Concrete Pavement Mixture Design and Analysis (MDA): Application of a Portable X-Ray Fluorescence Technique to Assess Concrete Mix Proportions

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2012-03-01
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Taylor, Peter
Yurdakul, Ezgi
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Ceylan, Halil
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Institute for Transportation
InTrans administers 14 centers and programs, and several other distinct research specialties, and a variety of technology transfer and professional education initiatives. More than 100 Iowa State University faculty and staff work at InTrans, and from 200 to 250 student assistants from several ISU departments conduct research while working closely with university faculty. InTrans began in 1983 as a technical assistance program for Iowa’s rural transportation agencies.
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Any transportation infrastructure system is inherently concerned with durability and performance issues. The proportioning and uniformity control of concrete mixtures are critical factors that directly affect the longevity and performance of the portland cement concrete pavement systems. At present, the only means available to monitor mix proportions of any given batch are to track batch tickets created at the batch plant. However, this does not take into account potential errors in loading materials into storage silos, calibration errors, and addition of water after dispatch. Therefore, there is a need for a rapid, cost-effective, and reliable field test that estimates the proportions of as-delivered concrete mixtures. In addition, performance based specifications will be more easily implemented if there is a way to readily demonstrate whether any given batch is similar to the proportions already accepted based on laboratory performance testing. The goal of the present research project is to investigate the potential use of a portable x-ray fluorescence (XRF) technique to assess the proportions of concrete mixtures as they are delivered. Tests were conducted on the raw materials, paste and mortar samples using a portable XRF device. There is a reasonable correlation between the actual and calculated mix proportions of the paste samples, but data on mortar samples was less reliable.

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