Early, and late age thermal cracking in reinforced concrete elements and freeze-thaw related deterioration in concretes exposed to temperatures cycling around the freezing point of water are sources of concern to owners and managers of infrastructure assets around the world. This is a considerable issue with numerous transportation structures (e.g., bridges, pavements etc.) often requiring premature repair/replacement or incurring exceedingly high maintenance costs during their service-life. Enhancing Concrete Life in Infrastructure using Phase Change Systems (ECLIPS) advocates an approach wherein the incorporation of phase change materials (PCMs) with a suitable phase transition temperature, enthalpy of phase change, and degree of dispersion in the concrete can alleviate each of these concerns. PCMs are combined sensible-and-latent thermal storage materials that can be used to store and dissipate energy in the form of heat.
The ECLIPS effort intends to develop novel PCM types for applications in concrete, select PCM types and dosages for different applications based on the climatic conditions, understand the early and late age performance of infrastructural concretes containing PCMs including the mechanical and durability behaviour, and develops a life cycle framework for concretes containing such durability-enhancing components.
- Select appropriate PCMs of suitable phase transition temperature, enthalpy, and formulate robust methods of delivery
- Measure the thermos-physical properties, of bulk and encapsulated PCMs
- For later use in numerical models
- Quantify the benefits afforded by PCM embedment in the context of early/later-age cracking sensitivity and freeze-thaw damage mitigation
- Develop design guidelines for crack control by integrating experimental and numerical methods
- Life cycle assessment (LCA) and toolkits to help asset owners and managers to evaluate cost-benefit metrics associated with PCM embedment
- Construct instrumented prototype concrete sections in different (U.S. and European) climate zones, to verify the benefits of PCM incorporation
- in concrete as a service-life extension strategy.
- Better understanding of the means by which PCMs can control thermal cracking and freeze-thaw related damage in concrete
- Quantification of the effects of PCMsin concrete so as to enable rational material design for desired performance by the road agencies
- Simulation and models to help better design
- LCA model to quantify the environmental and economic benefits of this novel technology that improves life of concrete in road infrastructure
- Prototype concretes in different environments to evaluate the real-life performance