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Publication Number: FHWA-RD-03-047
Date: July 2003

Guidelines for The Use of Lithium to Mitigate Or Prevent Alkali-Silica Reaction (Asr)

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 due to this significant durability problem, the use of lithium compounds has been recognized for more than 50 years. In recent years, there has been renewed interest in using lithium compounds as either an admixture in new concrete or to treat 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 repair and extend the service life of existing concrete structures. This report will be of interest to engineers, contractors, and others involved in designing and specifying new concrete, as well as those involved in mitigating the damaging effects of alkali-silica reaction in existing concrete structures.

Sufficient copies of this report are being distributed to provide five copies to each Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) Resource Center, five copies to each FHWA Division, and a minimum of eight copies to each State highway agency. Direct distribution is being made to the division offices. Additional copies for the public are available from the National Technical Information Service (NTIS), 5825 Port Royal Road, Springfield, VA, 22161.

T. Paul Teng, P.E.

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.

The contents of this report reflect the views of the authors, who are responsible for the accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official policy of the U.S. Department of Transportation.

This report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.

The U.S. Government does not endorse products or manufacturers. Trade or manufacturers' names appear herein only because they are considered essential to the objective of this manual.

Technical Report Documentation Page

1. Report No.
FHWA-RD-03-047
2. Government Accession No. 3. Recipient's Catalog No.
4. Title and Subtitle
Guidelines for the Use of Lithium to Mitigate or Prevent ASR
5. Report Date
6. Performing Organization Code
7. Author(s)
Kevin J. Folliard, Michael D. A. Thomas, and Kimberly E. Kurtis
8. Performing Organization Report No.
9. Performing Organization Name and Address
The Transtec Group, Inc.1012 East 38 ½ StreetAustin, TX 78751
10. Work Unit No.
11. Contract or Grant No.
DTFH61-02-C-00051
12. Sponsoring Agency Name and Address
Office of Infrastructure R&D Turner-Fairbank Highway Research Center, HRDI-126300 Georgetown Pike, Room F-209McLean, VA 22101
13. Type of Report and Period Covered
Report
14. Sponsoring Agency Code
15. Supplementary Notes
Contracting Officer's Technical Representative: Fred Faridazar, HRDI-12
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 due to 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 in repair and service life extension applications.

This report first 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 next, 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 then 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. Finally, the report provides a summary of conclusions 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
86
22. Price
Form DOT F 1700.7 Reproduction of completed page authorized

TABLE OF CONTENTS

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION
1.1 OVERVIEW
1.2 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 Lakawanna 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 GUIDELINES FOR USING LITHIUM TO CONTROL ASR IN NEW AND EXISTING CONCRETE STRUCTURES
5.1 INTRODUCTION
5.2 GUIDELINES FOR USING LITHIUM COMPOUNDS IN NEW CONCRETE
5.2.1 Performance-based Guidelines for Using Lithium in New Concrete
5.2.2 Prescriptive Guidelines for Using Lithium in New Concrete
5.3 GUIDELINES FOR 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

