Materials and Structures

, 50:29 | Cite as

Optimization and performance of cost-effective ultra-high performance concrete

  • Weina Meng
  • Mahdi Valipour
  • Kamal Henri Khayat
Original Article


This paper presents a mix design method for ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) prepared with high-volume supplementary cementitious materials and conventional concrete sand. The method involves the optimization of binder combinations to enhance packing density, compressive strength, and rheological properties. The water-to-cementitious materials ratio is then determined for pastes prepared with the selected binders. The sand gradation is optimized using the modified Andreasen and Andersen packing model to achieve maximum packing density. The binder-to-sand volume ratio is then determined based on the void content, required lubrication paste volume, and compressive strength. The optimum fiber volume is selected based on flowability and flexural performance. The high-range water reducer dosage and w/cm are then adjusted according to the targeted mini-slump flow and compressive strength. Finally, the optimized UHPC mix designs are evaluated to determine key properties that are relevant to the intended application. This mix design approach was applied to develop cost-effective UHPC materials. The results indicate that the optimized UHPC can develop 28-days compressive strength of 125 MPa under standard curing condition and 168–178 MPa by heat curing for 1 days Such mixtures have unit cost per compressive strength at 28 days of 4.1–4.5 $/m3/MPa under standard curing.


Conventional concrete sand Cost-effective Mix design Rheological properties Supplementary cementitious materials (SCMs) Ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) 



This study was funded by the Energy Consortium Research Center of Missouri S&T under Grant No. SMR-1406-09 and the RE-CAST University Transportation Center at Missouri University of S&T under Grant No. DTRT13-G-UTC45. Certain commercial equipment, instruments, or materials are identified in this paper only in order to specify the experimental procedure.


