideal for tunnel linings
Some contractors have tackled these challenges by using self-consolidating concrete, due to its high flow and workability. However, there can be some difficulties involved with using this type of concrete.
- Self-compacting concrete generally requires a specialised mix design, which adds to the cost.
- Producing self-compating concrete is a fine balancing act that requires on-site quality control, which gets expensive, particularly given the labour shortages in the construction industry.
Control flow concrete – a solution to these challenges
Control flow concrete was created to bridge the gap between conventional concrete and self-compating concrete. The compressive strengths of control flow concrete and conventional concrete are equivalent. However, control flow concrete offers higher flow at a lower cost than self-compating concrete, and it is also segregation resistant, making it a good solution for concrete tunnel linings.
- Concrete discharges quickly, pumps easily and can be placed with minimal energy. This can result in a faster construction schedule with the same or higher quality concrete.
- Using control flow concrete can also help contractors run a leaner operation, since handling the higher flowing concrete requires much less manual labour.
- Control flow concrete is handy in confined spaces like tunnels. It has a wider slump flow range than conventional concrete. It flows well to easily fill the form, creating a smooth, strong tunnel lining.
GCP Applied Technologies introduced admixtures under the CONCERA® brand that enable the production of segregation resistant concrete with a flow range of 16-25” (410-635mm) using conventional mix designs.
- Concrete admixtures