Advances in Materials Science and Engineering

Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 4546732, 12 pages

https://doi.org/10.1155/2017/4546732

## Using the Maturity Method in Predicting the Compressive Strength of Vinyl Ester Polymer Concrete at an Early Age

^{1}Dongil Engineering Consultants Co., Ltd., Seoul 05800, Republic of Korea^{2}Department of Regional Infrastructure Engineering, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 24341, Republic of Korea^{3}Building Projects Operation Division, GS Engineering & Construction, Seoul 03159, Republic of Korea^{4}Department of Engineering & Technology, Texas A&M University-Commerce, Commerce, TX 75429-3011, USA

Correspondence should be addressed to Jaeheum Yeon

Received 26 April 2017; Revised 21 June 2017; Accepted 3 July 2017; Published 1 August 2017

Academic Editor: Francesco Ruffino

Copyright © 2017 Nan Ji Jin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

#### Abstract

The compressive strength of vinyl ester polymer concrete is predicted using the maturity method. The compressive strength rapidly increased until the curing age of 24 hrs and thereafter slowly increased until the curing age of 72 hrs. As the MMA content increased, the compressive strength decreased. Furthermore, as the curing temperature decreased, compressive strength decreased. For vinyl ester polymer concrete, datum temperature, ranging from −22.5 to −24.6°C, decreased as the MMA content increased. The maturity index equation for cement concrete cannot be applied to polymer concrete and the maturity of vinyl ester polymer concrete can only be estimated through control of the time interval . Thus, this study introduced a suitable scaled-down factor () for the determination of polymer concrete’s maturity, and a factor of 0.3 was the most suitable. Also, the DR-HILL compressive strength prediction model was determined as applicable to vinyl ester polymer concrete among the dose-response models. For the parameters of the prediction model, applying the parameters by combining all data obtained from the three different amounts of MMA content was deemed acceptable. The study results could be useful for the quality control of vinyl ester polymer concrete and nondestructive prediction of early age strength.

#### 1. Introduction

Polymer concrete, wherein cement hydrate binder of cement concrete is completely replaced with a polymeric binder, is entirely different from cement concrete in terms of developed characteristics. Polymer concrete, with characteristics of rapid hardening, high strength, excellent adhesion, better water-tightness, freeze-thaw durability, and chemical resistance compared to cement concrete, is widely used in the construction industry [1]. Polymer concrete is employed chiefly as a patching material for repair work and overlays for bridge decks in cast-in-place applications, as well as in precast applications such as machine tool structures, building panels, utility boxes, and underground junction boxes [2].

As binders for polymer concrete, thermosetting resins such as unsaturated polyester, epoxy, acrylic, and vinyl ester are being used, and they show different physical and mechanical properties depending on the binder types [3–5]. This study used a vinyl ester resin, modified by adding an MMA monomer for the purpose of lowering viscosity and thus enhancing workability, as a binder. Vinyl ester resin has excellent chemical and corrosion resistance coupled with outstanding heat performance, thus making it a good choice for practical applications, such as swimming pools, sewer pipes, and solvent storage tanks [6, 7].

In terms of the quality control of polymer concrete, the most important aspect is to predict strength by a nondestructive test method so that the opening time for cast-in-place applications and the appropriate removal time for a mold in precast applications can, respectively, be decided. However, while strength development for cement concrete is caused by the hydration reaction of cement (binder), in polymer concrete it is caused by the polymerization of a polymer resin (binder). Polymer concrete’s strength development consequently has the characteristic of being affected by temperature only and not humidity, whereas the strength development of cement concrete is affected by temperature and humidity.

The maturity method is based on the basic theory that since there is a certain relationship between the maturity index and concrete strength, identical maturity will lead to identical strength, even if curing temperature and curing time differ. In the literature on cement concrete’s maturity, there are many studies on the prediction of early age strength [8–11], and there are also numerous studies on the prediction of late age strength using a modified maturity model [12, 13]. Research on the prediction of concrete’s setting time through maturity methods has also been conducted [14, 15]. There are also studies applying maturity methods to the estimated compressive strength of mass concrete [16] and to the fracture parameters of site-casting dam concrete [17]. In addition, there is a study regarding evaluation of the maturity method to estimate concrete strength based on ASTM 1074 [18]. Despite the significant body of research on testing the maturity of cement concrete, it is difficult to find studies intended to be applied to polymer concrete except for a work by Ohama et al. [19].

As mentioned above, applying a maturity method to polymer concrete’s early age strength prediction is sufficiently reasonable. But since polymer concrete has a fast reaction process, hardening time, and strength development speed, the maturity equation currently being applied to cement concrete has to be modified in order to be applicable. Therefore, the goal of this study is to derive a model suitable for the prediction of compressive strength at an early age, within 72 hours for vinyl ester resin polymer concrete with various MMA content, and identify suitable applications.

