Simulation of fresh concrete flow has spurged with the advent of Self-Compacting Concrete, SCC. The fresh concrete rheology must be compatible with the reinforced formwork geometry to ensure complete and reliable form filling with smooth concrete surfaces. Predicting flow behavior in the formwork and linking the required rheological parameters to flow tests performed on the site will ensure an optimization of the casting process.
In this thesis, numerical simulation of concrete flow and particle behaviour is investigated, using both discrete as well as a continuous approach. Good correspondence was achieved with a Bingham material model used to simulate concrete laboratory tests (e.g. slump flow).
It is known that aggregate properties such as size, shape and surface roughness as well as its grading curve affect fresh concrete properties. An increased share of non-spherical particles in concrete increases the level of yield stress, τ0, and plastic viscosity, µpl. The yield stress level may be decreased by adding superplasticizers, however, the plastic viscosity may not. An explanation for the behaviour of particles is sought after experimentally, analytically and numerically. Bingham parameter plastic viscosity is experimentally linked to particle shape. It was found that large particles orient themselves aligning their major axis with the fluid flow, whereas small particles in the colloidal range may rotate between larger particles. The rotation of crushed, non-spherical fine particles as well as particles of a few microns that agglomorate leads to an increased viscosity of the fluid.
Generally, numerical simulation of large scale quantitative analyses are performed rather smoothly with the continuous approach. Smaller scale details and phenomena are better captured qualitatively with the discrete particle approach. As computer speed and capacity constantly evolves, simulation detail and sample volume will be allowed to increase.
A future merging of the homogeneous fluid model with the particle approach to form particles in the fluid will feature the flow of concrete as the physical suspension that it represents. One single ellipsoidal particle in fluid was studied as a first step.
Stockholm: KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Architecture and the Built Environment, 2015, xiii, 53 p. Doctoral thesis