Achieving Ultra-High Performance Concrete by Using Packing Models in Combination with Nanoadditives
This paper describes the packing models that are fundamental for the design of ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC) and their evolution. They are divided into two large groups: continuous and discrete models. The latter are those that provide the best method for achieving an adequate simulation of the packing of the particles up to nanometric size. This includes the interaction among the particles by means of loosening and wall coefficients, allowing a simulation of the virtual and real
... tual and real compactness of such particles. In addition, a relationship between virtual and real compactness is obtained through the compaction index, which may simulate the energy of compaction so that the particles are placed in the mold. The use of last-generation additives allows such models to be implemented with water–cement (w/c) ratios close to 0.18. However, the premise of maximum packing as a basic pillar for the production of UHPC should not be the only one. The cement hydration process affected by nanoadditives and the ensuing effectiveness of the properties in both fresh and hardened states according to the respective percentages in the mixture should also be studied. The characterization tests of the aggregates and additions (dry and wet compactness, granulometry, density and absorption) have been carried out in order to implement them numerically in the polydisperse packing model to obtain the compactness of the mixture. Establishing fixed percentages of nanoadditives in the calculation of the mixture's compactness. The adequate ratio and proportion of these additions can lead to better results even at lower levels of compactness. The compressive strength values obtained at seven days are directly proportional to the calculated compactness. However, at the age of 28 days, better results were obtained in mixes with lower cement contents, fewer additions and lower compactness. Thus, mixes with lower cement contents and additions (silica fume and limestone filler) with a compactness of φ = 0.775 reached 80.1 MPa of strength at 7 days, which is lower than mixes with higher cement contents and number of additions (SF, limestone filler and nanosilica), which achieved a compactness of φ = 0.789 and 93.7 MPa for compressive strength. However, at 28 days the result was reversed with compressive strengths of 124.6 and 121.7 MPa, respectively.