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Interim Recommendations for the Use of Lithium to Mitigate or Prevent Alkali-Silica Reaction (ASR)

Publication No. FHWA-HRT-06-073, July 2006

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FOREWORD

Progress is being made in efforts to combat alkali-silica reaction in both new and existing portland cement concrete structures. Of the several viable methods that exist to prevent damage in concrete structures because of this significant durability problem, the use of lithium compounds has been recognized for more than 50 years. There has been renewed interest in recent years in using lithium compounds as either an admixture in new concrete or as a treatment of existing structures.

This report is intended to provide practitioners with the necessary information and guidance to test, specify, and use lithium compounds in new concrete construction, as well as in repair and service life extension applications. This report will be of interest to engineers, contractors, and others involved in the design and specification of new concrete, as well as those involved in mitigation of the damaging effects of alkali-silica reaction in existing concrete structures.

Gary Henderson
Director, Office of Infrastructure Research and Development

NOTICE

This document is disseminated under the sponsorship of the U.S. Department of Transportation in the interest of information exchange. The U.S. Government assumes no liability for its contents or use thereof. This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade and manufacturers' names appear in this report only because they are considered essential to the object of the document.

QUALITY ASSURANCE STATEMENT

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) provides high-quality information to serve Government, industry, and the public in a manner that promotes public understanding. Standards and policies are used to ensure and maximize the quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of its information. FHWA periodically reviews quality issues and adjusts its programs and processes to ensure continuous quality improvement.

Technical Report Documentation Page
1. Report No.

FHWA-HRT-06-073
2. Government Accession No.3. Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle

Interim Recommendations for the Use of Lithium to Mitigate or Prevent Alkali-Silica Reaction (ASR)
5. Report Date

July 2006
6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)

Kevin J. Folliard, Michael D.A. Thomas, Benoit Fournier, Kimberly E. Kurtis, and Jason H. Ideker
8. Performing Organization Report No.
9. Performing Organization Name and Address

The Transtec Group, Inc.
1012 East 38½ Street
Austin, TX 78751
10. Work Unit No.
11. Contract or Grant No.

DTFH61-02-C-00097
12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address

Office of Infrastructure Research and Development
Federal Highway Administration
6300 Georgetown Pike
McLean, VA 22101-2296
13. Type of Report and Period Covered

Interim Report
April-November 2005
14. Sponsoring Agency Code
15. Supplementary Notes

Contracting Officer's Technical Representative (COTR): Fred Faridazar, HRDI-11
16. Abstract

Alkali-silica reaction (ASR) is a significant durability problem that has resulted in premature deterioration of various types of concrete structures in the United States and throughout the world. Although several viable methods exist to prevent ASR-induced damage in new concrete structures, very few methods mitigate further damage in structures already affected by ASR-induced expansion and cracking. Lithium compounds have been recognized for more than 50 years as effectively preventing expansion caused by ASR, and there has been renewed interest in recent years in using lithium compounds as either an admixture in new concrete or as a treatment of existing structures. This report is intended to provide practitioners with the necessary information and guidance to test, specify, and use lithium compounds in new concrete construction, as well as its use in repair and service life extension applications. This report replaces the previous report (Guidelines for the Use of Lithium to Mitigate or Prevent ASR, Folliard, et al., 2003) and includes significant changes, especially those related to recommendations for testing and specifying lithium compounds.

This report provides a basic overview of ASR, including information on mechanisms, symptoms of ASR damage in field structures, mitigation approaches, test methods, and specifications. A comprehensive summary of lithium compounds is provided, including information on their production, availability, and use in laboratory concrete studies and field applications (including a range of case studies). Guidelines for using lithium compounds as an admixture in new concrete and for treating existing structures suffering from ASR-induced damage are presented, including information on how to assess the efficacy of lithium compounds in laboratory tests. Some basic information also is provided on the economics of using lithium both in new concrete and as a treatment for existing structures. A summary of conclusions is included and identifies several technical and practical issues that should be considered for future laboratory studies and field applications.
17. Key Words

Alkali-silica reaction, lithium, concrete durability, mitigation, fresh concrete, hardened concrete, case studies, laboratory testing, field investigation, existing structures
18. Distribution Statement

No Restrictions. This document is available to the public through the National Technical Information Service; Springfield, VA 22161.
19. Security Classif. (of this report)

Unclassified
20. Security Classif. (of this page)

