Alkali–silica reaction in plain and fibre concretes in field conditions


This paper presents an experimental study on the effects of alkali–silica reaction (ASR) in concrete blocks placed outdoors, exposed to weather conditions. To promote different reaction kinetics and damage levels, the size of the reactive aggregates, the alkali content and incorporation of different fibre types (steel, polymer) were the variables considered. Expansions, crack patterns and air permeability were monitored for more than 3 years. In addition, standard expansion, compression and flexion tests were performed. The volume of concrete involved in ASR enhances the development of expansions and cracking; in the blocks different expansions were measured in vertical or horizontal directions and important cracks were observed. While the prisms expansions were attenuated after the first 12 months, in the blocks the damage by ASR continues growing for more than 3 years. Although the incorporation of macrofibers does not inhibit the development of ASR, it led to benefits such as reduction in cracking and deformations.

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Alkali–silica reaction


Crack mouth opening displacement

E :

Modulus of elasticity


Fibre reinforced concrete

f c :

Cylinder compressive concrete strength

f L :

Limit of proportionality

f R1 :

Residual flexural tensile strength corresponding to CMOD = 0.5 mm

f R3 :

Residual flexural tensile strength corresponding to CMOD = 2.5 mm


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Funding from projects National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) PIP 112-201101-00765 Development and characterization of fibre reinforced concretes for structural applications and PIP 112-201501-00861 Advances in fibre reinforced concretes, La Plata National University UNLP PPID2012 Damage processes in fibre reinforced concretes and UNLP 11/I188 Fibre reinforced concretes and their contribution to the sustainable development, as well as the collaboration of Cementos Avellaneda, Cementos Artigas and Maccaferri are greatly appreciated. The authors specially thank the collaboration of M.E. Bossio, P. Bossio, A. Gerez and D. Falcone in the support of experimental works.

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Correspondence to Raúl Zerbino.

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Giaccio, G., Torrijos, M.C., Milanesi, C. et al. Alkali–silica reaction in plain and fibre concretes in field conditions. Mater Struct 52, 31 (2019).

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  • Alkali–aggregate reaction
  • Concrete
  • Degradation
  • Fibre reinforcement
  • Mechanical properties
  • Microcracking