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Title: Ultra-High-Performance Concrete And Advanced Manufacturing Methods For Modular Construction

Small modular reactors (SMR) allow for less onsite construction, increase nuclear material security, and provide a flexible and cost-effective energy alternative. SMR can be factory-built as modular components, and shipped to desired locations for fast assembly. This project successfully developed a new class of ultra-high performance concrete (UHPC), which features a compressive strength greater than 22 ksi (150 MPa) without special treatment and self-consolidating characteristics desired for SMR modular construction. With an ultra-high strength and dense microstructure, it will facilitate rapid construction of steel plate-concrete (SC) beams and walls with thinner and lighter modules, and can withstand harsh environments and mechanical loads anticipated during the service life of nuclear power plants. In addition, the self-consolidating characteristics are crucial for the fast construction and assembly of SC modules with reduced labor costs and improved quality. Following the UHPC material development, the capacity of producing self-consolidating UHPC in mass quantities was investigated and compared to accepted self-consolidating concrete standards. With slightly adjusted mixing procedure using large-scale gravity-based mixers (compared with small-scale force-based mixer), the self-consolidating UHPC has been successfully processed at six cubic yards; the product met both minimum compressive strength requirements and self-consolidating concrete standards. Steel plate-UHPC beams (15 ft. long,more » 12 in. wide and 16 in. deep) and wall panels (40 in. X 40 in. X 3 in.) were then constructed using the self-consolidating UHPC without any external vibration. Quality control guidelines for producing UHPC in large scale were developed. When the concrete is replaced by UHPC in a steel plate concrete (SC) beam, it is critical to evaluate its structural behavior with both flexure and shear-governed failure modes. In recent years, SC has been widely used for buildings and nuclear containment structures to resist lateral forces induced by severe earthquakes and heavy winds. SC modules have good potential for SMR because of their cost-effectiveness and reduced construction time. However, the minimum shear reinforcement (i.e. cross tie) ratio needs to be determined for the steel plate-UHPC (S-UHPC) beams to exhibit a ductile failure mode. In this project, S-UHPC beams were designed and constructed. The beams were tested to evaluate structural capacity and identify the minimum cross ties ratios. In addition, as the bond between UHPC and steel plate is essential for ensuring structural integrity under shear and flexure, it was measured and examined in this project through digital image correlation system and smart piezoelectric aggregate sensors. Large-scale testing and finite element simulation were also performed on S-UHPC wall panels. New bond slip-based constitutive models of steel plate were developed for S-UHPC, which were used in finite element analysis program to predict S-UHPC behavior under shear. The results were well validated through experimental data. The long-term durability of UHPC were established in this project. UHPC specimens were tested under free shrinkage, restrained shrinkage, elevated temperature, water permeation, chloride diffusion, corrosion, and alkali silica reaction. UHPC has demonstrated significantly improved durability compared with control concrete specimens. This research led to a new generation of steel plate-UHPC modules for SMR that can provide large benefits to the electric power industry. Taking advantage of the high strength and durability of UHPC, their modularity and ease of assembly can address the high cost barriers of typical nuclear power plants.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Univ. of Houston, Houston, TX (United States)
  2. Oak Ridge National Lab. (ORNL), Oak Ridge, TN (United States)
  3. Electric Power Research Inst. (EPRI), Knoxville, TN (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
FY-ID-13-5282 CA-13-TX-UH-0606-0122
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Research Org:
Univ. of Houston, Houston, TX (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Nuclear Energy (NE)
Country of Publication:
United States
42 ENGINEERING; Ultra-high performance concrete, steel plate concrete module, shear