About the research
Ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) has received significant attention for bridge applications, especially where superior strength and durability characteristics are critical (e.g., in joints). Although the high strength and durability of UHPC permit the production of thinner/lighter structural elements with a longer service life and less maintenance needs, use of UHPC in many of bridge projects is found cost prohibitive because commercially available/proprietary mixes can cost up to 20 times of conventional concrete mixes. This has motivated research efforts to develop cost-effective UHPC mixes through optimizing the cement content, replacing a portion of cement with supplementary cementitious materials, relying on less expensive granular materials, and eliminating special curing treatment (such as steam curing) from the production process. Considering the promising results for non-proprietary UHPC mixes and the growing need to utilize cost-effective UHPC for bridge structures, this project aims to (1) develop non-proprietary UHPC mixes made with materials readily available in Iowa, (2) investigate the performance of the developed non-proprietary UHPC mixes at both fresh and hardened stages, and (3) develop a performance-based guideline to effectively utilize non-proprietary UHPC mixes for different bridge components and exposure conditions.