Autogenous shrinkage is an important pehenomenon in concrete with a water/cement ratio less than about 0.42. In this context, cement means total cementitious material, i.e. including any ground granulated blastfurnace slag (ggbs), fly ash or silica fume. Unless the concrete is cured early and thoroughly with water, significant autogenous shrinkage (sometimes called chemical shrinkage or self-desiccation) can occur during the first few days after casting. This can lead to cracking which may negate the intended benefits of using high performance concrete. This document discusses the phenomenon and how to minimise the occurrence.
Published: December 2006. Reviewed October 2016
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