Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

First Advisor

Victor E. Saouma

Second Advisor

Mija H. Hubler

Third Advisor

Yunping Xi


As part of an ongoing research effort to evaluate the risk represented by potential shear strength degradation of reinforced concrete containment vessels in US nuclear power plants due to the alkali silica reaction (ASR), a number of reactive concrete test specimens are produced. The ASR expansion potential of reactive aggregates sourced from two concrete suppliers drawing materials from quarries along the Gunnison River in Colorado is evaluated. A testing program for evaluating the ASR activity of concrete produced from said aggregates is introduced. Five reactive concrete mix designs are generated and subjected to this testing program with the objective of producing a highly expansive concrete with mechanical properties suitable to experimental use. These candidate concrete mixes are produced with two cements of varying alkalinity and some have their alkalinity further boosted through the addition of sodium hydroxide. A control concrete design is also developed which relies on lithium nitrate to prevent ASR expansion. Concrete prisms are cured either immersed in 1M NaOH(aq) at 80°C or uncovered in a fog room at 21°C and relative humidity greater than 90%. A testing apparatus capable of destructively fracturing test specimens in shear (simulating static earthquake load) while simultaneously applying a perpendicular force (representing the weight of the structure above) is prepared. Finally, a program for curing test specimens is presented which is intended to accelerate ASR expansion my minimizing alkali leaching.