Unclassified
21. No. of Pages

94
22. Price

Form DOT F 1700.7 (8-72) Reproduction of completed page authorized

SI* (Modern Metric) Conversion Factors


Table of Contents

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION

1.1 OVERVIEW

1.2 Summary of revisions and modifications to guidelines

1.3 ORGANIZATION OF REPORT

CHAPTER 2 ALKALI-SILICA REACTION

2.1 INTRODUCTION

2.2 ALKALI-SILICA REACTION

2.2.1 Essential Components of ASR

2.2.2 Mechanisms of ASR

2.2.3 Symptoms of ASR

2.3 LABORATORY TEST METHODS FOR ASSESSING ASR

2.4 METHODS OF MITIGATING ASR

2.4.1 Minimizing or Preventing ASR in New Concrete

2.4.2 Mitigating ASR in Existing Concrete

2.5 SPECIFICATIONS

2.6 CONCLUSIONS

CHAPTER 3 LITHIUM COMPOUNDS FOR CONTROLLING ASR

3.1 INTRODUCTION

3.2 THE BASICS OF LITHIUM

3.3 USING LITHIUM COMPOUNDS TO CONTROL ASR

3.3.1 History and Background

3.3.2 Mechanisms of ASR Suppression by Lithium Compounds

3.3.3 Laboratory Studies Using Lithium to Control ASR: A Critical Review

3.3.4 Specifications for Using Lithium to Control ASR in Concrete

3.4 CONCLUSIONS

CHAPTER 4 CASE STUDIES

4.1 INTRODUCTION

4.2 USING LITHIUM AS AN ADMIXTURE IN NEW CONCRETE

4.2.1 Lomas Boulevard, Albuquerque, NM (1992)

4.2.2 Lackawanna Valley Industrial Highway, PA (1997)

4.2.3 U.S. I-90, Oacoma, SD (1996)

4.2.4 Coyote Springs Bridge, NM (2000)

4.2.5 Bridge Deck Overlay, Wilmington, DE (1999)

4.2.6 Bridge Deck Overlay, Lyman County, SD (2000)

4.2.7 Utility Transmission Towers, Corpus Christi, TX (2000)

4.2.8 Repair of Platte Winner Bridge, SD (1998)

4.3 USING LITHIUM TO SUPPRESS EXPANSION IN ASR-AFFECTED CONCRETE

4.3.1 Topical Applications

4.3.2 Electrochemical Migration

4.3.3 Pressure Injection

4.3.4 Vacuum Impregnation

CHAPTER 5 APPROACH FOR USING LITHIUM IN NEW AND EXISTING CONCRETE STRUCTURES

5.1 INTRODUCTION

5.2 USing LITHIUM COMPOUNDS IN NEW CONCRETE

5.2.1 Performance-Based Recommendations for Using Lithium in New Concrete

5.2.2 Prescriptive Guidelines for Lithium in New Concrete

5.3 USING LITHIUM IN EXISTING CONCRETE

5.3.1 Topical Applications

5.3.2 Electrochemical Migration

5.3.3 Vacuum Impregnation

CHAPTER 6 ECONOMIC CONSIDERATIONS OF USING LITHIUM COMPOUNDS

6.1 INTRODUCTION

6.2 ECONOMICS OF USING LITHIUM COMPOUNDS IN NEW CONCRETE

6.3 ECONOMICS OF TREATING EXISTING CONCRETE WITH LITHIUM

CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE WORK

7.1 CONCLUSIONS

7.2 RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FUTURE WORK

REFERENCES

List of Figures

Figure 1. The Three Necessary Components for ASR-Induced Damage in Concrete

Figure 2. Effects of Alkali Content on Expansion of Prisms Stored Over Water at 38 °C (After Thomas, 2002)

Figure 3. Effects of Relative Humidity on Expansion Using the ASTM C 1293 Storage Regime (Pedneault, 1996)

Figure 4. Effects of pH on Dissolution of Amorphous Silica (Tang and Su-Fen, 1980)

Figure 5. Thin-Section Cut of ASR-Damaged Concrete, Showing ASR Gel and Typical Crack Pattern (Through Aggregate and Into Surrounding Matrix)

Figure 6. ASR-Induced Damage in Unrestrained Concrete Element. Uniform Expansion in All Directions Results in Classic Map-Cracking

Figure 7. ASR-Induced Damage in Restrained Concrete Elements, Including (a) Reinforced Concrete Column, and (b) Prestressed Concrete Girder

Figure 8. Misalignment of Adjacent Sections of a Parapet Wall on a Highway Bridge Due to ASR-Induced Expansion (Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP)-315, 1991)

Figure 9. Extrusion of Joint-Sealing Material Triggered by Excessive Expansion Due to ASR

Figure 10. Synergistic Effects of Ternary Blends in Controlling ASR Expansion Using ASTM C 1260 (After Bleszynski, et al., 2000)

Figure 11. Relative Expansion of Mortar Bars Containing Lithium Compounds (After McCoy and Caldwell, 1951)

Figure 12. Relative Expansion of Concrete Prisms Containing Lithium Compounds

Figure 13. Comparison Between the Minimum Lithium to Alkali Molar Ratios to Control ASR Expansion Based on CPT and AMBT Results (Plot of Data in Table 9) (Tremblay, et al. 2005)

Figure 14. Elastic Modulus of Concrete Cores From Lomas Boulevard

Figure 15. General View of Lomas Boulevard Experimental Pavement

Figure 16. Control Section With Placitas-February 1999

Figure 17. Section With Class C Fly Ash and Placitas-February 1999

Figure 18. Section With Class F Fly Ash and Placitas-February 1999

Figure 19. Section With 1 Percent LiOH and Placitas-February 1999

Figure 20. Section With Class F Fly Ash and Placitas-May 2001

Figure 21. Lackawanna Valley Industrial Highway Experimental Section

Figure 22. Lackawanna Valley Industrial Highway Experimental Pavement-15 percent Class F Fly Ash (Mix #9)-May 2001