  1. 1.
    De Larrard F, Sedran T (1994) Optimization of ultra-high-performance concrete by the use of a packing model. Cem Concr Res 24(6):997–1009CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Richard P, Cheyrezy M (1995) Composition of reactive powder concretes. Cem Concr Res 25:1501–1511CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Brühwiler E, Denarié E (2008) Rehabilitation of concrete structures using ultra-high performance fibre reinforced concrete. In: Proceedings of the second international symposium on ultra high performance concrete, Kassel, pp 1–8Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Habert G, Denarié E, Šajna A, Rossi P (2013) Lowering the global warming impact of bridge rehabilitations by using ultra high performance fibre reinforced concretes. Cem Concr Compos 38:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Yu R, Spiesz P, Brouwers HJH (2014) Mix design and properties assessment of Ultra-High Performance Fibre Reinforced Concrete (UHPFRC). Cem Concr Res 56:29–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    El-Dieb AS (2009) Mechanical, durability and microstructural characteristics of ultra-high-strength self-compacting concrete incorporating steel fibres. Mater Des 30:4286–4292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Hassan AMT, Jones S, Mahmud GH (2012) Experimental test methods to determine the uniaxial tensile and compressive behaviour of Ultra-High Performance Fibre Reinforced Concrete (UHPFRC). Constr Build Mater 37:874–882CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Wang C, Yang C, Liu F, Wan C, Pu X (2012) Preparation of ultra-high performance concrete with common technology and materials. Cem Concr Compos 34:538–544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Wille K, Naaman AE, Parra-Montesinos GJ (2011) Ultra-high performance concrete with compressive strength exceeding 150 MPa (22 ksi): a simpler way. ACI Mater J 108:45–54Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Wille K, Naaman AE, El-Tawil S (2011) Optimizing ultra-high-performance fiber-reinforced concrete. Concr Int 33:35–41Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Yang SL, Millard SG, Soutsos MN, Barnett SJ, Le TT (2009) Influence of aggregate and curing regime on the mechanical properties of ultra-high performance fibre reinforced concrete (UHPFRC). Constr Build Mater 2:2291–2298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Le HT, Müller M, Siewert K, Ludwig HM (2015) The mix design for self-compacting high performance concrete containing various mineral admixtures. Mater Des 72:51–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Graybeal B (2011) Ultra-high performance concrete. FHWA-HRT-11-038. FHWA, U.S. Department of TransportationGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Khayat KH, Mitchell D, Long WJ, Lemieus G, Hwang SD, Yahia A, Cook WD, Baali L (2007) Self-consolidating concrete for precast, prestressed concrete bridge elements. NCHRP Project 18–12. University of Sherbrooke, QuebecGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Richard P, Cheyrezy M (1994) Reactive powder concretes with high ductility and 200–800 MPa compressive strength. ACI Mater J 144:507–518Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Dils J, Boel V, De Schutter G (2015) Vacuum mixing technology to improve the mechanical properties of ultra-high performance concrete. Mater Struc 48:3485–3501CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Funk JE, Dinger DR (1994) Predictive process control of crowded particulate suspension. Applied to ceramic manufacturing. Kluwer Academic Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Yu R, Spiesz P, Brouwers HJH (2015) Development of an eco-friendly Ultra-High Performance Concrete (UHPC) with efficient cement and mineral admixtures uses. Cem Concr Compos 55:383–394CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Li LG, Kwan AKH (2014) Packing density of concrete mix under dry and wet conditions. Powder Tech 253:514–521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Iveson SM, Litster JD, Hapgood K, Ennis BJ (2001) Nucleation, growth and breakage phenomena in agitated wet granulation processes: a review. Powder Tech 117:3–39CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Tomas J (2004) Fundamentals of cohesive powder consolidation and flow. Granular Matter 6:75–86CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Wu Q, An XH (2014) Development of a mix design method for SCC based on the rheological characteristics of paste. Constr Build Mater 53:642–651CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Hwang SD, Khayat KH (2006) Effect of various admixture-binder combinations on workability of ready-mix self-consolidating concrete. ACI Mater J 233:25–44Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Dudziak L, Mechtcherine V (2008) Mitigation of volume changes of ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC) by using super absorbent polymers. In: Proceedings of the second international symposium on ultra high performance concrete, Kassel, pp 425–432Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    EFNARC (2002) Specification and guidelines for self-compacting concrete, English edn. European Federation for Specialist Construction Chemicals and Concrete Systems, NorfolkGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Khayat HK, Kassimi F, Ghoddousi P (2014) Mixture design and testing of fiber-reinforced self-consolidating concrete. ACI Mater J 111:143–152Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Tattersall GH, Banfill PFG (1983) Rheology of fresh concrete. Pitman, LondonGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Li LG, Kwan AKH (2011) Mortar design based on water film thickness. Constr Build Mater 25:2381–2390CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Koehler E, Fowler D (2007) Aggregate in self-consolidating concrete. In: ICAR project 108. The University of Texas at Austin: International Center for Aggregates ResearchGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Park SH, Kim DJ, Ryu GS, Koh KT (2012) Tensile behavior of ultra-high performance hybrid fiber reinforced concrete. Cem Concr Compos 34:172–184CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Termkhajornkit P, Nawa T, Ohnuma H (2001) Effects of properties of fly ash on fluidity of paste. Cem Sci Concr Technol 55:163–169Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Parka CK, Nohb MH, Parkb TH (2005) Rheological properties of cementitious materials containing mineral admixtures. Cem Concr Res 35:842–849CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Otsubo Y, Miyai S, Umeya K (1980) Time-dependent flow of cement paste. Cem Concr Res 10:631–638CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Ferraris CF, Obla KH, Hill R (2001) The influence of mineral admixtures on the rheology of cement paste and concrete. Cem Concr Res 31:245–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Wong HHC, Kwan AKH (2008) Rheology of cement paste: role of excess water to solid surface area ratio. J Mater Civil Eng, ASCE 20:189–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Mechtcherine V, Secrieru E, Schröf C (2015) Effect of superabsorbent polymers (SAPs) on rheological properties of fresh cement-based mortars Development of yield stress and plastic viscosity over time. Cem Concr 67:52–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Bao Y, Meng W, Chen Y, Chen G, Khayat KH (2015) Measuring mortar shrinkage and cracking by pulse pre-pump Brillouin optical time domain analysis with a single optical fiber. Mater Lett 145:344–346CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Broomfield J (2011) Measuring concrete resistivity to assess corrosion rates. Concrete Report from the Concrete Society/Institute of Corrosion Liaison Committee, pp 37–39Google Scholar

Copyright information

© RILEM 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Weina Meng
    • 1
  • Mahdi Valipour
    • 1
  • Kamal Henri Khayat
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Civil, Architectural, and Environmental Engineering, MissouriUniversity of Science and TechnologyRollaUSA

Personalised recommendations