Fire Technology

, Volume 52, Issue 3, pp 817–845 | Cite as

Fire Performance of Sustainable Recycled Concrete Aggregates: Mechanical Properties at Elevated Temperatures and Current Research Needs

  • John Gales
  • Thomas Parker
  • Duncan Cree
  • Mark Green


The materials used for the construction of buildings are changing. There are now many sustainability drivers for developing novel green construction materials. An emerging material used for building construction is concrete with conventional coarse aggregates substituted as recycled concrete aggregates (RCA). This is a form of sustainable concrete. A finite number of buildings (>10) with this material have been constructed in North America, Europe and Asia. However; to help facilitate wide spread use and development of sustainable concrete with RCA, there is purpose in considering this material’s at-elevated temperature (in-fire) mechanical properties. To date, this topic has seen limited research attention as it is difficult to study. The study herein considered the mechanical properties of conventional and sustainable concrete with RCA. The only difference between the conventional and the sustainable concrete mixes was the mass proportion of a conventional natural coarse aggregate, Limestone, which had been substituted with coarse RCA (at replacement proportions of 0%, 30% and 100%). Both the ambient and elevated temperature mechanical properties were considered with compressive mechanical tests using an innovative optical technology for strain measurement. Based on the analysis performed, a proportional decrease in retained strength and elasticity of concrete at-elevated temperature with increasing RCA content was observed. For example both mechanical properties showed a 0.2% decrease in retained value for every 1% RCA increase at 500°C. In addition the modelling parameter of Poisson ratio appeared to be influenced by the heat imposed and the aggregate type contained within the concrete. For example at 500°C, this parameter showed an 73% increase for concrete samples with only Limestone aggregate and a 15% decrease for samples with only RCA (of mixed origin primarily Siliceous). This paper concludes with highlighting current knowledge gaps and research needs that when addressed could help improve the facilitation of using sustainable concrete’s with RCA in construction of buildings.


Sustainable concrete Recycled concrete aggregates Material testing Scanning electron microscopy Digital image correlation Mechanical properties RCA 



The authors acknowledge the financial support of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) through their Discovery, Fellowship, and Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE) Programs, Dr. A Take, Prof. L. Bisby, Dr. A Dobosz, Z Triantafyllidis, and J Marrs are also acknowledged for their considerable assistance.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Carleton UniversityOttawaCanada
  2. 2.University of EdinburghEdinburghUK
  3. 3.University of SaskatchewanSaskatoonCanada
  4. 4.Queen’s UniversityKingstonCanada

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