  1. A Sample of Reported Cases of ASR in the United States.
  2. The Three Necessary Components for ASR-Induced Damage in Concrete.
  3. Effect of Alkali Content on Expansion Using ASTM C 1293 (after Thomas, 2002).
  4. Effect of Relative Humidity on Expansion Using ASTM C 1293 (Pedneault, 1996).
  5. Effect of pH on Dissolution of Amorphous Silica (Tang and Su-fen, 1980).
  6. Thin-Section Cut of ASR-Damaged Concrete, Showing ASR Gel and Typical Crack Pattern (Through Aggregate and into Surrounding Matrix).
  7. ASR-Induced Damage in Unrestrained Concrete Element. Uniform Expansion in all Directions Results in Classic Map-Cracking.
  8. ASR-Induced Damage in Restrained Concrete Elements, Including (a) Reinforced Concrete Column, and (b) Prestressed Concrete Girder.
  9. Misalignment of Adjacent Sections of a Parapet Wall on a Highway Bridge Due to ASR-Induced Expansion (SHRP-315, 1994).
  10. Extrusion of Joint-Sealing Material Triggered by Excessive Expansion from ASR.
  11. Synergistic Effects of Ternary Blends in Controlling ASR Expansion Using ASTM C 1260 (after Bleszynski et al., 2000).
  12. Relative Expansion of Mortar Bars Containing Lithium Compounds (after McCoy and Caldwell, 1951).
  13. Relative Expansion of Concrete Prisms Containing Lithium Compounds.
  14. Elastic Modulus of Concrete Cores from Lomas Boulevard.
  15. General View of Lomas Boulevard Experimental Pavement.
  16. Control Section with Placitas-February, 1999.
  17. Section with Class C Fly Ash and Placitas-February, 1999.
  18. Section with Class F Fly Ash and Placitas-February, 1999.
  19. Section with 1 Percent LiOH and Placitas-February, 1999.
  20. Section with Class F Fly Ash and Placitas-May, 2001.
  21. Lackawanna Valley Industrial Highway Experimental Section.
  22. Lackawanna Valley Industrial Highway Experimental Pavement-15 Percent Fly Ash (Mix #9)-May, 2001.
  23. Impact Echo Testing-Lackawanna Valley Industrial Highway Experimental Pavement.
  24. Experimental Pavement on U.S. I-90 near Oacoma, SD.
  25. Coyote Springs Bridge, NM.
  26. Cracking on Deck Surface of Coyote Springs Bridge, NM.
  27. Bridge Deck Overlay, Wilmington, DE.
  28. Comparison of Existing ASR-Affected Concrete (at left) with New Overlay Concrete (at right).
  29. Bridge Deck Overlay, Lyman County, SD.
  30. Utility Transmission Tower Footing in Corpus Christi, TX.
  31. Repair of Pile Caps on Platte Winner Bridge, SD.
  32. Topical Application of Pavement near Wolsey, SD.
  33. Bridge Carrying Westbound Lanes of U.S. I-68 Near LaVale, MD.
  34. Cracking in 12-Year-Old Bridge Deck.
  35. Cracking of 11-Year-Old Untreated Section of S.R. 1 in Delaware.
  36. Sections of S.R. 1 near Bear, DE.
  37. Bridge over Montreal River near Latchford, ON.
  38. Application of an Electrochemical Lithium Migration Technique for a Pier Footing on the New Jersey Turnpike.
  39. Optimal Time for Lithium Treatment Applied Topically (Johnston et al., 2000).

LIST OF TABLES

  1. Rock Types and Reactive Minerals Susceptible to ASR (after CSA, 2000b).
  2. Available Standard Tests for Assessing ASR.
  3. CSA Guidelines for Controlling ASR in New Concrete (CSA, 2000a).
  4. Principal Lithium Minerals and their Sources (after Lumley, 1997).
  5. Effects of Lithium Compounds on Mortar Bar Expansion (from McCoy and Caldwell, 1951).
  6. Effects of Lithium Hydroxide Monohydrate on Mortar Bar Expansion (after Sakaguchi et al., 1989).
  7. Effects of Lithium Compounds on Mortar Bar Expansion (after Stark, 1992).
  8. Summary of Selected Research Findings Relating to Lithium Dosages.
  9. BRE (2002) Guidelines for Using Lithium in New Concrete.
  10. Summary of Mixtures Used in Lomas Boulevard Experimental Pavement.
  11. Results from ASTM C 1260 Tests (Stark et al. 1993).
  12. Observations from Petrographic Examination of Cores.
  13. Criteria for Assessing ASR Damage Based on Staining Techniques and Petrographic Analysis.
  14. Summary of Mixtures Used in Lackawanna Valley Industrial Highway Experimental Pavement (Thomson, 2000).
  15. Summary of Mixtures Used in U.S. I-90 Oacoma Experimental Pavement.
  16. Summary of Structures Treated with Lithium.

List of Acronyms and Abbreviations

Terms
AASHTO American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials
ACR alkali-carbonate reaction
ASR alkali-silica reaction
ASTM American Society for Testing and Materials
BRE Building Research Establishment
CSA Canadian Standards Association
DOT Department of Transportation
ECE Electrochemical chloride extraction
EDL Electrical double layer
LANL Los Alamos National Laboratory
SCM Supplementary cementing material
SHRP Strategic Highway Research Program


Chemical Notations
C-S-H Calcium silicate hydrate
CaOH Calcium hydroxide
KCl Potassium chloride
K2O Potassium oxide
KOH Potassium hydroxide
Li:(Na + K) Molar ratio of lithium ions to the sum of sodium and potassium ions
LiBO2 Lithium borate
LiCl Lithium chloride
Li2CO3 Lithium carbonate
LiF Lithium fluoride
LiNO3 Lithium nitrate
LiOH Lithium hydroxide
LiOH·H2O Lithium hydroxide monohydrate
Li2SiO3 Lithium silicate
Li2SO4 Lithium sulfate
NaCl Sodium chloride
Na2O Sodium oxide
Na2Oe Total sodium oxide equivalent
NaOH Sodium hydroxide
OH- Hydroxyl ion
Si-O-Si Siloxane
Si-OH Acidic silanol

Measurements

cm centimeter
g gram
GPa Gigapascal
kg kilogram
kgf kilogram (force)
L liter
M Molar
m meter
ml milliliter
mm millimeter
MPa Megapascal
N Normal
ppm parts per million
w/cm water-cementitious material ratio

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