#### 2. Background

The study of concrete’s maturity involves estimating a maturity index and a maturity index-based prediction of strength. Below is a review of the literature published thus far.

##### 2.1. Maturity Estimation Model

In the 1950s the need to estimate the effects of steam curing temperature on strength development led to the development of maturity methods that were aimed at accounting for the combined effects of time and temperature on the strength development of concrete [20].

These ideas led to the well-known Nurse-Saul maturity function [21].where is the maturity index, is the average concrete temperature during the time interval , is the datum temperature, is the elapsed time, and is the time interval.

The equivalent age maturity function, originally introduced by Rastrup [22], and shown in (2), is considered to be almost on par with (1) in terms of convenience.where is the equivalent age at the reference temperature and is the reference temperature.

Equation (3) is an equivalent age maturity function empirically developed by Hansen and Pedersen [23]. This function is based on the Arrhenius equation, used to describe temperature’s effect on the rate of a chemical reaction.where is the equivalent age at the reference temperature, is the apparent activation energy, is the universal gas content, is the average concrete temperature during the interval , and is the absolute reference temperature.

Carino et al. [21] proposed (4) which can calculate an equivalent age at the reference temperature. This is simpler than (3) but the calculated ages show similar values.where is the temperature sensitivity factor, is the average concrete temperature during the time interval , and is the reference temperature.

These models were proposed for applications of cement concrete. As mentioned above, however, since there are differences in the hardening reaction process, hardening time, and strength development between polymer concrete and cement concrete, it is necessary to modify the maturity method used for cement concrete to be applicable to polymer concrete. In general, the polymer concrete has a very high strength at an early age and shows ultimate strength within a 24 h curing period. Accordingly, it is necessary to minimize the effect of (time interval) on the maturity method for polymer concrete [19].

Reflecting the considerations noted above in (1) and modifying the same leads to where is the maturity index, is the average curing temperature, is the datum temperature, is the elapsed time, is the time interval, and is the scaled-down factor and is less than 1.

##### 2.2. Strength Prediction Model

No less important than the maturity index is the strength prediction model, because regardless of how accurately the maturity index is estimated, the foregoing is meaningless if the strength prediction is inaccurate. A best‐fit smooth curve is drawn through the data, or a regression analysis may be used to determine the best‐fit curve for an appropriate strength-maturity relationship [21].

One of the popular strength-maturity relationships is the following logarithmic equation [21]. In 1956, Plowman [24] suggested the following semilogarithmic function as an appropriate strength‐maturity relationship.where is the strength of the maturity index, is the maturity index, and and are regression coefficients.

This equation is popular as it is simple, but it has a deficiency, too. Specifically, this equation plots a straight line and thus it can fairly accurately predict strength for intermediate maturity values but it has an obvious inadequacy for low or high values of the maturity index [8, 21].

In 1978, Lew and Reichard [25] proposed the following nonlinear regression formula by analyzing the relationship between the results of a compressive strength test and maturity.where , , and are numerical constants, is the maturity of concrete, 30 is the maturity below which the strength is effectively 0, and is the compressive strength of concrete.

The logistic curve [26] is used to express population growth as a mathematical model. It is an S-shaped curve with bilateral symmetry around the inflection point. The curve’s inflection point is formed at the point at which equals (), and the curve has bilateral symmetry.where is the compressive strength, is the maturity index, and , , and are parameters.

The previously described equations are based on the assumption that the limiting strength is not affected by maturity or equivalent age. But many researchers have pointed out that the equations are limited in their applications. Most importantly, they do not reflect the effect of maturity on the limiting strength. The following equations were formed by modifications to address such limitations.

In 1971, Chin [27] suggested that the strength-maturity relationship could be represented by a hyperbola with the following equation:where is the strength, is the maturity, is the limiting strength as maturity tends to infinity, and is the initial slope of the strength-maturity curve.

In 1985, Hansen and Pedersen [28] proposed the following exponential equation to represent the strength development of concrete: where is the limiting strength, is the maturity, is a time constant, and is a shape parameter.

Equation (11) (a modification of Gompertz curve equation in order to predict concrete’s compressive strength) is widely used. The curve has the characteristics of rapid rising, slowing down, and then approaching a horizontal state [19]. The curve’s inflection point is formed at the point at which equals (), and the curve does not have bilateral symmetry.where is the compressive strength, is the limiting compressive strength, and and are parameters.

As shown above, many models have been proposed for strength prediction. The models were proposed before computer programming technology became commonly used. Currently, many computer programs related to prediction models are commercially available and optimum models can easily be obtained.

#### 3. Materials

##### 3.1. Vinyl Ester Resin

Vinyl ester (VE) resin is the combined product of an epoxy resin and an unsaturated carboxylic acid such as acrylic or methacrylic acid. The vinyl ester resin used in this study is a bisphenol-type epoxy vinyl ester resin and its properties are listed in Table 1.