Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Master of Science in Civil Engineering


Civil Engineering

Major Advisor

Yang Lu, Ph.D.


Mojtaba Sadegh, Ph.D.


Arvin Farid, Ph.D.


Alkali-silica reaction (ASR) is one of the common sources of concrete damage worldwide. The surrounding environment, namely, temperature and humidity greatly influence the alkali-silica reaction induced expansion. Global warming (GW) has caused frequent change in the climate and initiated extreme weather events in recent years. These extreme events anticipate random change in temperature and humidity, and convey potential threats to the concrete infrastructure. Moreover, external loading conditions also affect the service life of concrete. Thus, complex mechanisms of ASR under the impact of seasonal change and global warming require a precise quantitative assessment to guide the durable infrastructure materials design practices. Despite decades of phenological observation study, the expansion behavior of ASR under these situations remains to be understood for capturing the ASR damage properly. Within this context this research focuses on the mathematical model development to quantify and mitigate ASR-induced damage. Mesoscale characteristics of ASR concrete was captured in the virtual cement-concrete lab where the ASR gel-induced expansion zone was added as a uniform thickness shell. Finite element method (FEM) was used to solve the ASR formation and expansion evolution. The results of this study are presented in the form of one conference and their journal manuscripts.

The first manuscript focuses on the development of the governing equations based on the chemical formulas of alkali-silica reaction to account for the ASR kinetics and swelling pressure exerted by the ASR expansion. There is a fluid flow and mass transfer in the concrete domain due to ASR gel associated from ASR kinetics. This paper involves derivation of the mass and momentum balance equation in terms of the thermo-hygro-mechanical (THM) model. THM model accounts for thermal expansion and hygroscopic swelling in addition to traffic loads to represent volumetric change in the concrete domain.

The second manuscript is a case study based on different cement-aggregate proportions and alkali hydroxide concentrations. It is important to know how ASR evolves under variable concentration of the chemical species. The simulated results show that high concentration of hydroxide ion in concrete initiates more reaction and damage in concrete. Also chemical reaction moves to the right direction with low cement to aggregate ratio which means ASR expansion depends on the availability of the reactive aggregates in the concrete domain.

The third manuscript attempts to develop a simplified ASR model that integrates chemo-physio-mechanical damage under stochastic weather impact. Stochasicity incorporates the random behavior of surrounding nature in the model. The simulated results elucidate that ASR expansion is more severe under the influence of global warming and climate change. This will support long-term damage forecasts of concrete subjected to extreme weather events.

The fourth manuscript focuses on the quantification of mechanical damage under ASR expansion and a dedicated mitigation scheme to minimize it. Added creep loads and physics identify the role of creep damage on ASR expansion. The results from this paper confirms that the ASR-induced damage significantly minimize the load carrying capacity of concrete. It directly affects the compressive strength, tensile strength, and modulus of elasticity of concrete. Damage in aggregates domain is more than the mortar phase under the creep loadings. Among many supplementary materials, fly ash is the most effective in minimizing ASR expansion and damage. This work also includes a petrographic comparison between different mineral types collected from different locations to identify the reactivity of certain aggregates.

Thus, the final outcome of this research is a complete model which is a conclusive solution to the long-term ASR damage prediction. The validated model provides better understanding of ASR kinetics from mesoscale perspective. The developed model can potentially accelerate the precise prediction of concrete service life and mitigation schemes as well as can be used as an alternative scope to the costly laboratory tests methods.