Coupled Effect of Fiber and Granular Skeleton Characteristics on Packing Density of Fiber-Aggregate Mixtures


The addition of fiber to cementitious materials enhances mechanical performance but can reduce workability of the fiber-reinforced concrete (FRC) mixtures. This can be due to the negative effect of fibers on packing density (PD) of the fiber-coarse aggregate (F-A) combination. The performance of FRC, as a diphasic suspension, is dependent on the characteristics of both F-A (suspended-solid skeleton) and mortar (suspending liquid) phases. PD can reflect the voids within the F-A skeleton to be filled with mortar. An adequate optimization of the characteristics of the F-A skeleton can modify the performance of FRC in fresh and hardened states. The F-A skeleton can be characterized in terms of particle-size distribution, volumetric content, and morphology of the coarse aggregate, as well as size, rigidity, and content of fibers. In this study, a comprehensive investigation was undertaken to identify the coupled effect of the characteristics of fibers and coarse aggregate on the PD of F-A combination used without any cement paste/mortar. The solid components play a key role in the overall performance of the concrete produced. This study was carried out to optimize the F-A combination and enhance the workability design of FRC. Various types of steel, polypropylene, and polyolefin fibers having different sizes and rigidities were investigated. Moreover, four combinations of three different classes of coarse aggregate were used to proportion F-A mixtures. Test results showed that shorter length, smaller diameter, and more flexible fibers can lead to higher PD of F-A systems. Moreover, the coarser aggregate skeleton with larger interparticle voids led to more available length for fibers to be deformed, hence improving the PD of F-A mixtures. New empirical models were proposed to predict the packing density of F-A combinations given the characteristics of coarse aggregate and fibers, as well as the level of compaction. The established models were employed to propose a new proportioning approach for fiber-reinforced self-consolidating concrete mixtures to achieve the targeted workability.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering


The authors wish to thank the financial support of the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the eight industrial partners participating in the NSERC Chair on Development of Flowable Concrete with Adapted Rheology and Their Application in Concrete Infrastructures, held by Professor Ammar Yahia of the Université de Sherbrooke.

Keywords and Phrases

Fiber-Coarse Aggregate Mixture; Fiber-Reinforced Concrete; Granular Skeleton; Packing Density; Particle-Size Distribution; Rigidity

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Article - Journal

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Publication Date

01 Aug 2022