Abrasion resistance of fibre reinforced concrete floors
This thesis focuses on the investigation of the abrasion resistance of fibre reinforced concrete floors at both the macro and micro levels. A literature review of the available literature concerning subjects allied to the current project is included. This highlights themes relevant to wear mechanisms and the factors influencing it: factors that affect the abrasion resistance of concrete and several test methods for assessing it; and the historical development of fibres and the properties of different fibre types and their influence on concrete. Three accelerated abrasion testers were compared and critically discussed for their suitability for assessing the abrasion resistance of concrete floors. Based on the experimental findings one accelerated abrasion apparatus was selected as more appropriate to be used for carrying out the main investigations. The laboratory programme that followed was undertaken to investigate the influence of various material and construction factors on abrasion resistance. These included mix variations (w/c ratio), fibre reinforcement, geometry, type and volume, curing method and superplasticizing agents. The results clearly show that these factors significantly affected abrasion resistance and several mechanisms were presumed to explain and better understand these observations. To verify and understand these mechanisms that are accountable for the breakdown of concrete slabs, the same concrete specimens that were used for the macro-study, were also subjected to microstructutural investigations using techniques such as Microhardness examination, Mercury intrusion porosimetry and Petrographic examination. It has been found that the abrasion resistance of concrete is primarily dependent on the microstructure and porosity of the concrete nearest to the surface. The feasibility of predicting the abrasion resistance of fibre reinforced concrete floors by indirect and non-destructive methods was investigated using five methods that have frequently been used for assessing the quality of concrete. They included the initial surface absorption test, the impact test, ball cratering, the scratch test and the base hardness test. The impact resistance (BRE screed tester) and scratch resistance (Base hardness tester) were found to be the most sensitive to factors affecting abrasion resistance and hence are considered to be the most appropriate testing techniques.