Figure 23. Impact Echo Testing-Lackawanna Valley Industrial Highway Experimental Pavement

Figure 24. Experimental Pavement on I-90 Near Oacoma, SD

Figure 25. Coyote Springs Bridge, NM

Figure 26. Cracking on Deck Surface of Coyote Springs Bridge, NM

Figure 27. Bridge Deck Overlay, Wilmington, DE

Figure 28. Comparison of Existing ASR-Affected Concrete (at Left) With New Overlay Concrete (at Right)

Figure 29. Bridge Deck Overlay, Lyman County, SD

Figure 30. Utility Transmission Tower Footing in Corpus Christi, TX

Figure 31. Repair of Pile Caps on Platte Winner Bridge, SD

Figure 32. Topical Application of Pavement Near Wolsey, SD

Figure 33. Bridge Carrying Westbound Lanes of I-68 Near LaVale, MD

Figure 34. Cracking in 12-Year-Old Bridge Deck

Figure 35. Cracking of 11-Year-Old Untreated Section of Rt. 1 in Delaware

Figure 36. Sections of Rt. 1 Near Bear, DE

Figure 37. Making Length-Change Measurements on a Treated Pavement in Mountain Home, ID

Figure 38. Bridge Over Montreal River Near Latchford, ON

Figure 39. Application of an Electrochemical Lithium Migration Technique for a Pier Footing on the New Jersey Turnpike

Figure 40. Optimal Time for Lithium Treatment Applied Topically (Johnston, et al., 2000)

List of Tables

Table 1. Rock Types and Reactive Minerals Susceptible to ASR (After CSA, 2000b)

Table 2. Available Standard Tests for Assessing Alkali-Silica Reactivity

Table 3. CSA Guidelines for Controlling ASR in New Concrete (CSA, 2000a)

Table 4. Principal Lithium Minerals and Their Sources (After Lumley, 1997)

Table 5. Effects of Lithium Compounds on Mortar Bar Expansion (From McCoy and Caldwell, 1951)

Table 6. Effects of Lithium Hydroxide Monohydrate on Mortar Bar Expansion (After Sakaguchi, et al., 1989)

Table 7. Effects of Lithium Compounds on Mortar Bar Expansion (After Stark, 1992)

Table 8. Summary of Selected Research Findings Related to Lithium Dosages

Table 9. Comparison Between CPT and Accelerated Mortar Bar Test (AMBT) Results to Determine the Efficacy of Lithium-Based Admixtures to Control ASR Expansion

Table 10. BRE (2002) Guidelines for Using Lithium in New Concrete

Table 11. Summary of Mixtures Used in Lomas Boulevard Experimental Pavement

Table 12. Results From the ASTM C 1260 Tests (Stark, et al., 1993)

Table 13. Observations From Petrographic Examination of Cores

Table 14. Criteria for Assessing ASR Damage Based on Staining Techniques and Petrographic Analysis

Table 15. Summary of Mixtures and Expansion Data Used in Lackawanna Valley Industrial Highway Experimental Pavement (Thomson, 2000)

Table 16. Summary of Mixtures Used in I-90 Oacoma Experimental Pavement

Table 17. Summary of Structures Treated With Lithium.

List of acronyms and abbreviations

Terms

AAR Alkali-Aggregate Reaction

AASHTO American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials

ACR Alkali-Carbonate Reaction

AMBT Accelerated Mortar Bar Test

ASR Alkali-Silica Reaction

ASTM American Society for Testing and Materials

BRE Building Research Establishment

CPT Concrete Prism Test

CSA Canadian Standards Association

DOT Department of Transportation

ECE Electrochemical Chloride Extraction

EDL Electrical Double Layer

FHWA Federal Highway Administration

LANL Los Alamos National Laboratory

NMSHTD New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department

SCM Supplementary Cementitious Material

SHRP Strategic Highway Research Program

SEM Scanning Electron Microscopy

UK United Kingdom

Chemical Notations

C-S-H Calcium silicate hydrate

CaOH Calcium hydroxide

K2O Potassium oxide

KCl Potassium chloride

[Li]/[Na+K] Molar ratio of lithium ions to the sum of sodium and potassium ions

LiCl Lithium chloride

LiF Lithium flouride

LiNO3 Lithium nitrate

LiOH Lithium hydroxide

LiOH·H2O Lithium hydroxide monohydrate

Li2CO3 Lithium carbonate

Li2SiO3 Lithium silicate

Li2SO4 Lithium sulfate

M molar

N normal

Na2O Sodium oxide

Na2Oe Total sodium oxide equivalent

NaCl Sodium chloride

OH- Hydroxyl ion

Measurements

cm centimeter

g gram

GPa gigapascal

kg kilogram

kgf kilogram force

L liter

m meter

mL milliliter

MPa megapascal

ppm parts per million

w/cm water-cementitious materials ratio


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Contact

Fred Faridazar
Office of Research, Development and Technology
202-493-3076
E-mail Fred

 
 
Updated: 04/07/2011
 

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