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Predicting the mechanical properties of lightweight aggregate concrete using finite element method


Medium: journal article
Language(s): English
Published in: Revista IBRACON de Estruturas e Materiais, , n. 4, v. 13
DOI: 10.1590/s1983-41952020000400010

The compressive strength (fc) and Young’s modulus (Ec) of concretes are properties of great importance in civil engineering problems. To this day, despite the relevance of the subject, concretes are still designed based on charts and empirical formulae. This scenario is even more imprecise for lightweight aggregate concretes (LWAC), which contain less design methodologies and case studies available in the literature. In this sense, the present work presents a numerical simulation for predicting the properties of LWAC’s specimens using the Finite Element Method. The material was considered as biphasic, comprising lightweight aggregates and the enveloping mortar. Each phase was modelled with its own compressive strength, tensile strength and Young’s modulus. The achieved numerical results for fc and Ec were compared with their experimental counterparts, obtained from the literature. In total, 48 concrete formulations were assessed. Numerical results showed fair agreement with the experimental data. In general, the Mean Absolute Percentage Error (MAPE) was lower for the shale aggregates for both Young's modulus (1.75% versus 4.21% of expanded clay) and compressive strength (4.19% versus 9.89% of expanded clay). No clear trend of error was identified in relation to the aggregate proportion or to the mortar types, in which the MAPE varied from 2.36% to 8.13%. In conclusion, the simplification to spherical aggregates has shown satisfactory results, as has the adoption of a 2D model, which require less computational resources. Results encourage further applications with more complex geometrical aspects to improve the mix design and safety of LWAC.


This creative work has been published under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC-BY 4.0) license which allows copying, and redistribution as well as adaptation of the original work provided appropriate credit is given to the original author and the conditions of the license are met.

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