Yusheng Zeng, Ser Tong Quek, Aiping Tang, and Xianyu Zhou



Freezing-and-thawing (F-T) resistance is a key parameter in evaluating the durability of concrete. The response of concrete under F-T environment varies depending on the mixture proportion and materials used.

This paper focuses on the F-T behavior and damage resistance of normal-strength (NC), high-strength (HSC), high-performance (HPC), and ultra-high-performance (UHPC) concrete. The mechanisms causing F-T damage are discussed, specifically based on expansion of freezable water under negative temperature and thermal stress arising from differences in the coefficient of thermal expansion of cement and aggregates.

To quantify damage, two parameters—namely, mass loss ratio (MLR) and relative dynamic elastic modulus (RDEM)—are compiled for different classes of concrete. Results show that UHPC exhibited much lower increase in MLR and reduction in RDEM than NC and HPC, respectively.

The effects of F-T loading on other mechanical properties of concrete such as compressive strength, flexural strength, tensile strength and stress-strain relationship are also investigated in this paper as possible parameters to help characterize F-T resistance.

It is found that F-T will decrease the peak stress but increase the peak strain, and the flexural strength has the fastest loss rate for NC, HPC, HSC and UHPC, respectively. As concrete under F-T environment is often exposed to chloride, the significance of sodium chloride (NaCl) concentration and chloride diffusion coefficient (CDC) on HSC and UHPC under NaCl solution are studied.

UHPC exhibits better resistance on chloride diffusion after F-T action due to denser internal pore structure. To improve the F-T resistance of concrete, the performance of two supplementary cementitious admixtures, fly ash and silica fume, to partially replace cement are studied.

Results show that the appropriate fly ash replacement of 10 to 30% or silica fume replacement of 5 to 10% is found to enhance the F-T resistance. In addition, introducing fibers such as PVA or PP can improve the F-T resistance significantly, although using the wrong proportion may have a negative effect.

Using combined admixture of polyvinyl alcohol and polyethylene fiber with 1.5% volume in cement-based composites reduces strength degradation caused by F-T loadings.


chloride diffusion coefficient; constitutive relationship; fly ash; freezing-and-thawing resistance; mechanical properties; silica fume